Saturday, October 31, 2009

Waimea Half Maraton

The day dawned with absolutely perfect conditions. Slightly overcast and not a breath of wind....I am sure it was to spite me.

With the decision made to pull from the Half Marathon I was able to focus on how I would race the 10km. I woke to a fully blocked nose and my face felt like I had been hit between the eyes!! I was not even sure if I could complete the 10km but I didn't want to let my team mate down (I did have a back up plan - my coach had put his hand up if I pulled out at the last minute) My husband was also in a team but for running. So we headed off to Rabbit Island to find both our team partners and to put on race numbers. I went over and scratched from the Half - I don't know who was more surprised..the organizers or the competitors?

Last year I teamed up with my training partner Yvonne and we dressed up in bright neon outfits and had a ball. This year she had teamed up with her friend (and top Nelson walker) Wendy. I nearly doubled over laughing when I saw their costumes. They had a multi coloured Mo Hawk wig on and the most ridiculous looking pants I have ever seen... (they had plastic moulded bare bottoms that were part of the pants).....all I could think to say was "check it out...two moons!!!!!" They looked fantastic and did win the best dressed and deserving so too.

I was to walk the first two legs and Pete the second two. I was also double booked for the day as it was my grand daughters 2nd birthday, so I was to leave as soon as I had finished my legs.

The race got underway and it was a good tussle for the first 500m with Wendy rocketing out in front. I had decided to stick to 5:50 pace and so slowly caught her up and passed. I came through the first 5km at 29:47 and was to finish my 10.4km in 1:01:47 much faster than I had anticipated. The last two km were my worst with my ears popping and hurting along with my sinuses too.

I tagged my team mate and then waited for my husband to come in (runners started 20mins after walkers) He finished his 10.4km in 56mins which is awesome for him. My team mate (pete) completed his two legs 10.8km in 1:05:?? giving us a combined time of 2:07:30 winning us the team section - (I am fondly called Trumpeter and he is SOF - sly old fox)

Walking Teams
1 221 02:07:30 Trumpeter and SOF
2 213 02:12:48 Mad Dogs
3 220 02:33:43 The Nanas

Me out on the beach end of the course.

Pete aka SOF winding his way through the picnic area

This is Wendy in costume and Gary about to catch and pass by

Friday, October 30, 2009

A hard decision to make....but....

Tomorrow is the Waimea Half Marathon. Its held at Rabbit Island on a 5km loop course. I have to admit its one of the most boring course's known around here. Every year I have managed to team up with a group or one other and just entered the teams section.

This year I decided that I would bite the bullet and do the Half. I was thinking ... I will be fit and still race ready from the Worlds in Sydney, even though I had only trained up to 10km and have not walked 21.5km in about 6 months. I was feeling strong and confident.

My training partner asked me this week to team up as well. That's the good thing about this race, you can compete in two events - team and half. The person doing the half starts first and tags you at the 10km mark...then you both head out. The person doing the half then pulls off the team number and carries on for the individual portion.

Well since I have been back from Sydney, I have been plagued with a horrid head cold or maybe a sinus infection. Everyone tells me its probably the flying that has set it off as I feel like I need to equalize my ears....they are blocked and keep popping all the time and I have no balance. I have been fatigued and constant blowing of my nose has driven me nuts. I had to rush around town two days ago and nearly fainted from the effort.

So I have made the decision to pull out of the half. I will still do the 10km for the team but I know that I am not well enough to push my body that far.

Then it is rest up and let my body take a break.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

World masters gold, silver for Sunderland

Article in our local paper - Nelson Mail

WALKING BACK TO HAPPINESS: Nyle Sunderland displays the gold and silver medals she won at the 2009 World Masters Games in Sydney.

Just a year after winning three gold medals at the Oceania Masters Games in Townsville, Nelson race walker Nyle Sunderland has returned home from Sydney's World Masters Games with a gold and silver medal.

Now the 42-year-old athlete is looking seriously at heading to Sacramento, California, in 2011 to compete at the World Masters track and field championships as potentially the pinnacle of her competitive career.

In Sydney, she missed out on the 10km road walk gold by around 12sec, despite finishing in a personal best time of 59min 50sec.

She was one of nine competitors in her 40-44 age group competing over a 2km loop course at Paramatta Park, eventually finishing second to Australia's Fiona Porley.

"[The course] had two slight rises coming up to each turn so it wasn't a fast course," said Sunderland. "Those rises didn't feel like much for the first couple of kilometres but, trust me, by the end they felt like mountains."

Sunderland's tactic had been to sit on Porley's heel from the 2km mark before trying to walk her down, which almost worked.

"At the 9km mark, she pulled out from me and I made the choice to follow and I probably should have waited because when I caught her, she gave one last burst and I couldn't keep up. It was a really tight race. She lives in the Blue Mountains and trains on the Paramatta track so she knew it like the back of her hand."

That wasn't the end of the drama, though, as both athletes ultimately succumbed to the heat.

"She collapsed at the finish line and was being attended to, then about three minutes later I did the exact same thing. I think it was just all the heat and exertion and over-excitement ... but both of us were carted off by paramedics and given oxygen. It was only about 25 degrees, which doesn't seem like much. It just felt hotter because of the black tarmac we were walking on.

