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This weekened was our “mini milestone” event. Mish suggested ideas such as a long run, bike, or swim; 100 burpees or doing 3 classes in a row. Lucky for me, my “mini milestone” was already in the diary for this weekend. All I had to do was show up!

Saturday was the Wellington Dragonboating Festival. For the last 8 weeks, my team has been practicing in the wet, windy, dark and cold evenings, so we were really looking forward to our first ever race day.

Team Icebreaker ready for action

The races were great fun! We came solidly third in all of our races (five boats per race) – which got us into the Corporate Social Final. We were pipped right at the end by 3 100ths of a second to come third (again, groan!) but were stoked with our Bronze medals. Not bad considering 8 weeks ago none of us had even been inside a dragonboat before!

Just a nose in it!

After the 5 races, I was SHATTERED. Harry worked out that I had burnt 585 calories. Not bad for a day on the water.

Exhausted & happy

The alarm buzzed at 6.30 again this morning (who said weekends were for sleep ins?!) and we headed over the hill to Martinborough for the Round the Vines 10km run. Seeing as my last serious run (apart from a couple of practically leisurely 5km jogs) was the 7km Round the Bays, which almost killed me, I was rather nervous about this race. I told myself to just use it as a practice event, enjoy it, run when I could, and walk if I needed. Time didn’t matter, all that did was that I got to the end – one way or another.

Jase and I before the event

It was a scorcher of a day, and the event kicked off at 10.30am. Jase and I ran the course together, and allowed ourselves stops at each water stop, of course sampling the local wines as well! It was so so hot, and whenever I could I threw a cup of water straight over my head to try and keep cool.

Sav Blanc? Don't mind if we do!

The course was absolutely stunning, we ran along flat roads, gravel trails and roads, and along grass – even between the vines. Because it was such a gorgeous day, it was a really beautiful run.

Vine running

The last 2km REALLY hurt – I could feel my hip flexors straining, and blisters forming underneath my toes. Jase helped me push on, encouraging me the whole way to the final stretch where I put on a sprint to the finish line.

We completed the run in 1 hour and 10 minutes, 16 seconds. STOKED! Considering there was a bit of stopping, a bit of wine tasting, and lots of huffing and puffing – to finish in 1hr10 was great for my first 10k. Things can only get better from here. 816 calories burnt too, thanks Harry.

Happy to have made it to the end

As a reward, we drove to the Lake Ferry hotel for a cider in the sun 🙂 Seems to be my post-race treat!

Tired, happy and with cider = win

I wonder what event I am going to find to do next? Maybe it will be in Canada – who knows!

Round the Bays – Completed! BIG TICK!

I was pretty nervous in the leadup, but I kept telling myself – you can do this, just don’t stop running, JFDI!! (Just F*CKING Do It!). In my nervous state, I didn’t read the pre-race info properly, and got to the start line a whole hour early. But in a way, this helped the nerves – I watched the half marathoners take off, and pretty quickly the park filled with the 9,000+ other 7k runners and walkers.

The half marathoners taking off

I joined in with the Les Mills warmup, and before we knew it, Amanda and I were standing at the back of the running group. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1….and then nothing. It was such a large group of people that it took another two minutes to shuffle up to the start line, and then for the first Km it was a bit of a clusterf*ck for space on the road. There were prams and walkers and kids everywhere. I had a mini freak when I thought my ipod wasnt playing my RTB playlist (which I had spent hours crafting) – in actual fact it was, but it was shuffling that playlist. So I never quite got that #1 track boom that I had planned on, but that’s ok.

Jase was standing about 500m down the road from the start and caught me getting my stride on.

The course turned and went around the bays – I chose to head on up on the footpath under the shade of the trees because the heat was already making the sweat pour off me. Pretty soon it was back onto the (closed) road and before I knew it I was at the 3km mark just around the bend. At this point I was having an argument with my mind – it was saying “why dont you just stop for a 100m walk here, catch your breath, your lungs are screaming” but I knew deep down that I couldnt stop – because I wanted that satisfaction of being able to say “I RAN THE WHOLE WAY”.

