Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Field trip!

On Sunday, we went on a Field Trip!

I have been running occasionally with various girls from work, also training for the upcoming Auckland Half (or full) Marathon. It's been great to get motivated to get out after work, and I've gotten to know a few of the girls much better, which is great!

For those who don't know, the Auckland marathon and half marathon are on a point to point course, running from Devonport on the North Shore back into town (for the half), then out around the bays in the other direction and back into town (for the full). To do this, the runners have the privilege of running over the Auckland Harbour Bridge, which is pretty much only open to foot traffic once a year. This means that for non-North Shore dwelling Aucklanders, the first part of the course is a bit of a mystery.

So, I decided to organise a wee field trip out with some of the running group. And Phil, of course! I originally hoped to catch the ferry to Devonport (because I adore the ferry), run to Northcote, and catch the ferry back from Birkenhead, but of course the Birkenhead ferries are complete rubbish during the weekend, so that was out. Eventually, we just decided to go for the "two cars" plan.

There were 5 of us in total, and we met at Stafford Park at about 10am, then organised ourselves and drove out to Devonport. One of the girls is doing her first half, and she looked a big ill as the drive to Devonport went ON and ON. Especially since we were going the SHORT way....

I had marked up my North Shore Cycle map (thanks again Maxx, you rule!), and prepared cheat sheets for each different group, so I handed these out, garmined up, bathroom tripped, and we were off!

Now, this is where my plan started to go haywire. See, part of the reason for the field trip was to put R's mind at ease about the hills. Because the first time I did the race (in 2005), I found the hills, including The Bridge, utterly anticlimactic. Of course, I had been training with Wellington Scottish all season, had been climbing some SERIOUS hills, and was in tip-top, killer PB shape (did I mention I ran a 1:42 that time?? Oh yeah.. I guess I did. A hundred times or so...) And the second time? Oh yeah, I was running at marathon pace, so I wasn't going to notice anything but a major incline.

This time, although the hills weren't exactly on a par with Arthur's Half, they did require some effort. The thing about these hills is that none of them is hard on its, but the cumulative effect can be to tire your legs out a bit. Luckily, the downhills are pretty easy, so there's no pounding on your quads from those. I think R was a bit disheartened. Especially as the sun emerged with a vengeance. And especially since 10:30am runs are impossible to manage foodwise, so we'd all used up all of our breakfast oats! It was only a 70 minute run, but it felt much longer!

But she persevered, and we made it back to Stafford Park, feeling fabulous, and happy with our average pace of exactly 6:00 minute ks over the 12km. Once we get to that point on race day, we'll be so excited about The Bridge that we'll barely feel the next few ks, and then we'll be heading for the finish, and waving at the brave marathoners (like Andrew and Aaron) as they continue their journeys.

2(.5) weeks to go!


Britt said...

I think I'd turn around if I saw that elevation scale! Did I mention I hate hills? Oh yes, 100 million times? :)

Aaron said...

Not long to go now! Right now I don't know about brave, more what have I got myself in for...

Andrew is getting fit said...

After today's run I'm thinking "oh shit oh shit oh shit!"

I remember those hills and they took me by surprise last time. I was prepared for the bridge and found it easy. Those little hills before the bridge were very disheartening!