One of my goals this year was to run the adidas Auckland half marathon faster than the 1:43:33 I did for my first half marathon in 2008. Easier said than done…
I was determined to be prepared for the race, so that meant doing whole lot of training. I ran while I was on my annual camping trip over New Years, I ran while I was on holiday in Queenstown, I ran when in Wellington for a work trip, I ran while I was in Sydney for a conference, and I even ran during my mid-winter holiday in Tonga!
During the winter, I would get home from work on a Friday night and go straight out for a 10km run. It was always dark, and/or cold. It was tortuous to see other people out having a glass of wine with friends, and this sometimes caused me to ponder my priorities. But the thought of running 21.1km on October 31 spurred me on, if I wanted to do a time of 1:40:00, it meant tying my laces and hitting the pavement about 3 times a week.
When race day finally rolled around, I woke up at 5am and got ready. I caught the ferry across to Devonport and let the atmosphere soak in. It was exciting! There were 10,000 runners and all seemed to be warming up or lining up to use the portaloos. My legs felt like springs and I couldn’t wait to get started. The course winds through the suburbs on the North Shore, over the Harbour Bridge and into Victoria Park in the Auckland CBD.
It was a strange feeling running with all those people, and some were in fancy dress! Four guys were dressed up like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and I saw one girl dressed in a Buzzy Bee outfit. With overcast weather and a slight breeze, the conditions were perfect for a long, hot, sweaty run. I loved every minute, with the opportunity to run over the Harbour Bridge a major highlight. I had friends along the course cheering me on – thanks guys!
I ran the 21.1km in 1:35:49, which was nearly eight minutes quicker than my last race. Doing a time that exceeded my expectations was an amazing feeling. I felt proud to have set a goal, prepared for it, challenged myself and put myself out there – with huge potential to fail. Yep, I was on cloud nine for most of the following week, but my legs were so sore!
In 2007 I couldn’t run 3km without collapsing, and now I’ve run 21.1km in a bit over an hour and a half, and my next goal is to run under an hour and a half. I’m an ordinary, 5’3” girl who decided to become a runner. I love being out of my comfort zone, learning about my limits and pushing myself to do things I didn’t know I was capable of. It’s my way of getting to know myself a little bit better and test my dedication, determination and get fit in the process. Running has given me so many great experiences that I think I’ll keep running right through the upcoming summer, but I’ll definitely make sure there’s plenty of time for Friday night drinks from now on!
If you are thinking about getting into running, here are my top tips:
*I don’t run with an iPod or music playing now, but I know it can be a great motivator. Using something like the Nike + system where your iPod/iPhone can link up with a chip in your shoe and log your distance, time and pace is great. I used this when I first started and the feedback gave me inspiration to push harder.
*Planning your run on websites like www.mapmyrun.com can help you keep track of far you are running, plus it also has a feature to search for other runs in your area. Running somewhere scenic is always a winner for me – along the foreshore walkway in New Plymouth, through the Queenstown Gardens and around Cornwall Park in Auckland are a few of my favourite runs. When I’m in Sydney I love running across the Harbour Bridge and into Circular Quay to the Opera House when the sun is coming up. Beautiful!
*Read magazines like Runner’s World and books like Born to Run by Christopher McDougall for tips and information. Knowing how to run without injury and how to increase your fitness safely is important. Check out www.coolrunning.co.nz to find a race to test yourself!
Have you run a half marathon?
Do you enjoy setting goals and trying to achieve them?