I’m training for the Rotorua ¼ Ironman in December and have been under the guidance of Coach Ray since late January.
Having put my triathlon training on hold since 2015, my fitness and endurance levels were suboptimal and I was started with a walk / run regime to get me running consistently for 20 minutes and just under 2km.
Roll forward 6 months and I’m standing at the start line for the Taupo Half Marathon. The lead-up to the half was pretty sketchy and I struggled to consistently train and complete all my set workouts.
We moved houses three times between April and July, having relocated our lives from Auckland to the Bay of Plenty. I started a new demanding leadership role and I’d battled the usual sicknesses over the winter period. Two weeks before the event I’d sliced open my foot on some stainless steel and was aware of the bundle of plasters and butterfly tape holding my foot together while waiting for the 10-second countdown. Up until today, my longest run was 10.5km and I was averaging 8km on my long programmed runs.
My big fear on half marathon day was that I just wasn’t going to be able to do it. And it was going to be wet and cold.
Taupo turned out a beautiful morning and along with 1500 other entrants, I sauntered off from the start line determined to nail my 3 race goals: keep my pace consistent, run it under 3 hours, and finish.
I found my pace and the first 10km went really well. Taupo is a beautiful place to go to regardless of what you’re doing there! At 11km I spotted the “M dot” ironman pace distances etched on the pavement which roused me a bit – my dream is to one day complete a full Ironman.
At 14km I hit a wall. My feet hurt, my cut foot hurt and my knees hurt. At 16km I made myself run 900m and then walk 100m. And at the “ding” of my Garmin watch advising me I had reached another kilometre off the top, I made myself run again.
Those last few kilometres were tough – especially running on cobblestones. However, the views across the lake were breathtaking and with the Event Centre in sight at 19km I was determined to wobble all the way home. I ran my mantra through my head “nothing is impossible to the willing mind”.
The last 400m to the finish line presented a nasty challenge of an uphill climb to the finish line and I was determined not to walk and to get my tail up there to finish my race.
I completed my second-ever half marathon (my first was in 2007). I completed it at 2:52:24 and achieved my 3 race goals – I kept my pace at 8min/km more than 80%, and I completed it in under 3 hours. And I finished!
I later discovered this was my new PB!! My 2007 attempt was 2:59:54. Oh yes!
Post-event, suffering only from very sore knees and some impressive blisters, I can only say a huge thanks to Coach Ray for setting my training targets, for all the encouragement and feedback, and for keeping things moving forward despite the logistics I’ve been juggling.
My next half is the Tauranga Half in September and I’m aiming for a sub- 2 hours 45 finish Watch this space…
– Frances Bates-Crisp
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