For a brief moment earlier in the week, I did wonder if mother nature was going to strike this event down two years running. Last year it was the first earthquake in Christchurch and this year it may have been the snow from the polar blast that hit the whole of NZ. But as luck would have it, the snow stopped and slowly melted. The wind however stayed with full vengeance. Wellington is know for its wind, so it was just a matter of how bad was it going to be.
I flew in at 8am and was surprised by how smooth the flight was...no bumps...this was a good sign! Terri came to meet me and took me back to her office block right on the water front in the Data-com (Geni) building. Perfect spot as we were on the 5th floor and over looking the whole course ... in the nice and WARMTH!!! It was cold and there was a good brisk wind when we walked over at 9am to get our race packs. It was not a gusty wind but it was enough that it would be draining and annoying. So back up to the office for a hot coffee and a good chat. Rosie joined us for a little bit and then left to go join her team mates and as Rosie left another group of walkers arrived. So we had a full office and it was so great to catch up with everyone again.
The time finally came round and it was time to head down and warm up. I had walked around the office and found that the strapping I had on my leg was pulling and tugging at my skin, so I had to adjust that and cut some of it away. My skins shorts held every thing else in place. The course was like a big Z and as I discovered....corners are not my strong point!! (mental note to self....include corners and turns into training) The course its self was dead flat with ZERO camber, as it was the built up walkway around the water front I figured it had been made level ... lol The temp was about 5 degs, so I decided to wear my thermal gloves and long sleeve skins top. I did end up getting warm but I didnt over heat.
Gun goes off and away we all race. Rozie was off like the little pocket rocket she is, following her were the U19 girls that were only doing 5km so they were off too. Following all of them was Peter Bailey, Alana and then me. We were at a very quick pace and so I just raced my own race and let them work hard in front of me. About 1.5km I passed Alana and she hang back about 10m behind me. I held this spot for a couple of Km and caught up behind Peter Bailey. I was pleased to sit in behind him as I know he is a strong fast walker and would help pull me along. But each corner or turn he would pull away by a good 5m and I would have to work hard to catch back up. We went through the 5km in 27:25 which is what I was aiming to do. Alana had caught us up and was sitting just on my shoulder. I knew she would make a break for it at 7km....I had studied her race splits from other events and its what she always does. Peter was still walking strong and steady but at 6km he just dropped off leaving me out front on my own and so I made my break....but it was too soon and I didnt have the fitness to hold it. Even though I made a 10m gap on Alana, she picked it back up over the next km. Sure enough, at 3km she made her break and with a burst of speed shot out in front of me. I just didnt have it to follow. I was at my top limit and my leg was starting to hurt alot. I had managed to ignore my leg for most of my race but the last two km were pretty hard. Peter Bailey had long dropped off and it was just between me and Alana. I was trying to figure out how I could try to pick up some pace and catch her and every time I would make up some distance - a spectator would tell her to push hard as I had gained on her....and sure enough, she would pull away again.
Last km and I tried hard to push a little to gain. The wind was just starting to pick up and was brisk down the far end. Sadly just a head wind.....you didn't catch it to gain from it on the return. We rounded the last turn and Alana punched out of the turn and was off.....100m to the finish. I went round the turn (which slowed me down) and gave chase. I pushed hard as I could to gain on her and I did gain some distance on her but not enough. I crossed the line in 56:01:19......... .... wow a PB by a minute!!! Alana was just 6 secs ahead of me.
What a fantastic race Alana gave me!!!
So now, its full steam ahead for the South Island Masters Games..............and then NZ Long Distance Walks/NZ Trial Race.
So GOLD for me as I raced as a master in the W40-44 and an unofficial 3rd open female walker.