Y'all are probably aware that I was running in the Auckland (Quarter) Marathon this past weekend. I may have mentioned this previously. A lot. Here is my summary of the event:
I had thankfully managed to finish and submit my assignment the day before, so I was glad to have that out of the way. Trimester complete! Which meant I could focus on getting ready for Sunday. Once the kids were out the door and off to school, I wandered into town to go browsing for some new running gear. I have two pairs of running shorts that I've had since I started running over three years ago, and they're getting pretty manky and old. I don't like them much. I figured it's about time for some new ones. So into Rebel Sport I went, spending a whole 45 minutes trying on pair after pair after pair of shorts. The only ones I liked were super short shorts which weren't actually shorts (they were 'netball knickers' - you know, those things women wear under their netball skirts so they don't accidentally flash their lady parts), and some Nike shorts that were $70 (!!!). I decided to give up on that, and headed to a couple of other places (Stirling Sports, which had far less selection and nothing I liked, and Cotton On Body which was all crappy. I have some gear from Cotton On and I don't like it much so I'm not entirely sure why I went in there in the first place).
I had at least managed to kill enough time that the marathon registration expo was open, so I headed down to the Viaduct Event Centre to pick up my race pack. Whilst there, I saw they had a car that was covered in writing. On closer inspection (because I'm nosy) I discovered that it was actually covered in names. Of all the people participating in the 2012 marathon. Dude, my name is on a car!! Check it out:
Pretty cool, huh? Don't think that makes it my car though. Oh well...
I arrived home in time to sign up for the latest Knitsch yarn club, for which I was the 'inspiration' (ahaha). I had asked Tash for a custom dye of Tennant (a gorgeous Doctor Who blue) on DK weight yarn so I could knit a cardigan with it. She thought this such a good idea, she decided to set up a special one-off yarn club where you could order as much DK as you wanted in Tennant or Rose (a new colourway, inspired by one of the Doctor's companions. No prizes for guessing which one ;-P). Then I had lunch and got stuck into my race pack. The 'goodies' weren't too bad this year (this is after having filtered out a veritable mountain of leaflets):
The toothbrush made me laugh. I guess it was for after you'd eaten the lollies :-) I left this stuff laid out on the floor, so when the boys got home they divvied up the 'good stuff' (X got the popcorn, T got the bagel bites, and they shared the lollies) and left me with the rest. I have no idea who's going to eat the chicken - canned chicken kinda grosses me out - but I enjoyed the crunchy muesli bars so much I went out and bought some more. They're really good! As for the race shirt and my official number:
I didn't care much for the colour combo, plus the shoulders of the shirt were kind of weird. When you lifted your arms away from your body, they sort of peaked up a bit - reminded me of Professor McGonagall's coat in Deathly Hallows:
And they always say you shouldn't wear new gear during a race, so I decided to just keep it as a souvenir (like last year's garish bright green shirt) and wear my normal gear. The afternoon/evening was spent cleaning the entire upstairs - my housework has been a little neglected of late, with study etc taking centre stage, so the place was in desperate need of a spring clean. I wanted to get it done before this week so my week between trimesters wasn't filled with boring housework stuff. I think I managed to fit a bit of knitting in somewhere too.
Deane spent the day out fishing with his mates and their new boat. He got up at 6am (very rare for Deane) and didn't get back until about 8pm, so I was home all day with the boys. This gave me the opportunity to spring clean the rest of the house and get all the laundry done. I was rather pleased to have it all finished. Not so pleased to have the entire kitchen covered in fish scales and guts after the intrepid fishermen (and woman) returned with two large snapper and a few mackerel. I cooked them dinner then sat down and knit (I'd eaten pasta earlier with the boys - a bit of carbo-loading before the race). I'm not a fan of eating dinner at 9.30pm, nor am I big on fish, so this was fine with me. The kitchen got cleaned before I went to bed (a combined effort), so I knew I didn't have to worry about it when I got up in the morning.
Sunday - Race Day
I couldn't really sleep much, which I guess isn't surprising, so I ended up getting up at 5.30am. This gave me time to have breakfast, which I had previously planned to avoid. Nothing worse than needing to go to the loo in the middle of a run, especially when you're in a race and trying to get a good time! It was a light breakfast, but low GI which would help keep me fueled for my run. Then I had time to potter around and get ready at a leisurely pace. By 6.20am I was ready to head out the door. I dropped my gear bag at Victoria Park, and headed over to the start line. Did a few stretches, and it was time to go. The countdown started, the gun went off, and the shuffle began. A short while later, I crossed the start line and began my running app. Unfortunately, I had failed to turn off the music option, so my phone was blaring away with no way to mute it. This meant I had to stop the app and restart it, so my race stats are a little out. No matter. It also meant my start was a little slow because I was distracted, but again, no matter. Once I settled in, everything was fine. I was feeling good, and I was happy. By the time we hit 1km (or rather, a little after since my app was a little behind) I was into a rhythm, and settled into a relatively quick (for me) pace of 5:23. Knowing I wouldn't be able to keep it up for a full 10km, I slowed down a smidge and kept going.
