Phil was off to the rugby in Auckland, and we had some major transport issues, so in the end I decided to make lemonade, and have a little mini Kate-cation at the Mount. We drove down on Saturday morning, in time for lunch at Wholly Bagels in Tauranga, then a short wander and a smoothie before my motel opened for check-ins at 2.
I had a bit of a rest and a read to recharge my batteries (partly pregnancy tiredness, partly laziness, pure and simple) then got dressed for a walk up the Mount. I felt a bit ridiculous with a Camelbak on when so many others were in jeans, but it was the easiest way to carry a drink, my room key and some money for later! It was my first trip UP the Mount, as every other time I've been, I've been in tri-mode with no time for leg-hurting joy trips. I'm very glad I finally went- it was absolutely lovely. The quintessential Kiwi walk, with baby lambs on the lower slopes, and lush bush and birdsong at the top. What I especially liked was the way the view changed as I made my around, from Pilot Bay and the Kaimais, to vast expanses of ocean, and then back to Main Beach, and all the holiday homes. It seems obvious, but it's not that often you get so many so different scenes in a 232 metre climb! I've missed hills, what with being knocked up and living in Cambridge, but I found I was OK as long as I went at my own pace and stopped for lots of photos (which are on my phone, whereabouts unknown, and probably rubbish anyway!)
I was bloody hungry post walk, but it was 5pm and too early for dinner, so I killed some time with a lovely shower, and some hunger pangs with an orange, before getting changed and heading out for dinner. I meandered up and down the main road a bit before realising what I wanted most was a crumbed fresh snapper from the fish n chips shop. Maybe not ideal pre-race fuel, but the sun and the sea air said "yes", and I obeyed. I took my parcel over to Pilot Bay, and sat looking at the calm sea, drinking apple juice and eating my chips, finishing just in time to walk back to my motel before it got too dark.
Had a rubbish sleep. Uncomfy bed, plus stress about daylight savings, plus tired hammies and calves which haven't worked in awhile plus trying to sleep on my left side* equals UGH. I'd been awake on and off for ages when my alarm went off at 6:00 (waaaay too early, but I was so nervous about getting the time change right that I thought "if I set it for 6:00 and that's actually 7:00, I'll still be ok!". Reluctantly dragged my stiff self up at about 6:30, ate some yucky porridge, got my room packed up, and left a little before 8 to walk to the shuttle.
The shuttle was horribly bumpy- not much fun for a slightly unsettled morning tummy or a baby bump! Arrived at registration at 8:15- with 1:45 to go before the start time. That's more time than I allow for a bloody half ironman!! Talk about over zealous shuttle timing. The race atmosphere did pump me up a bit though, and I killed a fair bit of time with bag organising, loo stops, stretching and tweeting before my preggo race buddy Alison arrived.
A couple more loo stops, a bit of shivering in the chilly showers, and a fair bit of yakking later, it was time to line up. We tried to stay far enough back, but of course there were still decent runners behind us and slow walkers in front of us- it was pretty slow across the start line, and nice not to be bothered by it for once! We didn't really have a plan or a pattern figured out. We just jogged when we felt like it, and walked when we didn't feel like it anymore! Occasionally, we'd use a milestone to guide us "let's start again at the speed limit sign", "let's keep running until the 6km market", but mostly, we just did what we felt like doing. I kept a vague eye on my HR- I found that Alison could always tell if it was sneaking up (or else she didn't ask unless she was feeling a bit more effort too!)- and kept it around the 145-150 zone (it was 149 on average, I think because the higher walking HR on the Base Track kept it up). It never felt like I was working too hard, and the k's ticked by much more quickly than they have in training, even though we were averaging over 8:00/km!
After a quick stop at Coronation Park, we hit the Base Track. My first time ever running it clockwise! We were surrounded by other walk/runners by this point, which meant quite a lot of passing back and forth as everyone's rhythms were out of sync- basically, the two of us stuck to a walk up/jog down approach, which worked pretty well. A couple of times we accidentally kept going on some slight inclines- I think our energy got the better of us a bit! I was feeling much better than I have in training, which I attribute to having company, taking longer walk breaks, cooler weather, and just having an OK day (no achy growing pains, and no morning sickness). We reached the end (closer to 11km than 12) in 1:34 or so, and it felt like we'd been out for no time at all. It was lovely finishing a race feeling fine- if a little odd!
I had a few doubts about going ahead with today. I was nervous about covering 12km after some of my recent runs, and with transport issues and a busy time at work, it all seemed too much. But I'm bloody glad I did. It reminded me that I do want to keep running/ wogging, and looking for those good days until I just can't. I'm glad to be able to say I "raced" with my future son or daughter, and I'm glad to have reminded myself that I love so many things about racing- not just the pushing hard and the PBs!