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the awesomely average life of a girl like all others


Auckland Half Marathon recap

It was 6AM and I had been up for 1h30. That’s gotta be a good enough excuse for this pose.

Suppose you had asked me a couple of days ago if I was able to get out of bed at 4:30AM. I don’t know why you’d ask me that either but just play along, please. Anyway, I probably would have laughed at the idea for a solid minute or two before letting you know that, no, it was never going to happen. Especially on a Sunday.

Yesterday, Sunday, my alarm woke me up at 4:30. It was pitch black outside and the cat gave me hateful look when I accidentally woke her up. I couldn’t really blame her. There didn’t seem to be enough coffee in the world to help me cope with that kind of sacrifice. But then I got into my bright clothes, green tutu included, swallowed some coffee and a bagel and the world seemed a little better.

As we made our way to the ferry terminal in downtown Auckland to catch the ferry to Devonport, where the start line was, the only non-running people around us hadn’t actually gone home from their night out yet. I felt less normal than the girls in dresses three sizes too small trying not to vomit on the footpath. It didn’t matter that I was wearing a running headband that said “I run so I can drink”, I was still among the weird people getting up at that time to go for a run. And I liked it.

We arrived in Devonport with plenty of time to spare, the sun was yet to come up and the single-digit temperature was trying to disguise the warm day we’d have ahead of us. The only consolation was that we got to be near the start line to watch the participants of the full marathon. I couldn’t imagine what was going through people’s minds as they got ready to run 42.2km but seeing them certainly helped me get excited about the idea of running half of that. There was a little schadenfreude in knowing that at least I wasn’t in their shoes.

Plus, I was about to run another half marathon in the city I live in these days (this time, across the bridge), only three weeks after running an amazing half marathon in the city that will always be home. So life was good. I just wished all these thoughts were coming to my mind a couple of hours later, after a longer night’s sleep.

We started off running at 7AM. Approximately 5 seconds later, I hit the button on the GPS watch to start tracking and it immediately crashed. It refused to come on again so I had to resort to the iPod, which is far less accurate. I got over my little first world problem pretty quickly. The bright tutu meant that I got a lot more support from other people (runners and watchers) throughout the run. I quickly realised that running in costumes is definitely the way to go, if you need a little extra motivation. And if you don’t mind looking ridiculous in public, which I obviously don’t.

The good weather meant we had thousands and thousands of people watching and cheering for all of us, which was, as usual, more helpful than any training session. This was handy considering my training turned out to be non-existent. Somehow, time flew by since Lisbon three weeks ago and I did nothing but a couple of short runs. I figured nothing could be worse than running in that Lisbon heat and I was right.

I also took a chance and decided to break the old “don’t try anything new” rule for running events and wore my bright pink compression socks on this run. As silly as it is to take a risk on race day, this one ended up working really well. Over 24 hours later, my legs are feeling like I didn’t even run yesterday. So there’s another lesson – compression socks are a go. Shame they are so stupidly expensive but I guess I can survive with just one kidney.

This was half marathon number 5 for this year and it is now time to choose the next one for next month. I am tempted to repeat Kerikeri but also feel like I should go for a new course. Options include the Rotovegas Half Marathon, The Speight’s West Coaster and the The Great Cranleigh Kauri Run in the Coromandel. Not sure which one (or ones?) will be chosen yet. All I know is that all this running thing is giving my credit card a real workout.



Lisbon Rock n Roll Half Marathon recap

Cropped out of the picture is the half eaten Magnum ice cream I was holding in that same hand. Because ice cream is just what you need after two Gu energy gels. Silly Vera.

Had it not been written in 1859, I’d say Dickens’ famous “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times” quote from A Tale of Two Cities was about my half marathon in Lisbon a couple of weeks ago.

And now that we’re past the snobbiest introductory paragraph in the history of running recaps, we can move on to the reasons that made me say that and forget that I actually quoted 19th century British literature in a running post.

The Rock n Roll Half Marathon in Lisbon was my absolute favourite race ever. I very much doubt anything will be able to top that any time soon. It’s not your fault, races in the rest of the world. This one had lots going for it. For starters, I got to run for a bit along the longest bridge in Europe, a bridge which is about 10 minutes from where my family lives. I remember that bridge being built and slowly reshaping the landscape. No one is ever allowed to walk or cycle there and, yet, it was the start line for this run. I was more excited about that than the eHarmony girl is excited about cats. I want that bridge in a basket with a bow tie (weirdest sentence ever I’ve ever written? Probably.)

