Although I wasn’t that keen to get up at 4.30am when my alarm went off, I quickly got ready and we were on the road to the city. I ate breakfast in the car, then we caught the ferry across to Devonport with lots of other runners. I was pleased to have the triathlete along with me for company, and also to carry my gear for afterwards!
Being in Devonport nice and early meant we were able to spot a short portaloo queue and even take a few photos. Although it was still dark when we arrived at Devonport, the sun quickly rose although thankfully with a reasonable amount of cloud cover. Last year was really hot and I was expecting another hot day.
I placed myself between the 1:50 and 2:00 pacers and was all set to go. With five minutes to go, my watch was connected to satellites. When the start hooter went off, it was no longer connected! I panicked a little then decided I had no choice but to start. I left it trying to connect for the first two kilometres, but with no success I turned the GPS off and started a normal timer (one flaw to this watch is that you can only start it with GPS – or then once you have changed settings!).
Training on the course really helped in the first 5km, I knew the hills and had no trouble running them. I was uncertain about pace but felt I was keeping calm and steady. Due to the heat I took water at each of the aid stations and slowed down to a walk to make sure I got enough water in! It felt like no time before we hit the motorway and started the hot slog to town. I still felt good at this point, taking a gel and plenty of water but was struggling to do the maths to guess at my pace.
Just like last year I was determined to make it up the bridge and I did! Another runner fell into step beside me, at the top I turned and smiled, thanking him for keeping me going. After the bridge my day literally went downhill. Every step was sending shooting pain through my feet, which hadn’t occurred at all during training, and the heat also started to get to me. It was about this point that the 2:00 hour pacer passed me and ran off into the distance. I took plenty of water at the 16km mark and knew I would be run-walking the rest. While I was far more prepared this time than in the past, I felt relatively at peace knowing I wasn’t going to get my goal. I decided to just suck it up get through the rest, knowing I have put in the work this year and will be able to keep it going until I get my goal.
There was plenty of supporters around the Westhaven area, including my wonderful TempoFit buddies! It was such a boost having them cheer, and I gave a big wave as I passed. I heard a few other runners say “which one is Michelle?” as the cheering started, so I threw my arms up for a big air pump. Between the cheering station and the finish I saw four different runners being helped, who were all looking in quite bad states. The triathlete ended up helping with two different runners which meant I was left at the finish for a bit!
My final time was 2:08 – five minutes slower than last year, and 6 minutes slower than Rotorua in May. I didn’t feel like this was a fair reflection of what I was trained and ready for, and was pretty gutted to go into work on Monday knowing I would have to tell everyone I hadn’t achieved my goal.
But, after enjoying my Snickers bar on the couch at home, I started googling for my next attempt. Whenuapai in late March or Huntly in late May is the next decision!