That is me finishing! As you can tell, I was saying the ‘F’ Word, HA!
Sunday was amazing!
There was not one single moment of the event that I did not enjoy. I embraced and lived every minute of it.
You could safely say that I am addicted to long distance running!
No nerves, just excitement all the way leading up. The only thoughts I had running through my mind were ones of anticipation – of seeing how I would do on the day.
So let’s rewind back to the start so I can tell ya all about it!
We check in to our hotel room, 500 metres from the start line, at 2pm Saturday afternoon. There was still plenty of day left so I got my race day gear ready before any more excitement was to be had.
This would serve as a semi holiday for me as Hubby and I were childfree for the weekend. This really helped me get into ‘Race day’ zone. It also helped to relax me for what I was about to do. I know if I had to travel a 6 hour car trip with my children then organise them for the day during my run, I would constantly be worrying about my next step as a mum, and not so much the next step as a runner.
Race kit was good to go. It was time for a few beverages a little bit of wandering around the Wellington CBD and then a spot of dinner before a bit of a chin wag with the Family.
I posted pre-race dinner pics on the last post. I don’t know how dad does it. Beersies before race day, not a good look on me, unless I want to deal with the dry’s for 21.1!
Bed time came around 10ish. I made a point not to go to be too early, I knew I would just roll around in bed forever and not get any sleep at all.
Typically, I woke up before the alarm went off so I jumped on FB for a bit before getting out of bed.
A shower before bed the night before meant that all I had to do was change and organise my nutrition for the day.
For my nutrition – 1pkt Sports beans (only ate about a quarter of the bag), Honey Stingers x2 and 1ltr of Strawberry Lemonade Nunn
My decision for the nutrition I chose was based on the last 3 long runs on the 3 previous Sundays. For the first one I ran sports beans only. The second (being my longest) just a waffle. The last, Beans and waffle, the combo worked well and I had little to no fatigue.
I wore my UltraAspire Hydration pack as I have never been too keen on Powerade. The Nuun seemed to work well on all my training runs, plus later in the race I would be glad that I took an extra litre of fluid with me.
I would like to run with less, but I am currently not fit enough or fast enough to cut it down. I played it safe and took more than what I probably needed.
It was 7.30am when we left the hotel. The few hundred metres to the start chute was filling in with drips and drabs of participants for the Half and the 10km events.
It was about 7.50am when we started piling into the chute and a long drawn out 15 minutes to the Start Gun as the Start Time was pushed out another 5 mins to clear the last little bit of traffic.
At this time I didn’t have much going through my head. I was mostly thinking about how quickly/slowly the crowd would move over the Start Line, and how many seconds/minutes it would actually take for me to get there. Still no nerves at this stage, I just wanted to get started with the plan.
It was start time, it took me around a whole minute to get to the Start Mat. As I walked over it the air just filled with that familiar sound. Garmin’s and other GPS devices alerting their timers to be started. Hearing that flood of ‘beeps’ made me laugh a little inside, at the same time I felt like I was right where I needed to be. I was at home in the race, and it had only just begun!
The first 500 metres was where most effort had to be paid to finding a clear line and being able to run it. I hadn’t really warmed up, so this first k would serve as my warm-up. It was about 30 secs faster than my usual pace and about a whole minute faster than my warm-up pace. Getting out of the way/finding a clear line was proving harder than I thought to not make that rookie mistake.
For the next 8k my rookie mistake would remind me in every step that I should have warmed-up properly! “Shin splints”!
But I knew they wouldn’t last, I just had to get warm and tidy up my form. Too bad it took me 8k to do so ha!
The first 6k – Oriental Parade and Evans Bay were really lovely, this is where there were still some residential houses and apartment buildings nestled in close to the bays bordering banks. Then came a few commercial business block’s before the finish line for the 6.5’ers.
Our direction pulled us left toward Shelley Bay. Before reaching Shelley Bay we would pass the Wellington Airport, of which bought back childhood memories of seeing huge planes flying so close overhead.
I was so happy with the Weather Gods at this stage. We had had a strong wind pushing from behind on the way down the initial 6.5k, then there was not much until we got closer to Shelley Bay. Sun was out, but it was cool. The Bays hills provided some grateful shade and we didn’t need to worry about any harsh sun until we came back from turn around point.
We past halfway point, unfortunately no 10k PR’s for me to be had on this day.
My official Halfway time – 1:12:55.
In my head I made sure to remind myself that anything past this mark was deemed to be the “ass-end” of it all.