So on top of the coolest start line ever, and being a really well organized event, what else did this run have going for it? Well, I was home. My BFF was running it with me and it was his very first half marathon. My mum got to drop my off at the bus to the start line. My family was watching on the street as I ran past. I got to run along the streets of the world’s most beautiful city. I got to finish that run and walk to my grandma’s house and eat one of my favourite summer meals ever, because I had asked her to make it and she never says no (one of the criteria that got her the title of world’s best grandmother). Do I need to give you any more reasons? I didn’t think so.

It was also the worst of times, though. Lisbon, in all its end of September glory, is one stinking hot mess. This was my sixth half marathon ever and fourth this year (on road, excluding offroad ones) and it was my slowest one so far. It started off great, I avoided the much dreaded stitch pain and the adrenaline and excitement got me along and off the bridge in pretty high spirits. Seeing the family in the first 4km really helped but, from then on, it all started going downhill (and, unfortunately, only in a metaphorical non-topographical sense). My body started to over heat and there was not enough water that I could drink or pour down my head to help me cool down. The air was much drier than I’m used to, living in mighty humid Auckland, and I felt like, no matter how much I tried, no oxygen was getting to my lungs. This feeling lasted for about 16km which is a really long time to feel like you can’t breathe.

I had never thought about quitting a race as much as I thought about quitting during this one. The thought just wouldn’t leave my mind. My brain and I fought a very tough battle not to quit. I didn’t want my first DNF to be in my hometown, with my family waiting. But I couldn’t breathe and my entire body felt weak. I can’t say I enjoyed the run.  I never expected a personal best in this one, seeing I didn’t train for it, but I didn’t think it would go quite so bad. I felt out of breath and in pain pretty much the entire time. Nothing could distract me from it. My sole focus was on trying to not give up.

This lasted until I saw the 19km marker. From then on, I knew I could do it.  We re-entered the Parque das Nações area (damn you traditional Portuguese cobblestone streets destroying my feet) and, with more and more people cheering on the runners, it got slightly easier. Then, with barely 1km to go, right in front of Gare do Oriente, I spotted the family. Mum, being the giant bag of cuteness she is, even joined me for a couple of hundred meters, wearing sandals. When I crossed the finish line, they were all there. The pain was gone for a while. It came back around about the time dad informed me we had to walk about 15 minutes to my grandma’s house, where he had parked, and then climb the stairs to the fourth floor where she lives. That kinda hurt, dad. I’ll remember that.  But all good, I had my medal so my sweat and my wobbly penguin walk were sort of justified.


welcome to rocktember!

gratuitous kitty photo because you can never have too many of those and, well, I had nothing better to post.

You know how it was January about 10 seconds ago? Well, you and I blinked and now we’re over halfway through this year. Scary, right? What’s comforting, though, is that we have finally reached the month I had been waiting for all year long. September has officially been renamed Rocktember and promises to do exactly what the first part of the made up word says. It’ll start with an epic road trip in Europe and include my first ever urban trail run (a concept I had never even heard of but am already sold on), as well as a half marathon in Lisbon (the location alone make it straight away the coolest half marathon ever). On top of that, and more importantly, some much needed quality time with family and friends I haven’t seen in a year and cannot wait to hug. I’m sure I’ll come back with plenty to write about but, for now, off to get on a plane (well, two planes) to the other side of the world, BRB!


10 things I learned during the Wellington Half Marathon

1. Flat courses aren’t actually easier

I spent this entire time wishing I could run a half marathon on a flat course. I got all excited when I saw that the route of the Wellington one was flat as a pancake. Turns out that pancakes as metaphors for course altitude are actually pretty boring (as oppose to real pancakes you get to eat, which are, of course, more than a bit awesome). A flat course means your body is always performing the same movements, with the same force (or, in my case, lack thereof). Boring. This flat course taught me how to love the hills.

2. No training = No PR

It’s actually a pretty obvious equation, when you think about. I didn’t. I came out of that mammoth 35k in the bush at the end of May and barely moved for the following couple of weeks, thinking I had time to train for Wellington. I didn’t. Next thing I knew, it was time to fly to the capital and harden up. Not my worst time but certainly not my best. Mental note: to run faster, run often.

