This is an event I have been waiting all year to enter again. Last year I was second women home in the Race Walking section and I was so determined to go back and win it and do a faster time.
This year was to be more of a challenge to me than I had first thought of.
1) - my training partner and very good friend was entering as a RaceWalker
2) - I had torn my calf and it has not healed
3) - I had not long recovered from 100 day cough
We had all challenged my husband, Shane, at xmas time to enter and so he had been jogging along with Yvonne and me on our long Sunday treks. Week 1 a 12km, week 2 a 16km and week 3 an 18km and then after that we shortened it back again. But 2 weeks out both Yvonne and I were injured. We had both pulled the same leg calf muscle. Both of us were hedging bets on how the race would go and as the day drew nearer the scarier it got. I just couldnt see myself being aggressive and competitive against her. I was really worried that I wouldn't be able to find my competitive edge at all.
This year the race was run on Valentines day....which is also our 6th Wedding anniversary.....a nice way to celebrate it I thought.
We drove down to Westport on Friday, stopping at the swing bridge and going over (me terrified of heights....I nearly had kittens..TWICE!!) but I lived and made it back.
We pull into Westport and find our accommodation. A lovely man had opened up his home and billeted us for the night.
5am Saturday, we awake to eat banana's and get ready only to find its RAINING!!!!! well that's better than 30 deg heat....a little....We head to the buses and get taken to the start line. Promptly dropped off at 7.30am and left as offerings to the sandflys (that were the size of house flys!!) Race start was 8.30am and the gun goes off and away went the runners. I waved and blew kisses to Shane as he jogged past to start his first ever Half Marathon. Then in a huge mix up, instead of waiting 5 mins the guy yelled out to go as walkers were getting mixed up with the runners. So off we shot. Yvonne and I flew off to a shocking pace...way too fast but neither would let up. We did out first km in 6mins 11 (and thats up hill too) and that pace continued for the first 7km. I clicked on my music at 7km and set off in the hope that I could pull away and put a small amount of space between us. I slowly pulled away...metre by metre until at the 10km mark there was a 30 mtre gap. By the 10km mark my leg was hurting terribly, I had felt it tear and the pain was awful, but the stubborn me kept pushing. In this whole time unbeknown to Shane...he was only 100m a head of me and I had been watching him the whole time. I had hoped to catch up to him just at the finish but he found a surge of energy towards the end and I lost sight of him. But the time I crossed the bridge 2km out from the township, I looked behind and thought I saw Yvonne hot on my heels (about 30 mtres behind me) and was so paniced as I was completely done and dont think I could have fought her off.
Turning at the ANZ bank has never felt soooo good. Racing towards the park and finish I was thrilled to know 100% I had won the race walk section and given a personal best time. As soon as I crossed the line it was a quick dash to the first aid station and ice on my leg for half an hour. I was there for Yvonne cheering her on and jumping for joy seeing her beat her last years time and finish too.
We stayed on for prize giving and I won .. a trophy, a pair of shoes, a rimu jewellery box and a huge bottle of bubbly. The cute wee tiger is my Valentines pressy...hehehe...still romance there.