Half Marathon Race Recap – I DID IT!!

I’m still in slight disbelief that I’ve now completed a half marathon – it’s an odd feeling but lets start from Friday!

THE TRIP UP:
Friday midday the group of us who were travelling together met at the Pumped Studio. We got given our new singlet’s! We headed off in groups with around 3 hours to make it to Kaikoura. On our way we had a scavenger hunt and had to tick as many missions off as we could…

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This was an entertaining afternoon – one of the funniest moments was our group rocking up to a big team of construction workers (who were having a meeting at the time) and asking for a photo with their hats and hi-vis.

Overall most people were willing to help us out, unfortunately the people at the dairy we asked about the free ice-cream ended up being a bit rude and walking out the back of the shop. This was soon forgotten about when we found some lovely people at a café who gave us a free coffee which I was the recipient of 😀

By the time we got to Kaikoura I was feeling some travel sickness – thankfully it started to go away closer to Blenheim. Quick trip to pick up our race packs and it was back to the lodge for the first meal as a group with MASSES of yummy dishes that everyone had brought along.

 

RACE DAY
We had to be up, fed and ready to go for the 7:30am trip to St Clair Vineyard. My breakfast of choice was a bagel with cream cheese. This seemed to work on my last long run so I thought I’d stick with it!

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With Summer behind us the morning was cool but the sun helped keep us from shivering too much before the start. It was a long line and it took Liam and I a couple of minutes to get to the start line once the countdown had happened but then we were off!

My goal? Finish under 2 ½ hours. 

I lost Liam around about the 2km mark – we had quite a bit of running down through vineyards so it was harder to pass people so he got a little in front and the gap kept getting bigger. I knew at that point I was the one who had to keep myself going if I hit the wall. My music was pumping and because I decided to run with my hydration pack I didn’t need to stop at any water stations so I knew I had it sorted! Overall the ground was a little more uneven than I had trained on but nothing I couldn’t handle.

At one point I heard someone calling my name, which I wasn’t expecting. Virginia & Michael were our support crew and they managed to make it to a couple of spots during the race to get some photos and cheer us on. It was a good feeling seeing someone out there every so often who knew you, there were a lot of people out watching around the course who would clap and say motivational things as you went past but it’s so much more effective when it comes from someone you recognise!

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Look at that scenery!!!

 

I had some GU on me for fueling which I took over a long period of time rather than having a whole one every 35-45mins. This was the main reason I wanted to carry my hydration pack because it meant that I needed to sip water more often than there was a water station.

My legs started to feel tired around about the 18km mark. I knew I just had to keep putting one foot in front of the other because if I stopped for a moment it would be so much harder to start again. I spied Brogan in front of me and we ended up running together for a couple of kilometers – it helped us both equally to keep going at this point.

I heard my app click over 20km and I knew I was close to my time goal but I wanted to pick up my pace a bit. The last few vineyards that we ran through were softer than the others and they also had big tractor tire tracks – this made it harder to run on. The last km seemed to take forever to get through; I’d get to a corner or the end of some vineyards and think ok it must be this corner! No… Ok keep running. By the time I actually came around the last corner it took a few seconds to register that it was indeed the last corner. It wasn’t until I heard Kate yelling “SPRINT DEBBIE” that I picked up my legs and booted it to the finish line.

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Bonus?? Finishers medal was this nice bottle of wine 😀

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TIME GOAL
My goal was 2:30 or less. I came in at 2:24:26! 5mins under what I set myself so I was pretty happy with that.

I’m really proud I crossed the finish line in good time but for some reason it never quite hit me that yes I just ran 21.1 freaking kilometers. I think it was such a long time coming and previously I had to pull out of few half marathons due to injury. Maybe I didn’t want to build the excitement up incase I ended up getting injured again. I also think completing a half became the ‘norm’ in my mind so it wasn’t until later that night when Kate said you might have been surrounded by almost 3,000 people today who all completed a half marathon but if you think of how many people in Christchurch have actually done one it’s probably only 1% or less of the population. This helped put it into perspective for me.

Our night finished with lots of laughs and some very bright clothing – it was a fantastic weekend all around.

Now remember when I said I lost Liam at around 2km? He kept going and ended up completing it in 2:01:18 SO PROUD!!

 

Did you race in the weekend?

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Aoraki/Mount Cook Inaugural Marathon (calm down, I only did the 10km)

My weekend started one of the best possible ways it could… ROAD TRIP!!!

