What an embattled weekend we had here in Christchurch, a real taste of winter chill. I managed to get all of my sessions in but there’s something about running in the rain. The wind I’m not the biggest fan of but rain doesn’t bother me. Perhaps it’s the cooling/soothing nature of each drop or, as of Saturday, the horizontal sheets pushing you backwards or propelling you forward. Plus I’ve always thought how many people may have bailed so it’s a chance to get an edge.
Flicking through the paper this morning I saw a picture of Gary Kirsten (coach of the, currently touring here, South African cricket team) completing a marathon in Taranaki. This was the morning after a day night game against NZ. So he drove from Auckland down to Taranaki during the night to make the start line on Sunday, that’s 360km, say around 5-6 hours. Top effort I say although not sure his reasoning.
Last Tuesday I had my first race, a 10km hit out around the Halswell Downs beginning at the Quarry and running to the turnaround point at the end of the Hoon Hay valley road. Being my first race since December I didn’t know what to expect, I was also very excited about the prospect of a niece or nephew being born at any moment. Claire, my brother’s wife, had that day gone into labour so the race was quite timely as I could go and actually do something. I had a vague idea about times but was more focused on a negative spilt (when you finish the second half faster than the first). In my mind I was thinking 34 mins, a couple of 17 minutes 5k’s should be a solid benchmark. Done. Warm up, any news??? Nope, ok.
|A good looking start line|
|Off we head|
As we started I found myself 4 or 5 back from the lead and settled into a good stride rhythm. We clicked over the first km and I saw we we’re at 3.10 pace. Right then my race plan went out the window and I decided to see how long I could stick at it for! Runners are adaptable creatures. We have to be as we cannot control the thoughts and reactions of our fellow competitors. Well one way is to be a front runner and on this evening I wasn’t prepared to be doing that.
As the race progressed I worked my way up to 3rd, alongside Tane Cambridge. We ran together for at least 5 or 6 km’s. Tane had just the previous weekend nearly broken Keith Murray’s Avalanche Peak record, as he destroyed one of the toughest runs I’ve ever completed. Yes, so we stayed together and I thought that we’d have a good crack at pulling in the leader. But as the km’s ticked over I was noticing that we hadn’t really made any dent. I decided to really have a go with about 3km to go but couldn’t muster the legs to get much more going. I then focused on getting under 32 minutes. Which I kind of did….according to my watch, by point something of a spilt second. However the official timer clicked me in at 32 minutes, for which I’ll have to settle for. Well done to Nick Rennie for smashing out a great time, he was first about 18 seconds ahead of me and Tane followed about 10 or 15 second back on me. Claire also gave birth but not until the early hours of the 29th. Welcome to the world young Ollie David McWhirter, and well done Claire, running any distance doesn’t come into comparison.
So many positives to take from the race and basically over the moon to take a 50 second chunk off my 10km PB after a week over 200km and a healthy nephew. This leads me to this weekend and the Motatapu. Beginning what is going to be a super busy rest of the month, with races and travel to these races. It’s going to be a mad start to the day as we’re staying in Queenstown so we’ll have to be on the road early to be at Glendu Bay between 6 and 7 to catch the shuttle to the start line. These early starts are often the case with many big races but you are so charged anyway that a couple of hours less sleep is irrelevant. I remember the ferry to the start line at the Auckland Marathon, it was wicked. Loads of nervous social energy, the bus ride to the start, although short, will be cool.
Great snaps from Rose too!
Here are some stats from the week:
Avg Distance:13.48 km
Avg Time:1:04:04 h:m:s
Elevation Gain:2,572 m
Avg HR:138 bpm
Max HR:211 bpm
Avg Elevation Gain:184 m
Max Time:3:00:23 h:m:s
Still plenty in and around the Canterbury region:
Ellesmere Road Runners: Leeston
Surf and Turf Series: Corsair Bay
The Rock Race: Rolleston
No website but register at Rolleston Community Centre at 94 Rolleston Drive, 6.30pm start
Kaiapoi Rangiora Fun Run and Walk
Found a little quote a while ago and have been waiting for a time to use it so I think with the off road marathon this weekend it’s an appropriate
"It's unnatural for people to run around the city streets unless they are thieves or victims. It makes people nervous to see someone running. I know that when I see someone running on my street, my instincts tell me to let the dog go after him."