I felt good, I was in my zone, and transcendence in a place like that was so damn easy I forgot most of the time that I was actually ‘racing’.
Actually, I would have my mind out of my body for most of the Run. So far everything was going according to plan. In fact I had run a little faster than I wanted, so I knew that there was no chance of negative splits today. The second half of the race would almost certainly be longer than the first.
At roughly the 14k point was the turn around. A Marshall about 2 bays back said the turnaround was just around ‘that’ corner…
…3 corners later!!
We headed back and crossed the Half Way Mat again. We were definitely on the ‘ass-end’.
At the 17k point I was starting to feel a little tired. It was the first sign of fatigue, and I knew that it wouldn’t be long before the fuel that I had been eating up until now was not going to make much difference to the pain that I was inevitably going to feel.
I actually felt like I ate the whole entire time. Every 20 mins I ate a third of a Waffle, they gave us jet planes at about 3.5k mark, I ate 2 of those, and then by the 18k mark I started digging into the Sport Beans. I was just looking for any kind of sugar high at that point, anything to stop my mind thinking about the increasing aches in my hip flexor area, and in my knees.
At around 19k I would start to feel it in my quads. From here I could see the end. It was a bit of a tease and I couldn’t decide at the time whether it was a good thing or a bad thing that we could see it so clearly from 3k away!
Dad had been so cheerful and enthusiastic the whole way. He was still cheerful at this point, it was kinda getting to me haha! In fact Dad had been running the whole time every now and then pitching in his idea of what he was having for dinner that night…
…I was just worried about getting out of the Race alive!
21.1k clicked over on my Garmin and I still couldn’t see the Finish Line signs. I had a wee bit of a ‘wtf’ moment wondering what was going on, or whether the GPS I had was not correct, or even that I had run the whole entire outside of the course.
It confused the shit out of me, and as your mind and body relax because of the 21.1 click over, everything after that starts to piss you off.
We turned into the last little stretch before the Finish Chute. To top off the frustration about the extra 600 metres in the run, I had paced myself exactly where the bulk of the 6.5k walkers would reach the finish as well. I felt like I ran extra just to take the far side of each corner and straight to dodge all the walkers sprawled out with strollers and children.
I knew that this was their day too, so I didn’t get mad about it, I just did my best to weave it through, there were little places where I could keep my speed up and I am pretty sure that at one point I came to a complete stop. Not what I had imagined/dreamed up for my first Half Marathon Finish.
I came in with 2:32:58 on My Garmin. The exact same time recorded for me using Time Chip.
I was really happy with what I had done. I had left everything I had out on that 21.7k and I was elated to a point that took a good half hour to come down from.
Unfortunately for Jared it didn’t show physically or audibly. I felt so close to death that I needed to be with myself for about 10 minutes or so as to not bite any ones head off. I was in pain and I felt the blood rapidly pooling to my legs, I just couldn’t talk and I couldn’t stop walking.
I didn’t know what to do with myself, I just wanted to sit down, but my legs were pooling in such a way that it hurt to be stationary.
Finally I gave up on the fight with myself and crashed out on the ground. Jared handed me my chocolate milk, still semi-frozen and I lay there chugging for dear life.
It was over, I was done, and there was no more distance to run.
No spot prizes or placing prizes for me, but to run my first Half Marathon in a place like this was more than I could hope for. My dad, had kept my pace the whole entire way. He had enjoyed the slower pace, as it meant that he could appreciate the surroundings more than if he were to Race.
Thanks Dad, for your run-along support. The first of many I am sure!
Huge Thanks to Jared too, for without him my legs may not have recovered as quickly. The tents for massage were full so he rubbed my legs down while I quietly died in a puddle of my own exhaustion.
The rest of the day was spent with Wellington friends and too much Beer, A feast of a dinner and an early night’s sleep!
I look back now and think that there was nothing I could have done differently, nothing I would have done differently and that every single little step was according to a plan I had been dreaming up 4 months ago! Everything was as it should have been and I enjoyed every single second of it, even the ones where I just wanted it to be done.
Love my Barefoot Inc Socks!
There is no limit to what can be achieved. If you want it bad enough, if you make a plan to win, there is no reason why you won’t get there.
Ever hear that guy/girl tell you that you too could run a Half Marathon – believe them, they are right!
Wellington, you were great!
P.S. The actual distance of the Lenco Half Marathon Event was 21.7k. There was an accidental extra 600 metres chucked in there. The provided calculator from AMI to figure out my actual 21.1k time…
Sub 2:30 BABY!!! Woop Woop!