I was very happy to see that we had a little entertainment and encouragement along the way:
Excuse the blurriness - I was running sideways while snapping the second pic. I believe they found that quite amusing :-) At about the 5km mark just past Ngapipi Road was the turnaround to head back to Victoria Park and the finish line. On this journey back, I got a bit of an eyeful that made me chuckle. I saw an older man jogging along with his race shirt and number on, and the most unusual pair of bike shorts I've ever seen. The print on them made it look like he was naked from the waist down. I'll let you picture that in your head for a minute....... yep, funny :-)
By 7km I was still feeling good with a pace around 5:35, and by 8km I knew I had it in the bag. My knee was a tiny bit niggly, but nothing drastic. I finished at about the same pace, and had a wee smile when I heard my name announced (wonder if they got a photo of that?). Unfortunately, I was mucking around with my phone so I could stop the app and didn't get a good look at the timer clock, so I was unsure of my finishing time at that stage. I was also looking around for Deane and the boys, and my friends who said they would be there to cheer me on. I didn't see them.
Through the finish chute I went, grabbing some water, banana and a Powerade on the way, and dropping my timing chip into the bucket. I headed back to my gear bag and phoned Deane. Turns out T was being uncooperative, and they hadn't made it to the finish line in time to see the end of my run. Nor had my friends (one of which was sleeping off a bit of sun stroke from their fishing trip the day before). Deane had been thoughtful enough to bring me some breakfast, as I had told him I wouldn't be eating any before the race. Of course, I'd ended up eating breakfast anyway so I didn't need it, but the thought was there. After a bit of a chat with him and the boys and our late-arriving friend, they headed off home again, and I hung around for a while hoping to see a couple of friends finish their half and full marathons (unfortunately I missed both).
I headed home a bit later and had a shower, then we went across to the school where the annual Italian Festival was on, and had some lunch. By late afternoon, the results were up on the website. My official time? 59 minutes, 50 seconds. I had just scraped in under the one hour mark! Sooooo happy!!!!!!! (Official time is when the clock starts to when you cross the finish line. Net time is when you physically cross the start line to when you cross the finish line, so the net time is the one that counts). I beat last year's time by four and a half minutes!
A vast improvement on last year's experience, I don't believe that race could have gone any better. The only thing that could have made it better would've been having Deane and the boys there in time to see me finish. Oh well, there's always next year ;-) Now I'm just waiting for the race photos to be available so I can see how awful and red-faced I looked. They're probably all of me looking at my phone...
All in all, I'm very happy that my training didn't let me down, and the physiotherapy has worked. My knee held up very well, and there are no lasting effects from the longer distance. To thank my physio, I'm... (drumroll please)... knitting him a pair of socks to say thanks. I've finished one so far:
These are Escalator socks (which I thought was kinda funny, because y'know, I couldn't walk up and down stairs for a while without my knee hurting so would use the escalators whenever I could, but now I don't need to because it's all better... anway...), knit in Patons Patonyle. I'm hoping to get the other one finished over the next couple of days so I can take them with me for my (probably) last appointment.
Next, I'm going to be knitting some plain vanilla socks. I've been wanting to try some 9" circulars for a while now, so I ordered a pair last week. Some people swear by them, others hate them. I'm willing to give them a try and see how I get on. They arrived in the mail this morning, and they're quite weeny:
The tips are very short (about an inch) so the whole circular can be 9" - the average circumference (with a bit of stretch) of an adult sock (give or take half an inch or so). In comparison to my usual circulars, which have 5" tips, this should be quite a different knitting experience. Apart from some gardening I need to do, and feeding the troops of course, I have all week to conduct this experiment, so I'll let you know next post how I'm getting along.
As for this post, it's getting rather long now and I'm sure you all have things to do, so I must dash. I'll leave you with a picture of the ridiculously large amount of biscuits I baked last night, for the kids' school lunches:
They are rather yummy, if I do say so myself ;-) Right, time to go cook dinner. Have a good week!!
Edited to add: The quarter marathon was a personal best time for me - my fastest 10km at 55:55. And the photos are now available - I'm smiling, and don't actually look too bad. Much better than last year's photos, when I was trying not to pass out!!!