It's been a year since I entered a sporting event of any kind (almost to the week, the half marathon was at the start of September 2012) and I'd forgotten that jittery background of adrenaline that starts from when you wake up and keeps you going until the whistle. Driving up from south Auckland to Woodhill with decent weather, in various convoys of cars all with mountain bikes and stickers of various clubs and makes helped keep the jitters to the positive, motivating flavour rather than the "help-not-ready-eeek" variety. I have to say, driving up the steep "warm-up" hill at Woodhill past the punters to the event carpark was simultaneously gratifying and guilt-inducing, but ended up being the easiest bit of the whole day.
It was great to be at a start line with people I knew, even if I'd only met them the day before. The atmosphere was pretty relaxed, though there were a lot of superhero kids on carbon fibre 29" bikes that cost more than my car.
|Photo not on its side, the bike is
Riding the course the day before with the 'Sistas was a mixed blessing. It was good to know where on the course I was and not to lose hope on the really drudge parts, but also dispiriting to know that there was another drudge part coming. There's a steep hill at the end of a trail called "Slippery's Delight" which I ended up walking every time, and I'm determined to crack the bastard eventually! The second lap wasn't as hard as I thought it'd be (traditionally I've always hated any event involving seeing the finish line before finishing), though there was some points where I had to give myself a stern talking to about making more of an effort.
So, the goals:
- Finish in less than 2hr 30min
- I now have replacement clipless pedals after my original posharse ones disappeared, so they're going on the bike tonight before a ride out Friday afternoon. Hoping using SPDs will speed me up a bit on the hills
- I'm too good at coasting on gentle inclines and flats. After the big hills and niggly bits it's too easy to just pedal on tracks that require less effort. I had to really focus on changing up a gear or two and pushing that little bit harder. Need to work on this, possibly start with some laps at Totara on Friday
One last thing that's on my mind about the weekend. I came last. Hard. A good seven minutes behind the second last. I didn't mind, I was happy to finish and finish strong, but I know I could have done better. Being slow was never a huge deal to me when I was running. After all, at least I was out there, right? I feel a bit different about this. I feel like I need to be faster and trying harder. I don't want to be last every time. It's nice to feel more driven this time, and to see something in the sport beyond the big event...