My half marathon experienceNovember 27, 2016 in New Zealand
I entered the race last minute in an effort to support my lovely wife in one of her dreams on this trip, I was always keen to do the 10km race but for some reason I was curious to see if I have what it takes to do a half marathon.
The night before Isabel gave me pearls of advice on when to take breaks and when to take energy gels etc. With all of that and my personal running ability in mind we devised a plan of attack.
The plan was to run an average of about 7 min per km for 10 minutes at a time and the walk for 2 minutes to rest but never stop. Depending on how slow I walk that should get me to the finish in under 3 hours.
Now if there is one thing I have learnt about myself in the last few months is, when I make a plan I can stick with it no matter what.
Before the started we were mesmerized with one of the local Maori tribes performing the HaKa, wow, that was special and the All-blacks can come have some lessons from these guys they know what they're doing and they look way more scary than the All-blacks ever do.
At the started people started slower than I anticipated but I stuck with my pace even when the pace picked up and people started passing me I stuck with the plan.
I broke the race up in 7 small races of 3km( also Isabel's suggestion as this is a comfortable distance for me). Each time I reached a finish of a mini 3km race I celebrated inside and kept going for the next one, before I know it I smashed 5 of 7 little races, but before I could get arrogant 6 of 7 got me back to earth and by km 18 I was feeling the distance. Isabel's Advice kicked in and I just tuck with it at a slightly slower pace to get to the last 3. As soon as I reached the last 1.6km I saw I was actually not to far behind the 2 hour 30 min pace maker and decided to drop a gear to try and come in under that. With about a km to go I paced the pace maker and that just gave me the energy to finish strong, at the 500 meter to go mark I dropped another gear and finished strong.
This was really a huge accomplishment for me, one that I would cary with me with pride for a long time to come. At this point I can not see myself do another one but never say never.
The route was amazing in that it was like a site seeing tour, after about 6 km we entered the forest and passed some beautiful streams before entering the Redwoods which was jaw droppingly beautiful, those trees seem like the go up for days. I had to stop myself from looking up to avoid tripping and falling.
Shortly after exiting the Redwood forest we entered the geothermal active area we were literally running through fields of steaming holes in the earth, it stank to high heaven so deep breaths was not a good idea. Again one of those mind-blowing natural wonders that NZ have to offer.
And we ended up next to the beautiful Rotorua lake.
My highlight of the day must be seeing Isabel's shocked/happy face when I crossed the finish line 30 minutes earlier than she anticipated. 😘 Then she met me at the water table with teary eyes. 😂