22 Feb 2016
FINALLY!! A RACE!! I've been getting 'antsy' recently as the New Year period does not have many events. It's now been five months since the Sydney Half Marathon and the wait has been hell – I've had to spend quality time with friends and family. I have been working on my aerobic base and while I've noticed the difference, that hasn't helped my restlessness. This could explain why my passion has been creeping toward being an obsession. Wellington turned on a stunner and, for once, only a slight wind. The crowd was out and about and the atmosphere was building, even by 7am. I completed my warm-up (which involved running home when I realised I'd forgotten my GPS watch, dumbass) and joined in the fun.
Wellington Round the Bays has more of a fun and family feel to it but that didn't stop me from elbowing people out the way to get to the front of the start line. The tension was there but I had followed my pre-race routine, including a banana oat and date chia smoothie. I felt good. Following my 1h39m half marathon in Sydney, my aim today was to go below 1h35m. Anything less and I'd feel like I wasn't making enough progress. If I managed to beat 1h33m, then there was potential for a dance routine to occur at the finish line – albeit horizontally and on the ground while gasping for air.
The race started with many-a-cheer and I strode out at a comfortable pace, giving myself a kilometre or two to ease into it. Around the 7km mark I stepped on the pedal a bit and got the lungs working. I seemed to be passing more people than were passing me, which always gives me a pick-me-up. That and the drummers, chanters, volunteers and supporters who always crowd the streets to make this run better than an average Sunday morning race. I reached the halfway mark in 47.08 and I still felt fresh (relatively speaking), so I kicked away again. I tried to run on the road as much as possible as I can run on the footpath any day of the week. It made me feel kinda badass – stickin' it to the man and all that. Even though it was a calm Wellington day, there was still a bit of wind. Unfortunately most of the last 6km or so involved running straight into it. I consider the back part of a race my strength but this wind was tough right at the end. I think it was nature's way of reminding me I'm no longer in my twenties. I completed my usual negative split and gave it everything at the end, bounding past chumps who foolishly thought they were faster than me. I bet they had dairy for breakfast instead of mighty chia seeds. I ended up finishing with a time of 1.33.23. This placed me 86th overall and 31st in my division.
It has been eight months since I stopped eating meat and my half marathon time has gone from 1.43 to 1.39 as a vegetarian and now 1.33 as a vegan. This is jointly due to a new training schedule I have been on, but my bodies ability to repair itself in between training runs has significantly increased and enabled me to stick to this new schedule. This has been the greatest change in my running and it is 100% down to my vegan diet. A hard run used to provide me with a day or two of soreness and I wouldn't fully repair for three days. Now I only have a few hours of soreness and I'm about 90% repaired by the next day. This means I can run further and more often. It's exciting to see how much I have improved, but I am determined to get fitter and faster. To put things in perspective, if I want to run a 3 hour marathon I need to chop about 7 minutes off my current half marathon time. But hey, I've come this far much quicker than I anticipated, so I'm gonna keep training hard and eating delicious whole foods, and see where it takes me. I'm enjoying this challenge and I like this new “health-conscious” version of myself. It's like going to Briscoes and upgrading to the NutriBullet Pro after dealing with the original for thirty years. I do regret ordering the “hairy chicken legs” version though. Well that seems like a good note to end on, so until next time...