Monday, 13 April 2015

Karen writes: Sand to Mud 2015

Sometimes you get out of bed, head off into the unknown and stumble across a gem.  In this case a $15 gem, the Waiuku Lions Sand to Mud run from Kariotahi beach, 8 km of hilly rural roads through that oh-so kiwi farmland to the wilder west coast beaches you all know at some level exist, but tend to forget the gloriousness of when you spend more time in town, particularly on the eastern side of the country.

So Sunday morning, got up, it was early enough that the cat refused to move, he just blinked sleepily at me, so the bed got pulled up underneath him.  I had breakfast and headed off for the hour plus drive to Waiuku.  It was an overcast, still sort of day, perfect for running if the sun didn't burn the cloud off too early. When I got there I found where registration was and there were only a few people around. I had to laugh at the one porta-loo standing to attention in a prominent position in the carpark, you would have to be a bit desperate to use it in such a public spot.  The hall where registration was located was one of those well preserved pieces of history with that particular unidentifiable smell these places have and echoey wooden floors, there I got my number and wrote my name on the piece of paper for participants which seemed to be the only official documentation. When Kate arrived and was all sorted we set off having decided we would run to the start-line 8 km away making it a 16 km run in total which was a bit more in line with the need to get some distance in for our next marathon in 3 weeks.

It was lovely, and walking up the big hills (guaranteed the buses with the other runners would pass us when we were doing that) was the chance to talk and set the world to rights.  The km disappeared quickly, and coming up over the final hill we looked out over that amazing and rather grumpy looking ocean, sent a wave to the sleeping Australians, and ran down a long sweep to the black sands.   We were even early.

Eventually it was go time and we lined up with now quite a crowd by the truck marking the start (the sign in the window said so). Then we were off, chugging through the sand, everyone going hard out and then stopping to a crawling pace when the bottle-neck at the foot of the hill was reached, anything other than walking at this point was impossible here with children dashing back and forth, walkers, slower-than-walking runners and the three abreast chatterers. From the top of the hill with that lovely windy road ahead I sped up, and had a fabulous run at a pace bordering on blistering for me, all the way back to Waiuku where the perfect finish was a sausage in bread with lashings of tomato sauce...bliss!  No idea what the actual time was, as usual I forgot to turn my GPS on for at least the first km, but I did record my average pace at about a minute faster per/km than usual. Whether the good performance was the 8 km 'warm-up' with Kate, the natural adrenaline of being in an event with lots of other people, or just the stars being lined up in the right place, who knows, but that was the most enjoyable run I have had in a very long time. Thanks Waiuku Lions!