My goal for the Cigna Round the Bays Half Marathon was twofold: 1) To run a comfortable race, and 2) To clock a new PB (which meant anything under 01:56:12). I knew very well that Wellington's infamous wind could ridicule those goals in an instant, but thankfully Mother Nature treated us to the most perfect race-day weather. It was cool and cloudy, with no wind at all. Hallelujah!
|Ready to run!|
A haka performance was the perfect start to the race. Being a Saffa, it took me back to the countless number of All Black vs. Springbok rugby games I've spectated back in SA... Needless to say that I was pumped up and ready for battle by the time they'd finished!
|Photo by Cigna Round the Bays.|
I felt strong and comfortable right from the start. As usual, I mentally divided the race into four 5K sections and tackled them one by one. The first five felt good, and I completed it slightly faster than planned in 25:28. The second five kilometres felt equally fine, and I was happy to reach the 10K mark in 51:40. At that stage the sub-1:50 pace runner ran just a few strides ahead of me, and although I knew that shooting for a sub-1:50 would be cheeky, trying to keep up with the pace runner kept me going for the next five kays. And before I knew it, it was time for the final six. A few drops of rain started falling at about that time, but just enough to be cool and refreshing.
|Photo by Pete Marshall.|
And then, from around the 17 km mark, it was my turn to eat humble pie. The sub-1:50 pacer left me in his dust, and I ran hunched over, digging deep and fighting the most intense mental battle imaginable. It hurt. And, more than once, I questioned our reason for doing this to ourselves. Are we nuts?!
But the finish line came into sight soon enough. I crossed it, legs aching, and glanced at my watch: 01:52:21. I did it! A PB by almost four minutes.
I let out an exhausted "whoop!", plucked off my running shoes and hobbled to a shady spot to wait for Will and the kids. I was one happy, aching, humbled mama.
A big thumbs up to the race organisers and sponsors for the effort they put into making the day enjoyable for the young ones too. Experience has taught us that dragging the kids along to a (non-kid-friendly) race finish can be a hugely frustrating exercise for both us and them. But not this time. Miss K and J Bear both had a blast, and with (free!) face painting, ice creams, activity packs and an inflatable obstacle course, they were sad to leave come lunchtime. Success!
And, just in case you wanted a close-up of the finisher's medal, it's a beaut.
So what's next? Well, according to my 2017 running goals, I have one more half marathon to properly train for and comfortably complete somewhere over the next ten months. But I'm thinking that this will be more towards the end of the year, perhaps in November or December... My brain needs a proper break before it can even contemplate doing all of this again, ha! But until then I'll be working hard towards my parkrun Club 100 shirt (12 more parkruns to go!), plus I'll be putting in a good effort to find ways in which my running can help others.
A big, sincere thank you for all of your encouragement and support in the weeks and months leading up to Round the Bays - it's been such a highlight and an experience that will make me smile for years to come.