My first Half Marathon – TICK!

Well Saturday 11th May and come and gone and it was D-day for my first half marathon. We had an absolutely fantastic weekend away and the half marathon was a complete success with me achieving…..

2 hours 2o minutes and 57 seconds

I am absolutely chuffed with my time and so proud of myself for running the entire way. Admittedly I was a little worried about how I would go as my last 2-3 training sessions saw me walking some of my runs. I was really out of grunt. But everything fell into place and one might say ‘my planets aligned’. I had a thoroughly enjoyable run.

The time is for an average runner and that’s me! So I’m pleased that I can say I ran the whole way and now I have a time I can work with 🙂 Chuffed to bits…

IMG_1210

This is how our weekend rolled…

We left Friday afternoon after I had taught a 3 hour class (no voice!) and hit the road for Blenheim. 3.5 hour drive north to the spectacular wine region of New Zealand, Marlborough. World renowned wines come from here and Marlborough turned on a fine weekend for all. I had heard that 1000 runners/walkers had registered from Christchurch alone for the race, so we expected some big convoys on the road to our destination.

We had booked ahead and managed to organise a homestay with friends of friends for the weekend. Jill and Pete were utter gems and laid it on thick for us. A beautiful home, lovely big log burner, our own rooms and bathrooms, a couple of super friendly dogs and the creme de la creme….. a spa pool!!!!! Yusssssss!!!!!! A god send believe me. They were just the nicest people to stay with and it really made our trip so special. It was a million times better than booking a motel/backpackers.

After a visit to a friends for a dinner of pasta and pasta and pasta. Beautifully cooked I might add we returned to Jill and Petes for a spa under the clear skies full of stars. The frostiest night of a chilly 1 degree (Celsius) and tucked into bed for the race the next morning.

Up fresh and bright in the morning for a good breakfast, waited for our other running partner to arrive (who had not registered the night before) and we headed off to St Clair’s vineyard. Sussed out Angie’s registration and freebies and chucked back a gel shot and off to wait in line for the starting gun.

It was a chilly morning with frozen big toes but after 1km that wasn’t an issue. We ran through the vineyard lanes, up stockbanks so you had terrific views of vineyards on either side of you that joined to the snowy mountains beyond. A fabulous day without a cloud in the sky. A little road running and a nice run about the 15-18km mark along the river. By the 2km mark I set it in stone that I was going to run the entire way, I felt so good.

What was fun about this run was the food on the circuit, yes you heard me right, food, gourmet food to be precise… So at the 5km mark there was king salmon on a cracker. Yum but not for this runners tummy, there was no way I was going to carry that in my belly for another 16km. Just to add – behind the runners next off the starting block were the hybrids (run/walk) and then walkers. So I think these treats catered more for them. There was also NZ mussels, mini Bavarian sausages, mini gelato sorbet in a mini cone, swiss chocolate, and then some more! Personally I stuck to the water stations and the fuel electrolyte stations. Oh there were also band playing on corners, pipe bands, brass bands and bongo players! It was a really fun event and it was great to see the support from so many people.

I hit the 17km mark and it suddenly became harder, my will to live was starting to leach out and my emergency positive talk needed to kick in now. 18kms still going but slowing down…… My original goal was to make 2 hours 30 minutes but I changed that to 2 hours 20 minutes on the day. 19 kms it became the mental battle for the last 2 kms, it was really really hard and I nearly gave up. About 150 metres from the finish line I heard the loud speaker say ‘Anyone wanting to get before 2 hours 20 minutes has 10 seconds to pass the finish line’. Argh!!!!!! I wasn’t going to make it, but who cares, its all about finishing. Nearly there and I was so dis-heartened to see a young lass had collapsed 50 metres from the finish line and was being helped by two men. It just shows how hard it becomes near the end. I made it and in a weird delirium I slowed down to a walk and made a bee-line for the water tank…

My good friend Tash finished on 2 hours 7 minutes so she cheered me on at the end. Angie came in at 2 hours 33 minutes and 50 seconds, which I thought was pretty good for someone who had not trained for 6 weeks!

We hung around the event for another hour and checked out all the stalls. Oh don’t forget my bottle of wine!!! Haha. Had a nice chat to a celebrity by the name of Kerre Woodham. She is a radio DJ and comedian and wrote a book ‘short fat chick to marathon runner’. She’s quite inspiring and doesn’t need to look fancy pants to run, she’s just a real genuine kiwi woman.

Here’s a link to her book here

Oh and here’s my photos, my bib number is 1162. The photos aren’t the best. I was struggling at the end!! There’s also 3 videos of me crossing the finish line. Pretty cool!

After the event we headed back to our homestay and had a spa of course!!! It was so lovely. Then a lovely lunch at a beautiful vineyard Rockferry

The evening we had a few drinks with the other girls we met the night before and then off to bed. It was a huge day! I didn’t sleep to well with achy muscles.

Sunday we drove home and stopped at the most amazing natural day care centre in the world. This is called Ohau Waterfall and is located in the northern end of the Kaikoura coastline. It’s an easy walk up to the waterfall (10 minutes if that) and this is a magical place. So…..this is what happens….mama seals go fishing and they simply cannot fish and care for their babies at the same time. Look I know us woman can multi-task but why would you when you can drop your baby seal off at a sublime waterfall to play with 80 other baby seals….

They are so adorable, the are all up the stream and make their way back and forth to the waterfall and the ocean. About 50 or so are in the waterfall diving from it, jumping on each other and sunbathing on the rocks. They are the biggest posers and will pose for photos for you, supermodels of the seal world, they can pull out the moves! Haha. I just love them and unlike adult seals they don’t smell. Oh and it’s free as well 🙂

Photos of course….

Baby Seals

Baby Seals 2

Baby Seals 3

So obvious I’m a tourism teacher, can’t help doing a tourism venture on the trip and completely plug it with passion!

So in summary it was a fantastic weekend with many many highlights and not one single lowlight except that I have to wait an entire year to return and do it again.

My blog post comes over a week since it happened and for a reason. Tuesday came and my dearest friend who has been battling terminal cancer and the young age of 35, lost her life. My heart just broke for her and her family and it was a difficult week last week. She is in my thoughts everyday and I am going to miss her for a very long time. I dedicated my run to her because I admire her strength through her illness and also her grace and dignity to fight so hard. I admire how organised she was and has left so many memories for her 2 year old daughter behind. Not only memories but she set up her daughters future so her life will be filled with quality care and love. RIP Tania, you will always be remembered, never forgotten.

Tania and I

So next goal, we’re thinking the Buller River Marathon. team of 4 doing 10km each as it’s rather hilly. Not till Feb, so we’ll have to find something for October to fill in the gap. Loved the running and I’ve taken a week off naturally but rearing to get back into it this week for maintenance runs 🙂

So in 10 days I’m off to the UK to visit Mr Darcy. I feel like it’s a reward. It’s going to swing by really fast, super excited and looking forward to hauling the suitcase out, getting myself mentally ready for 33 hours of travel time (gulp) and seeing my man and his family, friends etc. Trying not to feel the pressure….

Love

Hayley

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