Every Run is a Personal Best When it’s Your First

Last weekend I ran the Mizuno 10km run as part of the Gazley Voltswagen Wellington Marathon. Well, when I say run, I jogged and walked the majority of it.

It was a terrible day, weather wise. Freezing temperatures, rain, and that strong southerly wind Wellington is known for.

Almost 500 people that signed up to do either the full marathon, the half, the 10km, or the Kids Magic Mile didn’t show up on the day. Most likely due to the poor conditions.

This is the first run I’ve done since the 6km in February for Round the Bays, unless you count the one training attempt which lasted about 2km and led me straight to McDonalds.

And it’s my first 10km ever.

When you enter, you’re asked what you expect your time to be. I had no idea. I’d come in just under an hour for the 6km so with some quick math I just thought, “please don’t be longer than 2 hours” and I had in my head that an hour and a half would be do-able. But with zero training and that dreadful weather, just completing the run would surely be a win.

The course starts at Westpac Stadium, takes you along Aotea Quay and Cable Street before a run along Oriental Parade, with a turn at Balena Bay. The return to the stadium goes along the Queens Wharf.

wellingtonmarathon-course

The turn at Balena Bay, while great because “yay, on the home stretch” was actually the worst of the journey. The wind was so strong in this area that people looked to be running on the spot as they were pushed back by gales, and many hats made their escape.

I’d been questioning my choice of clothing in the weeks leading up to the event and even changed my mind the morning of. I didn’t want to be too hot or too cold, so ended up with my long adidas tights, runner’s t-shirt and a lightweight (Hurricanes) waterproof jacket, along with a headband to keep hair back and ears warm, and my over-ear headphones.

In the first 10-15 minutes I started to wonder if I needed the jacket and questioned the choice of headphones. The music was definitely a good idea (I had run without for February’s 6km) but the style of headphones added an extra layer of warmth I possibly didn’t need. Both jacket and headphones turned out to be much-needed at the turn.

I ran with a watch and checked the time once I hit the waterfront. I have regularly walked from the waterfront to Westpac Stadium as part of my previous job with Wellington Rugby and the Hurricanes, and by keeping an eye on the time, it looked like I might just make it back by the 90 minute mark.

And then my left hip gave out with 2km to go which made running tricky. And then my right hip was even worse from the 1km mark which made walking excruciating. I ended up limping for a long stretch before finding a light jog was the better of the options, and even forced myself to run up the ramp to the stadium and across the finish line.

As my name was called out over the speaker, the clock ticked over 90 minutes. Damnit. However I knew I was a minute or two behind the official start time due to being near the back of the pack. Official time? 1 hour, 29 minutes and 5 seconds. That’s 55 seconds ahead of my goal. I’ll take that.

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Sure, I was one of the slowest for the course (my sister and friend both finished around the 60 minute mark) but as this was my first 10km, it was always going to be a personal best. And my 6km in Feb? Also a personal best. My next run will be the 12km Traverse as part of the ASB Auckland Marathon in October. It’ll be another personal best earned just by finishing.

And I’m doing this for the Blind Foundation Guide Dogs, so every dollar raised is also a “best” as I haven’t fundraised for them before.

I should probably attempt a little more training than a run to McDonalds ahead of October, and if you want to help me raise some funds for the Blind Foundation Guide Dogs, you can do so via the online shop I’ve set up called “Spirit Animal” or make a direct donation here.

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