"The heat coming off that was just phenomenal and you were quite sort of dehydrated anyway, it didn't matter how much water you'd drunk."

Anticipating a rematch with Porley in the 5000m track race at Olympic Park five days later, Sunderland was disappointed to learn that the Aussie had withdrawn as they prepared for the start, supposedly still feeling the effects of her 10km victory.

"I was so psyched to give her a really good battle and she pulled out."

Strategically, Sunderland again planned to "let the rabbits go absolutely ballistic" before reeling them in.

Having also been grouped with the 35-39 competitors, "I'd pretty much caught them all up by the first lap and continued to stay strong in the field and led both age groups the whole way round", she said.
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Her time of 28min 28sec was also a personal best by around a minute. "I had to look twice at the clock myself, I couldn't believe it. It was a phenomenal race."

Sunderland said she was fitter and faster than she'd ever been and attributed much of her success to the support of mentor Stephen Farquhar, training partner Peter Hague and husband, Shane.

"Without their help, I wouldn't have achieved what I did."

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

5000m Track Walk 2009

I spent most of Saturday afternoon at the track soaking in the atmosphere and supporting the guys. Who in turn promised to come and support us ladies.

I woke Sunday feeling really good, tried not to think about the race too much and went out for the morning to see a couple of sights. I must have planned and re-planned my race strategy 100 times. About 1pm I went to the track and lay on the grass listening to my ipod and watching some of the women's races. I was so amped and ready to met Fiona again. A couple of the guys turned up and helped me with my warm up and stretch's. I had brought a tee shirt so I could get signatures on it, so one of the guys grabbed it and shot off to get the women who had finished to sign it.

One of the most awesome things of the day was that my aunty from NZ was in Sydney at the same time and had found her way to the track and was there to watch me race for the first time. I was so excited and very nervous....I really wanted to win now.

They had grouped two age groups together again 35-39 and 40-44. We were all called to the call room and it was here that I found out Fiona had pulled out. She had not recovered from our 10km and was ill. I was really disappointed with this news. But any one of the ladies could still take it out.

We lined up and I got the outside lane. My one and only game plan.....let the rabbits bolt and then I would chase them down. Sure enough, 3 went out (1 in my age group)but surprisingly I caught them up with in the first lap and passed them on the back straight to take the lead of both groups. One of the 35-39 group stayed on my heels, but it didn't bug me and I just kept at a steady pace and slowly pulled away from her. By lap 6 she was 10mt behind me and by lap 10 she was 30mts behind. The water station was set up on lane 5 and the guy would not step in to pass you the drink so it you wanted one you had to cross three lanes to reach it and there was a judge right beside him. Two girls were warned as I passed by. I finally succumbed to the need for water so choose a time when I had to lap a slower walker.

Rounding the end curve and hearing my aunty and her friends calling out really kept me going, but the most amazing thing was by lap 10 it felt and sounded like everyone was calling my name or go NZ was the most amazing feeling.

I had been watching the clock and trying to work out in my head if I was on target or not but ended up giving that up...(maths not being my strongest subject anymore??) and focused on my breathing. The bell sounded (man what a sweet sound) and I started to push and pick up the pace...I counted my steps till I heard the bell ring again for the next walker (105 steps) I just had to complete the last lap - get past all the judges and I had won my gold. I came round the last bend and into the next lane for finishing and noise felt deafening. I picked up the pace and went for it, eyeing the Chief Judge in the last 100mt. Crossing the line in 28.28 (well thats what the clock said, still waiting for results to put on line)

Then it was wait for the race to finish and the judges to confer and then it was announced I had won my GOLD!!!!!

So below is the finalists in the 40-44 Women 5000m track walk 2009

Thanks to all my sponsors. Now to keep them on side and hit them up for Sacramento 2011!!!!!

Saturday, October 17, 2009


Today I must rest!!!!

I have walked the city over and over. Time to sit.

We are heading out to Bondi Beach today and then will go look at Kings Cross. These are the last two touristy things to do. We were going to head out to blue mountains but I didnt want to be cooped up in a car for 2 hours each way.

Its my big race tomorrow. Must admit to being more jittery about this one. Now that I know how fast the other lady is and how she will be tough.

I didnt sleep well last night and woke this morning feeling very unwell. Hoping its nerves and not something I ate.

My Aunty from NZ has arrived in Sydney and is also coming to watch me race. So now I will have heaps of supporters cheering me on.

Will report back tomorrow night on the out come.

Wish me luck............

Thursday, October 15, 2009

10km Road Race - World Masters 2009

I woke at 5.30am and I was amazingly calm.

It was really weird...I had spent three days just freaking out. I had arrived in Sydney to compete at the World Masters Games...More competitors here than there were at the Sydney Olympics. The venue is HUGE!!! and I just felt like a small fry from a little wee hic town. What the hell was I thinking!!!

I had decided to think on the race as ... just a normal 10km race against 9 people....not 180!! and that did seem to work. I rang for a taxi and sat listening to my ipod and chilled out.

