Maybe make a cup of tea first?
I flew from Wellington to Auckland around lunchtime on Friday. It’s only a one hour flight, and it was a stunning sunny day in Auckland when I landed. I took the airport shuttle in and checked into my hotel and then walked into town for a bite to eat and then wandered around the waterfront to collect my race pack, no queues! I picked up a stack of race pamphlets and spoke to a few people, but I really just wanted to get out, it was very surreal but at the same time I remember feeling ‘what I am doing here?’
I headed back to my hotel and laid out all the stuff, and checked everything. I dediced to head to the supermarket and pick up some more carbs and things for Saturday and then I just spent the night in bed watching a movie and ordered some room service.
Saturday I got up early, I had slept okay the night before, but not great. I headed to a great little cafe and had some oats and tea, and then headed back to the hotel, to rest. I had intended to go to a movie but really just wanted to stay off my feet. I had some lunch later on, ate carbs, alot and kept up with my hydration. I headed off later to a last minute trip to the chest for some imodium and nurofen (just in case) and some extra blister tape and then I went and got some pasta for dinner, and a glass of wine.
I tried to get to sleep early but I reckon in total I had about three hours sleep. I got up around 3am and I had everything laid out, so I just had to boil the kettle for my oats, and have a shower, get dressed etc. I was overly organised, even for me. It paid off. I had issues with my new bra unhooking at the strap, so ended up taping it and wearing my other one over the top - that worked very well! I headed out the door at 4am and walked to the ferry terminal - as it was halloween there were alot of people out in full costume which was brilliant, I think both groups thought the others were crazy.
The ferry left at 4.30 and arrived at Devonport very soon after, ha. So I sat in the ferry terminal and waited, ate my banana and honey sandwich (the time went very quickly) I went to the bathroom and then it was time to drop my gear bag and do my warm up.
The start was great, I did have a funny little cramp in my calf, which I think may have just been because it was cool. It vanished after 5km. Thank goodness because I kind of freaked out about it to begin with. I reminded myself that I was not to go out too fast and that I was running my own race, and that was that. We headed along the water and then through the streets it was a little bit hilly, but not too bad, there is hill before the bridge but it was steady, and nothing like Wellington!
Running over the bridge was better than I expected, the half marathoners had caught up with me, and I kept having to slow down, and it was too easy to pace them. It didn’t help when people yelled out ‘not far to go’ when I had another 20 odd km, but hey, it happens. I think at this point I started thinking ‘oh why didn’t i just do the half!’. But that feeling didn’t last long.
I split off from the half marathoners when they went to finish and headed out of the city and along the bays, my hydration was going well and my half marathon split was around 3:11. As I headed along the bays people were returning back into finish, very fast people, and very cramped people. It was hot and there was little shade, my back started to stiffen, and I slowed down, alot. I was wary that if I sped up it would get worse, so I kept going, just slowly and kept up the hydration. The turn around point for the 32km mark, did seem to take FOREVER. I was so happy to hit it, and turn around and only have a 10km run back into the city. I looked at my watch and the timing was looking tight, really tight. I sped up, alot. So much so in the last 5km I passed three guys! I had enough energy to run faster, it was just with the heat and my back (more so the heat) I did not WANT to cramp! And I didn’t. As soon as I saw the city scape, I knew I would finish under cut off, and kept up my pace.
The last few kms were awesome, random people cheering me (that happened the whole way, cars beeping, it was BRILLIANT!). It was very surreal, I knew I was about to accomplish something freakin amazing, and at the same time I could not believe! I crossed over the finish line and turned around and congratulated another girl that was about ten seconds behind me. We both went and picked up our banana and drink, and took off our timing chips. Then two of the most amazing volunteers ever, came around the corner jumping up and down to put our medals on us, this is when the other girl broke down, and I’ll admit I cried, just a little. It felt SO good.
Because I had finished so close to the cut off, the massage folk were already packing up :-( So I wandered about, and went and picked up my gear bag and then headed back along the waterfront. I heard my name called out and one of the girls that I had met through twitter was having a post race wine asked me to join her and her friend (they were SO nice!). So I had a wine, got a high five from the waiter, and then headed back via a tiny Japanese noodle house, and devoured an entire noodle bowl, and then headed back to hotel for a shower and sprawled out on the bed amazed at what I had just done.
I joined the girls for dinner on the viaduct later, I had steak and chips. We then walked to watch some fireworks for a festival, and headed for gelato. It was an epic day and brilliant evening!
I think it has only just hit as to what I've accomplished. Given the last few weeks, it a freakin miracle! And i'm SO proud!
Time: 6:55.15 (I'm going to CRUSH this time next time).
1st 21.1km split 3:07.45
2nd 21.1km split 3:47.29