I went away for the weekend to Aoraki/Mount Cook for a race. A couple of Pumped ladies had won entries for the Inaugural marathon (they did the half, I did the 10km) and had asked if anyone else wanted to join them. It’s a bit of a journey I still hadn’t been to Mt Cook before so I jumped at the chance and the bonus was that I was offered a free entry to the race.

I drove to Emily’s place and the two of us car pooled from there. A quick coffee stop in Geraldine (about 1.5 hours in) and then we kept driving to Tekapo for lunch.

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Another hour or so later and we got to Aoraki/Mount Cook. Driving in we worked out where each race started (It seems like a very long distance when you’re in a car!) and the hills didn’t seem quite that bad in the car (I’ve been told since that some of those hills were pretty tough!). We checked in to the hotel and went to find our Kennel Chalet before meeting up with Simone & Mark.

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This race worked slightly different than others I’ve been to, we had the pre-race briefing at dinner the evening before as opposed to in the morning just before the race started. There was a HUGE line for the buffet; I hope that next year they might spread it out a bit/put more food out at a time. I don’t think the hotel realised how much runners eat before a race (some people’s plates were piled insanely high!). This lead to the veges being brought out a little bit before they were ready, crunchy kumara (sweet potato) is not one of my favourite foods I’ll admit.

RACE DAY!!

Sunday morning was a little strange. Normally I have to travel somewhere for a race but as I was doing an out and back course and there was no race briefing on the morning I didn’t have to leave the kennel until 15mins before the race started. So as Emily was getting up and ready I was sitting on my bed not really knowing what to do with myself haha! Emily & Simone had to catch a bus out to the start line at 7:30am ready for 9am start. I got ready earlier than I needed to and used a bit of time to keep moving once I got outside in the cold.

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About 8:50am we were walked out past the finish line and onto the road where we were starting from. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 GO! Everyone seemed to be going at quite a pace, the start was downhill but I noticed I was definitely going faster than normal. My first two km were well under 6mins so I made myself slow just a little. I knew the first half of the race would be faster as it was sloping down and I wanted to make sure I had enough to get back up – especially the last 400m as this was the steepest part of the course… These stairs were just before the finish chute… I know they don’t look like much but trust me they are horrible after a run!

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My hands were super cold and my body instantly noticed the slight incline at the 5km turnaround, in fact it seemed like quite a few runners had only trained on the flat because a lot of them stopped and walked a wee bit at the turnaround point. I managed to keep a pretty steady pace with those around me, once we got into our rhythms no one passed me (for me this is an awesome feeling) and as my running app clicked over 10km I realised it was a PB for me (YES!!). The course ended up being 10.4km but the best feeling for me was managing to keep running up the last hill and in doing so passing 4 runners who either slowed considerably or who stopped to walk it – I think that feeling was even better than crossing the finish line haha. I also got my first ever finishers medal at this race too, a lot of our races are quite small in comparison with other countries so it’s not often we get medals.

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Being so close to the accommodation I knew I had an hour to kill before Emily & Simone were due to finish so I walked back down to the kennel chalet to for a hot shower, some warm clothes and a snack. After lunch Emily & I decided to go for a wander, there were some 30-60min walks quite close to the village and we thought we had around 3 hours before prize giving (turns out it got moved forward two hours so we missed it – I better not have missed out on a spot prize!!). We decided to try one of the longer tracks first which ended up taking us close to a little bridge – so detour we must!

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On the way back we spotted another very short walk so we headed in there before getting back to the chalet. Not knowing that prize giving had already happened we got ready and met Simone up at the café. This is when I found the post on Facebook, so feeling a bit sad we headed to the bar downstairs with the cosy fire which became our home for the next few hours…

Monday morning was supposed to be a sleep in but both Emily & I were wide awake before 7am (sigh). We wanted to go see one other small walk behind the hotel so we checked out and headed up there quickly.

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Then we finally found an entrance into the memorial garden we spotted earlier in the trip:

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Emily did some research and decided on our way out we could stop and do a walk/hike up to see the Tasmin Glacier. This was the best walk we did (in my opinion) just look at the scenery!!

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We headed back home, stopping again in Tekapo for lunch.

I was hoping the weather would clear a bit more than it did, I never seen all of Aoraki/Mount Cook, I’ve decided it’s not worth playing hide & seek with a mountain – you will not win, ever… However I did manage to see the tip of the mountain for about 5mins on my race, I really wanted to stop and take a picture but my time was going really well so I didn’t want to stop!! So this was the best picture I got… Still breathtaking!

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And this is what it looks like minus clouds (apparently)

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Did you race over the weekend?