Holy smokes, I Live in New Zealand.

Stupid Freight Train Derailment.
June 21, 2008, 10:25 pm
Filed under: Actual Travelling | Tags: , ,

So I’m running in Wellington this weekend – Half Marathon #5 (and final) on my New Zealand trip. It was to be a 12-hour train ride through the backcountry of New Zealand’s North Island.

And of course, there was a freight train derailment just past the halfway point.

We did manage to ride up the legendary Raurimu Spiral which, as Wikipedia notes, is a winding/roundabout-ish stretch of track that crosses a 135 metre change in elevation.  At the top is a “major” train station at National Park (the name of the village is actually National Park, and it is at the gateway to Tongariro National Park, the second oldest in the world).  The restaurant was chockers (CHOCKERS!) with somewhat stranded tourists.

They loaded us up on buses for 3/4 of the remaining trip, and then a 1.5 hour, speedy drop into Wellington. 

It was a great way to stay idle for the day (important if one is trying to run a sub-1:40 half marathon), but even if I was sticking around I don’t think I’d be taking the twelve-plus hour train again anytime soon.  I had already purchased a ticket for the two hour (including travel back to my room in Auckland) flight on Sunday night.


ADRA Half Marathon: Sunday 25 November (Updated – A Summary).
November 24, 2007, 9:36 pm
Filed under: Get Involved! | Tags: , , , , ,

As you were enjoying lunch yesterday, maybe shovelling snow or snuggling up in front of the fireplace, I completed my first ever half marathon.

1:48:31. 138th overall, 29th in my age group.  ADRA race results can be found here.

The ADRA Charity Run starts in the Auckland neighbourhood of Mission Bay (awesome beach and waterfront commercial strip, great eating). I’ve never done 21 kilometres before. I did 20k last Sunday in training, but got lost and then pulled my left hip flexor and walked the whole way home, so it wasn’t a pure 20k.

But it was fun. The race is run along a fantastic stretch of Waitemata Harbour, starting in Mission Bay and heading uphill into St. Helier’s, back through Mission Bay to the commercial port (turnaround at The Strand), and finally back to Mission Bay. Refreshment stations were provided along the way, although I pretended to be a serious runner and carried some gels and my own faux-Gatorade with me this time.

And a hoot it was. I somehow ended up in the front third of the pack at the start and panicked a little on the inside thinking I would be moving at far too fast a pace. But luckily all the really good runners were right up front to start, plus they didn’t draft behind me which is my weakness in terms of sticking to my plan. Which of course, didn’t stop me from drafting other runners, but I’m not a very nice person. No walk breaks – I was planning on taking four – and only one stitch (cramp in the side, which I only ever get on the right side) the entire time. And yes, I got passed a few times and passed others a few times. It made for a fun cat-and-mouse game in my own mind.

As for pacing, I have upped my running to 14-and-1s at the start (times three), cycling down to 11-and-1s approaching the finish.  And for the ones, I’ve upped the tempo to a really really really slow jog because it feels weird down here walking – nobody else does.  I prefer standing out by wearing headbands or Hawaiian shirts as opposed to taking walk breaks.  I’m weird like that.

22 and sunny, winds only really strong in a bad way between kilometres 12 through 15. Fortunately that meant kilometres 17 through 20 the wind was at my back and my legs didn’t hurt so much. Kilometer 20 to 21 though…worst feeling ever during.

But pretty awesome afterwards.

Today was a personal best distance and I think I have a pretty tough p.b. to try and match. Best of all, I can now finally take some time off from running to enjoy life and my result. Well, it’s more that putting weight on my left foot sort of prevents me from doing anything really meaningful. I’ve been watching “The Office” reruns most of the afternoon after hobbling over to Pizza Fresco for dinner.

Wonderfully successful day. Congratulatory messages always appreciated.

ADRA Half Marathon.