The weather was perfect...clear and calm. I unpacked my gear and said quick hellos to the others from NZ and then I headed out to warm up. I spent a good 40mins on the course doing drills and quick sprints etc. I kept my number hidden until the very last minute so that no one could see what age group I was in..but I was quickly checking out all those who had not.

The started us all in our age groups so the first group started at 8am..I started at 8.07am The gun went off and I let the rabbits go out first. I could hear my coach and training partner telling me to walk my own race and let them go. I was most surprised that I caught up the first 3 by the 500m mark and it was then that I realised I only had 1 in front of what I thought. So I kept up at the pace I was happy with and by the 1km mark I had started gaining on her, by the 1.5 km mark I was right on her heels, but she was pushing a good pace so I thought I would stick to her like glue and walk her down. Every now and then she would break from me and at first I went with her but I learnt quickly that I would recatch her within in seconds. We turned at the 5km mark in 28mins 55 (I felt fantastic but I knew it was too fast but I was not letting her go)

I continued on her heels and felt that there were times when she slowed that she was hoping I would pass but I didnt want to be chased and so I used those moments to rest too and of course she would explode away again (so I knew if I had been in front I would not have held out) at the 8km turn I thought....its on now!!! and she picked up the pace again. My now my legs were hurting and my hip was feeling tight...I ignored it and pushed on. She pulled away at the 9km mark and I didnt know if I should chase or wait....I chose to chase (hindsight...I think that was wrong) I caught her up at the 9.5km mark and she burst away on me again but I just had nothing left...I tried to follow but was already going faster than I ever had before. She pulled away from me and I dug in a pushed...we had transponders on our shoes for timeing so we were crossing over a mat to record our laps and then a mat to record the finish...when I crossed the first mat they all called out....thats great you are finished you can stop I did...Literally!!!!! and then all these people were screaming go go go and I realised the FINISH blue mat was another 30 mtrs legs buckled and I managed to get going my time is about 15 seconds off. But it made no diff to the end results. I had finished in the official time of 59:52 and had won the SILVER medal!!!!!

I saw the winner collapse and go down and I was really worried for her...I was ushered into the tent and I was feeling terrible. They laid me down and took my transponder off. I got up and went over to Fiona and we hugged and cried and got our photos in the local paper. Then I went and rang my I was doing this I noticed I was having trouble breathing. I couldnt get air in and was going dizzy and seeing spots. I quickly hung up and then I fainted. I came to with paramadics attending to me, taking my blood pressure which had dropped very low and pricking my finger and also putting me on oxygen. The heat out on the track was dropping us like flys and i was drinking but they said that myself and fiona was just exhaustion from exhurting ourselfs. Fiona came up after we had settled our selfs and said it had been the race of her life and that she was getting so upset out on the track as she couldnt shake me off...she said "every time I tried to distance myself from would just strole back up behind me again and it really threw me!" my game plan had I have to face her again for the 5km on Sunday.....

Oh what a race that will be.

I will post photos once I get back.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Packing....Nerves.....Race jitters

I think I have packed and unpacked my suitcase 10 times!!!!

Have I brought enough warm clothes....hmmmmm......but what if its hot??? So its back to the basic......jeans, tee shirts and runners!!! cant go wrong I guess.

I went out on Weds night and raced in the first 5km Race for the Waimea Club. It was the Hart Road Course.....(rather hilly) I was not planning on pushing too hard. I wanted to test out my hips and check for any niggly pains. Yvonne had come out to jog and was keen to jog along with me and I was thrilled for the company and the push. The first 1.5 km is basically up Queen Street and then the undulating Hill Street. So I had thought to sit around the 6km mark or slower. I could hear another walker behind us at the 2km mark and I commented to Yvonne that I wish he would hurry up and pass as I was just wanting to cruise. By the 4km mark both walkers had gained and one started to pass. All of us commented that his "style" was unusual and I thought....there is no way a jogger is getting me on this one. Yvonne pushed on a head and I gave chase. What a chase it was, with me just pipping him on the finish line. I stopped my watch and expected my time to be 31+ mins....I was really shocked to see I had done it in 29:17

I really needed the confidence boost and to know my body would hold together.

So now the pressure and the nerves start to build. I so want to bring home a medal or two!!! I feel I owe my coach, my husband and my self that satisfaction as we have all put in hard work, hours and kms to get me to this point.

I will try hard to get on line and up date my blog and face-book with results.

Thanks so much for all the support and well wishes I have had .... It has truly helped me keep focus and motivation. Cheers to you all.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

My Granddaughter

I had to share this. My granddaughter is just so special to me. I absolutely adore being a Nana. I know this has nothing to do with race-walking but she was a much needed distraction to me today.

I went and did track this morning and it went really well. But the thought of not seeing her for two whole weeks just bugged me and hubby went and stole her for the afternoon. We both adore having her......its great to just be two big kids for the day.

She will be two at the end of October. She has inherited my families height and is very tall for her age. She used to be a dead ringer for her mother at that age but as she grows she is more and more like her daddy.

So this post is for my family that don't get to see her much.