The Pukeiti Puffer, a 14.5k trail run, in the Pukeiti Gardens opened up my racing season in the New Plymouth area for 2015.
Only a few dozen walkers, joggers and some runners lined up to complete the two-loop course. The organizers kept the course to existing walking trails. For the first few km's there were short but steep climbs and gnarly descents that challenged the participants. After the 3rd stream crossing a rather long and increasingly steep uphill ensured that even the fittest runners are properly tested.
I was well clear and leading the race when I ran up on the long hill, all the way to the lookout and still felt content. During the second lap, however, I started to fade and had to power walk in the uphill a couple of times for 10-20 meters each time. No shame in it though. The uphill was as difficult as mother nature could have made it for us.
Although I reached the finish line a good 10 minutes ahead of the second runner there is another reason this event will stay memorable and more importantly enlightening.
I have been running in Hoka One One shoes for the past 2 years and I have not had more rolled ankles than during this period. It's always my right foot thus there might be a possibility that my right foot pronates in such way that I tend to roll my ankle more frequently. On the other hand the higher and wider platform of the Stinson ATR model, although great shoes with proper traction and cushion, exacerbate the probability of rolling my ankle. Especially over technical, gnarly terrain just like the last few km's of this particular course.
I was almost out of the worse when I had a misstep and rolled my ankle so badly that I thought I broke it. I kept running but the pain quickly set in. It wasn't the first time I rolled but this was the worse pain to date.
I still finished the race but limping. I am writing this review a good 2 weeks later and my ankle is just coming around now. I am afraid I have to use the Hoka shoes for non-technical trails where footing is not that crucial.
Below is the elevation profile of the course with HR overlay.