I came up to the water stop and grabbed two paper cups – managed to get two sips down to quench the horrific dry throat I had, and then poured the rest over my head. The cool, wet water really gave me an extra burst and Push It by Glee came on my ipod, I was smiling away and enjoying that I was DOING IT! Running, I was actually bloody running!

There were people out on decks spraying their hoses down on us, such a welcome relief from the heat. The Les Mills guys had super soakers at Hataitai beach and I ran into their spray. Anything to try and cool down a bit!

I got to our old apartment and I knew I was nearly there. I had run this route, this bit should be easy. But this is also where my Nike+ let me down. I knew it might not be calibrated right, but when it started counting down the last 500m (and I was still over 1k away) I knew it’s distance monitor was completely out of whack. This induced another mini freak out – because that meant that all those times when I THOUGHT I had run 5km…well….I actually hadn’t. And I had convinced myself that I could run 7km because it “was only a little more than what I have already done”. SHIT.

While this was running through my head I noticed a girl just in front of me, wearing the same top. I worked out that it was actually a girl from my work – and so I paced myself just behind her. Watching her back and seeing her DO IT, made me think – F*CK YEAH*, let’s go Leah! If she can, you can!

I reached the corner and saw Kilbirnie Park in sight. I also saw Jason standing on a bench and gave him a whoop! He said afterwards that he couldn’t believe that I was still running, and SMILING when he caught sight of me.

I picked up the pace to get to the finish line, which seemed to be ‘just down there’ – but in actual fact, felt a lot further than I expected. I rounded the corner into the park, and thought I might give it a sprint – but instead of solid grass I hit SAND (next year, I would hope they would put matting down?!) – I nearly rolled an ankle right there. It was a soft semi-sprint to the finish line, which I crossed, absolutely gasping for air.

Finish line pain

I finished the 7km route in 41minutes and 17seconds. This placed me at #2002 out of 11,000+ runners & walkers.

Still smiling

Once the breathing was under control, I removed my transponder, grabbed my free Mizone and banana and headed off to find Jase and my friends. I met up with some fellow Shrinking Violets and we share our war stories of heat, exhaustion and blisters. But damn, it felt good too.

Jane, Amanda and I

I polished off an ice cold cider (my new drink of choice) and headed home feeling very proud of myself, and looking forward to the next challenge – Round the Vines!

My Nike+ said that I ran 8.1km (which is wrong) but did show that I was pretty consistent the whole way – which is a good thing I think!

*sorry mum, but I swear A LOT in my head when I am running.

On Sunday – I am going to complete one of my goals.

I am going to RUN the entire Round the Bays.

Some people can get up and run 10k in the morning before they come to work and think nothing of it. I am not one of those people – running doesnt come naturally to me, and it has been a struggle to work my way up to this point. BUT, with the help of my Nike+, I am able to run (albiet rather slowly) an easy 5k without too much pain, huffing and puffing and huge embarrassment!

Sunday’s race is 7km – which will be the longest distance I have ever run – but I know I can do it. I feel good about it, I have practiced parts of the route at various times and all I expect of myself is to KEEP RUNNING the whole time.  I don’t care if it takes me a whole hour to get there, but I will do it.

Watch out for me – number 174!

Jase will be on hand to take photographic evidence – so stay tuned for that on Monday!

Next goal? Running the 10km Round the Vines in Martinborough on 20 March with 5 other Shrinking Violets!

1. That running on the pavement is quite different to running on the treadmill. I need to get outside more

2. That with even just the teeniest bit of wind, running at a steady pace becomes rather interesting (read: HARD)

3. That I really need new shoes/ sunglasses/ tunes on my iPod (suggestions welcome!)

4. That stopping for a 30 sec breather is ok

5. That I REALLY need to do lots more training before Round the Bays!

Stoked. Ran 5k on Sunday morning before breakfast. Check it out – I even have EVIDENCE (this is why I love Nike+. Jase was like “are you SURE you ran 5k?” – yeppers. Nike+ says so!).

(yeah ok, that dip in the middle was where I had to walk for a bit to get my breath back! I was DYING).

And what about the wind sculptures? I skipped this one totally:

And made it all the way to this one:

Hello 5k run, you snuck on up on me!

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