The race organizers sell it as the best half in New Zealand, with the most beautiful 2km swim, 90km bike and 21km run on offer. I’d say they are undoubtedly the best HIM of the North Island, but the short version of Challenge Wanaka is quite a scenic route all over, but I can’t comment coz I haven’t done it.
Rotorua is a premier within NZ, sitting in the heart of a geothermal system, it has plenty to offer the tourists; from hot water natural springs to outstanding geothermal parks. For the sporty kind, this is an off-road paradise. X-terra NZ is hosted in Rotorua, as well as many MTB and trail races. It is also known as Rotovegas, because of its resemblance to sin city (I think this is quite a nonsense, though)
Anyway, this was my first HIM 2 years ago and my personal worst in the distance. In my defence I have to say that my parents arrived for a visit one day before the race, and there were nerves of all sort going on. And I blew up big time on the bike. But a good day out and I even got a spot prize (a wetsuit for my lovely wife)
The course changed from the last time I swam it. It used to be a 1 lapper and now it’s changed to a 2 lapper on the other side of the lake. The lake itself is a great spot with no current or any other hiccups, will benefit the more streamlined swimmers because of the freshwater. A good thing is that I can drink all the water I need during the swim. It shouldn’t be hard to go under 30, but you never know.
It winds down from the blue lake through the red forest and onto the airport road, then there’s a couple of bumps on the way to lake tarawera and then back home the same way. I am doing an innocent desctiption here, the course profile may help me better.
The first time I went sub-3hr. I hope I can be around 2.45 this time around. And keep some legs for later.
This is the most awesome half marathon I’ve ever done. It is a full off-road run that circles the blue lake twice and goes through a fine gravel path to a forestry operation and further on to the buried village. The upside is the amount of shade you get around the lake area. The downside is the hills, steps and bumps all over the place, but it is good fun. It didn’t look like fun in 2008, though, when I ran a 1.52. I am hoping to stay under 90mins.
This was the last A race of the year but it has been downgraded due to my enforced rest a few weeks back. Training since mid October has been steady, with a few nice surprises in the test sets. The body weight is floating between 72 and 74 and should stay there for the next month. The heart rate readings in the morning have been coming down from the last week. There’s two or three more days to bring it even further down. Sleep has been below average, it is a worry that will sure sort itself out after the holiday.
I need to stop at the bike shop to get gels, CO2’s, killer instinct and a pair of climbing legs. Then it’s gonna be like this: swim hard for the first half lap, then stay in a good group and see what happens. On the bike, get to halfway point in 1.20 and take it easy for 5km, hit is hard after that and kill those hills. You never know how the legs will be for the run, but if they are OK we’ll be running 8km real good and then see what happens.