It’s the first of many halves………. Wellington 5th July….

Well, it’s here….. the first ever 22.1km run that I have ever attempted in my life.

Alison Gill Wellington Half 1Perhaps a little background is warranted at this stage for those that don’t know me (which is most of the people reading this blog).

I have always been active, practising martial arts, most racket sports and adore the water but running was never my thing.

For some strange reason the concept of my legs following each other taking me off in a straight line and breathing at the same time never quite seemed to work. Put me in a ring for a fight and the adrenalin would kick in and away I would go, but lace up the trainer to run and an internal groan would surface causing a retreat back to the sofa.

So, this year has been enormous so far for me and is removing my own limiting beliefs and of course the funds being raised for breast cancer are awesome.

Today is the culmination of 5 months of dragging myself out of bed at 5am to pavement pound with my mean trainer and I’m not quite sure what happened but this week has seen a major training breakthrough.

This last week we have been tapering down (gosh I sound like a proper jogger) so had two small runs on the week lead up to this 22km event. I decided not to joggity-walk and just to see how far I could run without stopping if I breathed from my belly.

I surprised myself by being able to work through the voice in my head telling me to walk for a bit and ran the entire mini 6km runs and just like Nike – I did it. My trainer of course tells me that this was totally planned 🙂

So full of confidence I head off on my very first half marathon adventure….

Plane tickets in hand, running bag packed, repacked and tripled checked. Extra pairs of everything in just in case I manage to lose something on the way (Not sure how that would happen, but hey just in case). Long suffering husband now used to my manic triple checking of potions, lotions and safety pins, lip balm and bobble hat, keeps out of the way until I flop in the car shouting READY, hurry up!

So at long last, it’s WELLINGTON.

My trainer has joined me for this event as she is running the New York Marathon for her milestone birthday later this year, so uses this as her training run. She joins her pace group which is so far ahead of mine I couldn’t see where she is even with my glasses on. I am at the back of the pack as normal but quite enjoy this space – gives me freedom to move without the unintended massage of eager elbows from others around me jostling for a spot!

Alison Gill Wellington Half 3And we are off…………and for once, Wellington has been kind to me, no major winds and the sun is breaking through. The event starts and finishes at the Stadium and is of course around the bays past the airport and beyond – spectacular.

My aim is to clearly finish the event for charity however in my mind a little voice said c’mon, you can do this in 3.5 hours. (I appreciate for you younger fitter readers this is half a day’s work and you could do this in half the time, but you are also possibly half my age!)

The views were superb as usual, the atmosphere was charged with anticipation, fun and hopeful achievement.

As a lifelong planner, I have now read hundreds of books now on running – what to do, what not to do, what to eat, what not to eat, how to combat “the wall” how to sustain pace, (still not sure what a negative split is mind!) how to maximise performance through carb and protein loading etc – it all goes out of the window in any case and I just trot along at my own comfortable pace.

I had the fortune of having a lady in front of me who also ran at my pace and so when I felt like slowing down for a mini walk, my brain wouldn’t let me as it decided it needed to keep up with her. The only trouble was, at the water stations she didn’t stop as she had a camelback on (I NEED ONE) and so I had to chase her blue top and stripy leggings to keep pace again for each 5km block.

It was only when I got to 16km did I realise that I hadn’t actually stopped at all and realised my hips actually had joints as they were starting to ache…..

Last water station in sight, quick intake of sugar and off I went for the final 5km. My unknown pace lady dropped off and I was really into the groove now with new downloaded tunes on the iPod. I really must remember not to sing out loud as having Queen on and singing ‘Fat Bottomed Girl’ may not be seen as PC these days.

I had been pacing at just over 7mins per km and after sneaky looks at my timing watch (ok, ok, at every nano second) realised there may be potential for me to do this under 3 hours. Yes, I was really going to do this!

Then darn, in the distance I saw this little trainer coming towards me…. Yes Susan the demon had finished her half marathon in less than 2 hours and decided to come back to see where I was and to make sure I crossed the line….

Not only has she doubled back a few km’s but was running with her finishers bag and laden with goodies and so made it look totally easy.

The last 800 metres was uphill and so lots of breathing going on now – legs screaming but I was a couple of minutes away and YES still tracking under 3 hours………

I spotted hubby Stuart in the distance, camera in hand and tried once again to do my best smile which of course came out like a painful grimace. Ever hopeful of a decent picture please Stuart!

And then, oh my goodness – I sped up, crossed the line (holding back silly tears) in
2 hours, 59 minutes and 08 seconds.


Alison Gill Wellington Half 2So, thank you to the lady who gave me great pace for the first 16k, not sure who you are but it was brilliant, thanks to the banana lady for instant fuel afterwards – I could have eaten a donkey at this stage, thank you to my trainer who shouted at me over the last km to make sure no walking and most of all, thank you to my long suffering husband who puts up with this madness for 2015 🙂

Happy days and now onto Taupo for 1st August.

Thanks for reading, we would be delighted if you would donate if able, to our chosen Charity The New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation – please see link below.