This is an event that I really enjoy. It is different from any other race that I enter. You don't compete against the other walkers but against the clock and yourself. You have one hour to walk as far as you can on the track (400m laps)
You enter in as per your age group. Each age group is graded and given distances to achieve to reach medals. In my age group it was 9.1 km for bronze, 9.9 for Silver and 10.7. Last year was my first time at this event and first time in front of judges. I didn't medal last year stopping 150mtrs short. So I went back this year knowing I would achieve a medal...I was just never sure which one.
With all my troubles I have had with my legs and my shoes, I was not as confident about my distance. I was so looking forward to this and knew I could do really well - if I was in good form. Do to shin and calf pain I had not been able to train as much as I would have liked and I knew it was also frustrating my coach, who had given me a program to follow and I had been pretty much unable to do any of it.
We travelled down on Saturday afternoon and spent the last part of the day shopping at the Riccerton Mall. Heading back to the motel and settling in for the night. Awaking to an overcast day was a relief. It wasn't raining but it was not cold either.
As per usual in my nervousness we arrived about 30mins before anyone else did, so I had the track to my self and so made use of it for some calm time.
It didn't take long for the other 16 walkers to turn up....for many of us its a great catch up time and alot of friendly banter was being made and a fun atmosphere is created.
Shane was to be my and Stephens lap scorer and he settled in with his chair and spot on the side line.
With out much adieu the race was started and away we all went. The front group broke away quickly and made a size able gap by the first 3 laps. I had basically decided to find a pace and stick with it. I had programed my GPS with the silver lap times and did stay on track for the first 8 laps but with two cards from judges and then two marks on the DQ board....I slowed dramatically and really struggled mentally for a good 7 laps. But a few pep talks from Stephen as he lapped me helped me along and I picked it back up towards the end. When the horn blew we all stopped dead and I nearly fell flat on my nose.
The markers came round and measured where we had stopped and I new then I had won the bronze....BUT....I still had a very anxious wait for all the judging slips to come in as one more mark would see me DQ'd and I so didn't want that.
The best surprise of the day was Stephen winning the Trophy for walking the furthest and also him winning the judges pick on best style, plus he also won a bronze for the distance walked in his age group - 10.7km
On the way home Shane suggested we swing past Hamner Springs and soak in the hot pools for a couple of hours.........even though it was really crowded...I really enjoyed it and my muscles did too.
Photo is of me and Stephen(My Coach) and our winnings.
Thursday, April 02, 2009
Sunday Morning came around too fast. After spending a wonderful day strolling the streets of Wellington on Saturday with crystal clear blue skys. It was sad to wake up to a light breeze at 6am. My plan today was to keep the younger competitor behind me as I was overly confident that age and experience would see me through and that she in her youth wouldnt have the stamina to carry her through...........You know...there are many times I should just keep those thoughts to myself!!! lol
The course was an interesting one. Walking around the top most part of the westpac stadium (under cover) then out across the walk way that goes down to the trains. A 2km lap all on concrete. Which I thought .. YES!! this will be a breeze, nice and flat and fast. Man was I way wrong.
We all line up for the start. I had programmed my GPS watch to beep at time splits not distance and was all geared up for my 20km pace. The gun goes off and away we went. I was most pleased to have the younger one behind me. But as we came back in doors after going out and around for our first lap, I realised we were going way too fast. Infact my watch didnt beep til 40 mt past the start/finish line!! as we came round again the young one started chatting to me and I also noticed she was getting warnings for bent knees. Me being me, I offered her some advise and said "keep your toes up" but she didnt listen. At the 5km mark I knew there was no way I could keep this pace up for another 15km and said to her...if you want to do the 3k track pace go for it!! to which she replied - "I intend to and will catch my mate" and away she went. My stratigy for doing that was this......she was not going to slow down so by going faster she was getting more warnigns and risked being DQ'd.
She put a large gap between us and by the 9km mark my body was screaming. My hips hurt, my knee was swelling and it felt like I had broken toes. With the knowledge that the young one had the bronze, I was going to pull out at the 10km mark. The wind was picking up making walking very hard and I was struggling to keep my form. As I came under cover for the 10km lap, I looked at the DQ board and saw that she had been pulled off the track - DQ'd. But that I had 2 marks on the board too. So to win the bronze I had to keep going for another 10km and not get 1 more mark on the board. After a stern talking to my self, I continued on and battled the wind, the judges, my body and my mind. The last lap took forever to get round, with every inch of my body complaining. I crossed the finish in 2 hours 10mins ( not the 2 hours and 3 mins we had planned) but I had finished and had no more marks giving me the Bronze Medal. Both of the top women walkers didnt post great times and everyone was saying how hard the surface was to walk on...so it wasnt just me.
It was then a huge panic to get back to the motel, then to the track for medal presentaion. Which ran late and we had to hurry it up as we had booked a taxi to the airport at 1.15pm as both of us had planes to catch at 2pm. We made it to the airport with 2 mins to spare.
I had the most amazing time away. I was thrilled that the walking groups all knew who I was and had been following my progress too. They are a great bunch of competitors all offer advise freely and all so friendly and helpfull.
Here is the 20km Open Women recieving their medals. Rachel, Michelle and Me.
26 March 2009 - Myself and my coach travelled across to Wellington along with many other Nelson Athletes to compete at the NZ Nationals. We all represented Tasman Centre. For our track walk we had to first qualify to be able to enter and as luck would have it both my self and stephen did at the NZ Masters.
Wellington put on a gloreous day - by Wellington standards. Sunny but windy!! I was very nervious entering this as it is my first time competing in the Open class. So I was up against women half my age and size.
The gun goes off and all my plans go out the window as I get caught up with the first bunch. Sadly for me the first bunch seem to just steam away from me as if I was walking backwards but I was the leader of the next bunch of ladies. After 3 laps I settled into a steady pace with 3 competitors hard on my heels. Eventually the group made a break past me but did so in the group of three. I couldnt follow as they stayed two wide so I couldnt get past with out going 3 lanes wide. They were also working together and helping the middle girl (who I found out later was in the Open Women and not Under 19's) As I rounded the last lap (7.5 in total) I decided to give chase to the girl who had passed me as her group had carried on and left her behind. She was 40mt ahead of me and I picked up pace 100mt from the finish. I almost caught her as we went across the finish line. She beat me by 1 sec!! So I came 5th in the Open Women.
I had expected to do 17min and 20 secs but was most surprized to see I had finished 17min flat. That is 27 secs better than my best time. So I am thrilled with that.
My coach was just thrilled and was busy calculating my new training pace for the next couple of months.