3. Do not go to a yoga session (or anything you haven’t done in months) 3 days before the half marathon

Your body will ache. Three days isn’t actually enough time for me to get it all back to normal, as it turns out, especially since my back had already been hurting. On that note…

4. If your back hurts, running is not going to fix it.

Contrary to what my mind likes to tell me, running is not the solution to all of life’s problems. Almost all of them, yes, but not quite. Like back pain. Running made it worse. Oh-so-much-worse. Voltaren is my new BFF.

5. If you are told not to wear the same pair of running shoes longer than 700km, don’t be a tight-ass about it, buy a new pair of shoes and shut the hell up.

Running 1200km+ on the same pair of shoes and then assuming they’ll still be comfortable for a further 21km? Stupid move.

6. You better just come to terms with the fact that you’re not going to enjoy some runs. It’s okay.

You wake up some days and you don’t really feel like running, for one reason or another. It’s okay. Sometimes that happens to be the day you not only paid the entry fee to a half marathon but you also flew to that city for that particular reason. Harden up. Whatever. Get over it. Onto the next one.

7. Don’t panic about the weather.

Just because you nearly got blown off a pier while trying to walk along it the day before, it does not mean you can’t wake up to beautiful sunshine and almost no wind the next day. Case in point: Wellington’s schizophrenic weather which was very much a pleasant surprise on race day. Stop worrying, damn it.

8. Good or bad, you’re 21km closer to where you want to be.

I know this sounds like terribly hippie new-age crap but it’s a comforting thought for when you finish a half marathon that you didn’t particularly enjoy and that leaves you wondering why you even bother.

9. Running events are the perfect excuse for a weekend away.

I may not have had the best time during the run but the weekend in Wellington was all kinds of lovely. Flying to another city just because of a running event might sound silly to some but that’s only if you make it solely about that couple of hours and nothing else.

10. Stop whining. 

Running 21km and crossing the finish line is pretty damn awesome. No one cares that it took you five minutes longer compared to your previous PR. You shouldn’t either.


whenuapai half marathon recap – a bittersweet PR

last sunday, april 1, I woke up before the sun to some very sad news from home – news you never want to get, especially when you’re half a world away. I had two hours until I had to be at the start line for the Whenuapai half marathon and felt like doing anything but running. Except there was nothing else for me to do because this distance from home is a son of a bitch. So I added a tissue to my half marathon kit and headed out the door and to that start line.

I thought maybe if I focused on what was going on at home it would actually, in some twisted way, helped me get the run over and done with. I was wrong. It was brutal and the fact that all I wanted to do was be home with my family meant I could not get my mind off the fact I was nowhere near where I wanted to be.

So this ended up being my least enjoyable half marathon to date. I wanted to give up a couple of times after the 18km mark, my legs felt nearly as heavy as my heart and the sun felt like it was burning my face. And yet, this was my best time. It was just 2:05, nothing to write home about, and it actually came as quite a disappointment (I spent the first half of the run thinking a sub-2h half would finally happen and ended up getting too tired and having to run a slower second half).

There was a sweet brunch in the sun with friends afterwards that slightly made up for the suckiness of the run but it definitely wasn’t a day I’m going to want to remember.

Still, half-marathon number two for the year (and fourth overall) can be ticked off the list. Bring on the next one!


Cathay Pacific half marathon Auckland recap

Last sunday morning was awesome and it wasn’t even spent in bed like all sunday mornings should be. Instead of the usual routine of trying to sleep in while a cat gives me a less than friendly back massage and begs for food, I headed into town and ran my third ever half-marathon instead. Third ever and first of a plan of four for this year. After my first half in Taupo last August and the second one in Kerikeri in November, I was really excited about running a third one.

So excited I injured my knee a week before race day. Am I the clumsiest person you’ve ever met or just second clumsiest? With a bruised and sore knee, I dragged myself out the sunday before for a 15.5km run before deciding it was probably time to just jump straight to the part of the training that involves sitting on the couch eating lots of crap and feeling sorry for yourself. So that’s what I did. One 5km run all week and the knee showed little sign of improvement.

So on race day, I had to sport a super sexy knee brace and hope that I could end the 21.1km course without having to have my leg amputated or OMG a knee brace tan line. Spoiler: I still have both legs.

The data in the images is off my Nike+ app thingy (I call things thingy because I’m technical like that). The organisers of this event didn’t actually record anyone’s time which was kind of sucky for people like me who like to know exactly how long they take from start to finish. My nike+ isn’t always super accurate and actually think I ran more like 21.9km. I also only stopped it about 20 seconds after crossing the finish line so none of that is precise, just a good indication.

