Sunday, 16 September 2012

Karen writes: Antidote to birthday cake

It was my dad's birthday, well not quite, but the presence of the Whangarei running festival on this weekend made it convenient to move the birthday celebration forwards.   Birthday cake, decorated by loving grandchildren with copious quantities of chocolate fish, pineapple lumps and gummy lollies, is hard to resist at the best of times, but running a half marathon is a good way of ensuring there is no guilt for indulging.

And I did my best time ever, a PB or Personal Best as the jargon goes.  2 hours 8 minutes and 49 seconds put me actually in the top half of the field!  It must have been that cake, or possibly the fact that the field looked like it had been reduced by at least a quarter, probably the rainy weather and predicted winds.

Still running uphill in Onerahi
It was a lovely run actually, worth getting out of bed for.  We went along the waterside heading towards the Whangarei heads, a diversion along bush trails around the Onerahi peninsular and then back by the main road down a big hill and along the flat.  I met a couple of interesting people, in particular running with a very experienced endurance athlete who after we had been running for a few km admitted the pace was just a little too fast (my pace???) and I had to laugh and say I was thinking the same thing but was enjoying talking too much to drop back.  We talked about some of the amazing events he had done, including his coast to coast experiences, ultra marathons and local races, and we stopped to help a runner who had taken a spill on an uneven bush trail, taking an arm each and scooting her along to the next water station where fortunately there was an ambulance able to fix the lost skin and hopefully send her on her way again.  We ran past three young army guys in far too many clothes and wearing army boots (why boots??), then I pulled away on a final hill but we had a chat at the finish-line. It was one of those times unique to running where you are like old friends without even knowing each others names and then go back to real life at the end.

Its good for a runner to have her mum there
The whanau were there at intervals along the road to cheer me on which meant I didn't dare stop and walk.  I felt like I had put a bit of effort into the run but wasn't too tired afterwards so the 4 hour trip back to Auckland was ok, but I admit to running out of energy when I walked in the door at home, refused to move for half an hour before putting cereal and fruit salad on the table for dinner.  No-one seemed terribly worried about the quality of the dinner though, they had all had too much leftover birthday cake for lunch.  Excellent run, would like to do the full marathon there next year.