This wasn’t my best half-marathon time but it was, by far, the easiest half-marathon I’ve ever done. Nothing to do with the conditions – there were a couple of uphills to annoy my old-lady’s knee, the weather was maybe a little too hot and the staggered start didn’t exactly give me the whole adrenaline rush I normally get from these events. But for some crazy reason, I got really into it and felt amazing the entire time. I remember passing the 6km marker and feeling surprised because I felt we had only just started.

At about the 12km mark, I spotted my awesome friends (*waves!*) who had driven there to see me run. They followed me in the car for a while, stopping often for photos, high fives and just a whole lot of shouting my name. Not sure they have any idea how awesome I think they are for doing that but yeah, they are kind of fabulous that way. They left me at about 18km and drove to the finish line. I ran a really good final 3km along the waterfront, made slightly less amazing by the many walkers I had to dodge and the damn knee that kept on reminding me of its existence. I crossed the finish line only to realise and, pretty much as soon as that happened, my knee stopped hurting. It’s been three days, still not hurting. In fact – and here’s the real first! – nothing is hurting. I was walking around in high heels the day after, which was kind of a novelty for me.

So this is it. First half-marathon of the year done, three more to go. Roll on Rotorua! I’m pretty excited about kicking your ass in two months time!


“prepared runner” or dork? a bit of both, really

Chris’ auntie, who lives in Whangarei, spotted this in the Whangarei Report (the area’s local newspaper). That’s yours truly, during last weekend’s half-marathon.

I’m not one to care about what I look like while running (proof of that was the fact that I got given a chocolate at about the 18km mark and still had chocolate all over my lips after crossing the finish line – so classy!), but this is really making me have second thoughts about the hydration pack. Is there a dorkier-looking running accessory? I don’t think so.

Well. I may be a dork but I’m also a “prepared runner”. What the caption writer doesn’t know is that the stupid hydration pack let me down a few times during the run by clogging up and not giving me water. Prepared, schmepared.


Kerikeri half-marathon recap

sunrise in paihia. me and a sunrise - doesn't happen often.

On Friday evening, three days after returning from Samoa, S. picked me up and we started our approximately 3 hour journey up to Paihia, in the Bay of Islands. We stay at a lovely hotel, thanks to S. finding an amazing deal on a website a month or two ago. We were so excited about having a little roadtrip and a weekend away just for ourselves, I had hardly thought about the real reason we were driving up. Until a few hours before when it really hit me that OMG we were going to be doing it all over again: 21.1km of pain and excitement and sore muscles and content all mashed together.

After getting to the hotel later that evening, we laid out our running gear, prepared our running snacks (jelly beans and a mix of nuts, that I didn’t even end up eating) and got in bed after setting the alarm for 6:03 (to give us time to snooze for five minutes until 6:07 – don’t ask!).

We jumped out of bed on Saturday morning, got ready and took the (roughly) 2km walk to the Paihia ferry building where the bus to the start line was waiting for us. We got to see the sunrise as we were walking down the hill and along the waterfront and it was around then that I started getting super excited about the day.

I was pretty optimistic about this run, mainly because the website said it was a mostly downhill course. I may have gotten overly excited about the word downhill and it wasn’t exactly as I expected. Right at the start, there were two quite big uphills that, along with the sun aiming for the invisible bullseye on the top of our heads, made for a pretty uncomfortable first couple of kilometres. But it did get better.

The first 6km were spent trying to get comfortable and from then on, I managed to get in the zone and just enjoy the course. We were running through backcountry roads with lovely green farms around us and the sun was shining (at times a little too strongly) so life was pretty good. I wore my hydration pack (nerdiest accessory ever?) which was handy because it meant I could run past all the water stations. It did clog up a couple of times, which was weird, and it leaked for a while, leaving a big wet patch on my lower back (so sexy, I know!).

At the 15km mark, I felt myself starting to get a little tired. The “maybe I could walk just for a few seconds” thoughts started to appear and I really didn’t want to walk. I had the jelly beans and nuts mix in the hydration pack but had put a Gu in the pocket of my running pants. It was the first time I ever tried Gu (after a last minute decision to rush out and buy a couple the day before). I’m not sure it did anything for me, to be honest. The vanilla bean taste wasn’t as bad as I’d read it would be and I did stop thinking about walking but it’s not like I ran any faster or anything. I think it had the same effect a couple of jelly beans would have had and it was way messier to eat than those so not sure I’ll be having it again.

The second half of the course was considerably better than the first and it did include a few downhill bits as promised. There were also a lot more people cheering us on during the second half, as we got closer and closer to Kerikeri, which really helped (to the little boy that was giving all the runners high fives, you made my next few hundred metres a lot easier!).

Around the 17km mark, I finished off the Gu and, for some stupid reason, also lost the ability to get any water out of my hydration pack (there may have been a couple of swearwords involved, as I tried to get the damn thing to work). In the end, I just gave up on water completely.

The highlight of the run was seeing another km marker in the distance and thinking “oh, good, that must be the 19km mark” and then getting closer and realising that I was wrong and it was actually the 20km mark! That never ever happens (the opposite, unfortunately, happens to me quite often). I think there may have been an out loud “YES!” at the sight of that marker.

The run finished inside Kerikeri domain. I’m not a fan of running on grass and those final 100m are always the hardest but I was super happy to see the finish line and realise that I had done it again.

we know how to celebrate in style. well, kinda.

We celebrated with hot chips and a couple of beers, sitting in the sun waiting for prize giving to start. The bus then took us back to Paihia where we spent the rest of the day lounging around the pool, eating yummy food and napping, before having one of the earliest nights ever (in bed by 8:55pm, I got a glimpse into what life as an elderly lady will be like).

On sunday morning, I woke up to a whole lot of muscle pain. I spent the day looking like a 70 year-old who had been in a coma and was now re-learning to walk. The weather was amazing, though, and after treating ourselves to some good food, we made our way back to Auckland, stopping over at one of the best beaches I’ve ever found in New Zealand, where we took time to stretch some more.

pretty beach is pretty!

All in all, this was a great half-marathon. I am pretty keen to return to Kerikeri and run the same course again. I managed to beat my time from my first half-marathon in Taupo (albeit in much different conditions this time) and I know I can do even better than I did this time. We are now in the process of choosing a half-marathon to run sometime within the first three months of 2012 (one of the four we’re planning to run next year!) and I know it will be better. Unlike this time, we’ll actually train and be prepared for it. I was definitely not fit enough to do this half-marathon this time (and my body is now reminding me of it with every movement). We didn’t follow a training plan (despite having good intentions), most of our runs were about 5km or 6km only and we ran a grand total of approximately 10km in the two weeks leading to the half. Not ideal.

I feel like it my lack of training could have easily turned this into a nightmare and put me off running for a good while but, luckily, that wasn’t the case at all. I’m super pumped about the idea of picking another half-marathon, drawing up a training plan and do a few long runs leading up to race day. Roll on 2012!

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Here we go again…

Photo taken during my last trip up to the "winterless north", where I'm running the next half marathon. Pretty!

All signed up and paid for. The next half-marathon happens next month in Kerikeri and, if I survive, it should be one to remember (hopefully for good reasons).

Unless there is some sort of disturbance in the natural order of the universe, this half-marathon should be pretty much the opposite of the previous one, at least as far as the weather conditions are concerned. Kerikeri is located in what is often referred to as “the winterless north” and the run is in November and not in the middle of winter in one of the coldest areas of the island, like the Taupo half-marathon in August.

That said, and not wanting to be a negative nancy, the icy winds and cold temperatures in Taupo are part of what prevented me from giving in and walking last time. Hopefully, the heat won’t force me to walk. Oh god, just being a whiner aren’t I? Just ignore me, please.

The full name of this next run is actually Fullers GreatSights Kerikeri Half Marathon. Great Sights. See? Focusing on the positive. That’s better.

The goal will be to improve on the time from my first half marathon, a pretty slow but not all that tragic 2:15:47. I’m pretty confident about it because it looks like it is mainly downhill and if there is one thing I know for sure is that downhill equals good. But that’s something to worry about on the day. For now, the goal will be to get off my bum and get out there to run.

Training starts… Now.

(Okay, tomorrow.)


Notes on running my first half marathon

I used to be one of those people that say stuff like “running? Only if it’s to catch the bus” and stuff like that. I remember the PE classes in high school and how, once every three months, the teacher would ask us all to run a mile (if I’m not mistaken, that used to be 12 laps of the soccer field in our school) so he could track how fast we could go (and by fast, I mean slow in my case, of course). Once every three months, when that week came along and I knew I was going to have to run that mile, I’d try and come up with excuses why I couldn’t attend that class. I’d go all whiny kid on the teacher and say stuff like “but my throat is sore” or “my stomach hurts” to try and get him to let me off but he never did. I hated every second of it.

That has changed. Yesterday, me and my running partner finally reached the goal we had been working towards in the past few months, as we cross the finish line at the Taupo Half Marathon. No matter what, I’m not the whiny girl trying to get out of having to run a mile for PE class anymore.

I know there are lots and lots of people in the world who can do it. There also lots of people who run full marathons and even some who enjoy running ultra marathons. Still, I’m pretty stoked about our achievement, as it proved to me that you can really accomplish the stuff you want to achieve, if you just bother to get your bum off the couch. Last year, I couldn’t run more than two or three kilometres without struggling with my breathing and just walking home instead. A year on, I’m seriously considering aiming for a full marathon.

Anyway, this particular half marathon was pretty hard work, by anyone’s standards. No matter how much you enjoy running or how good you are at it, no one can convince me they enjoy running with strong ice cold winds, rain and even hail hitting them in the face like rocks. We picked the Taupo Half Marathon as our goal because we thought it would be more scenic than the Auckland one (which happens in October) and, plus, it would be a good excuse for a roadtrip to one of my favourite parts of the country. With a couple of months to worry about it, I signed up without putting much thought into the fact that I was signing up for a half marathon in one of the coldest areas of the island (it’s where we go skiing, for goodness’ sake!) and in the coldest month of the year. Bad move.

There are some key lessons I take from this whole craziness. I guess the main one is that you can run a half marathon even if you have had lung problems or if you were a wimpy kind who thought running was for losers who couldn’t play proper sports (I grew out of that, don’t hit me). You can also run a half marathon if, only a few months before, you thought running 5km was a pretty long run (and this is why I’m not so scared of the idea of running a full marathon anymore).

One of the best decisions I made throughout the whole training process was head to the Shoe Clinic and get myself a pair of proper running shoes. I’d gone to my doctor before that about a persistent pain in my right knee after each run and he explained that the only thing that would fix it would be a pair of shoes that was adequate to my feet. The guys at the Shoe Clinic did a great job of explaining everything and showed me how I put my feet down on the ground when I run and why I need a certain type of running shoe. As soon as I put my new running shoes on, I knew we’d be great friends (even if spending that much money in one pair of shoes totally goes against my religion).

The worst decision I made throughout the whole process was to pick a training schedule and forgetting about it about, hmm, two hours later. My training ended up being frequent but very irregular. I used all the excuses I could think of and only really got into training seriously about three to four weeks before race day.

I’ve also realised that the runners who told me running was as much about mental strength as it was about physical exercise were spot on. It is as much about keeping your body going as it is about getting your brain to agree to let it keep going. I spent the entire length of the half marathon in a sort of internal monologue arguing with my weaker side that wanted me to slow down, walk, take breaks and even give up.

Having a good playlist really helped too. I spent a good few hours putting that playlist together and even tested it in some runs prior to the half marathon. Having the right songs for the different stages of the run was a huge help (call me lame but you try slowing down when Florence is yelling at your ears to “run fast for your father, run fast for you mother…”).

What helped the most, though, was having my own private support crew there. C. and his parents were near the 4km mark ready to grab my jacket off me and hand me some jelly beans and I then ran past them again at the 17km mark where they had water and Powerade in hand. We had previously arranged for me to meet up with them later in a car park nearby, because we thought it would be way too busy for them to be able to park and wait for me at the finish line. About 15 or 16km into the run, though, I realised having them at the finish line would be a way of ensuring my weaker side wouldn’t win that internal monologue. So I ran past them at 17km and asked them to be there at the end, not realising they had already decided to do so anyway. I can’t tell you how much it helped me, being able to break the run down by the stages when I’d be seeing them.

The final lesson is that this half marathon wasn’t really the end goal or the point of all this training. Not even 24 hours later, me and S. were already searching for what other running events we could do next. So far, we’ve decided to sign up for an off-road run in September (15km) and another half-marathon in November (this time in usually sunny Kerikeri). I doubt the weather will ever be *that* crappy and now we can finally say “21.1km? Been there, done that!”. Virtual high five, S.!