When picking an event to race, the first thing to look at is the previous years race photos. Are they flattering? Do they have nice backgrounds? Do the people look like they are having a good time? Are they sporting an angry red patch on their crotch?
This year is the second year in a row I have run the Auckland Marathon half marathon, it’s got to be good if you come back year after year right? It’s a great race with plenty to like, but does have it’s downsides.
CON The race is so early in the morning that you forget to put chamois cream on to your creamy white thighs.
PRO The field is always competitive. If your goal is to do your best, set your sights far ahead and compete with the best. Watch the pre-race rituals and warm ups of the elites, stand next to them on the start line and think that one day you’ll be there too.
CON You don’t have a shit show of making the podium.
PRO They give prizes for every placing in the top ten! Few races do this, so when you are not on the podium you can be looking at it holding your brand spanking new ASICS shoe bag and drink bottle. Cheyeaaaah.
PRO The race is one of the few that supports elite athletes to come and compete and gives great prize money ($2,500 for first place in the half marathon, yes please).
CON The elite standard for the ladies half marathon is 77 minutes. Fewer than ten kiwi women run under that time in any given year so your chances of missing the checkin for your free Jetstar flight to Tāmaki Makaurau are slim.
CON The race T-shirts this year were extremely small, and most people found they couldn’t wear it.
PRO Mine fits me so I don’t give a shit.
My coach suggested that I enter the Auckland Half marathon and I agreed because he had just told me about watching Peter Snell break the mile record in 1962 and it was totes #inspo so off I went and entered myself.
In the build up to this race Kevin coached me to hit the biggest mileage I’ve done so far, and I definitely felt it. 130-140km in a week is a lot of work and I have a lot of respect for anyone who is cranking out 100 mile weeks.
It was surprising how quickly my body got use to it, but my mind couldn’t quite keep the pace. There was that one awkward time that I burst in to tears in the middle of a track workout, I had no mental strength left to push myself through another rep. That’s my new intimidation tactic, bawl in front of the other harriers clubs while they are doing km reps to try and put them off.
I used the Waterfront 5km races as speed sessions and managed to take a further 35 seconds off my 5km PB in the build up. The more I dropped my mileage the better my legs felt, and I got faster and faster. Seeing your hard work start to show in race results is a great confidence builder; you know that you’re doing things right.
Because of this I was feeling good about my race, so confident in fact that I said (out loud and on social media) that I wanted to run 83.30! Because of this cockyness I wasn’t nervous at all up until I was waiting in line for the Portaloos at 6.35am, 15 minutes before the race was due to start.
I warmed up properly and did a few strides, threw my old merino top into a tree because I’m frivolous and #YOLO (sooo 2014) and went to the start line to figure out the least awkward way to do a standing Garmin start without tripping over.
The first part of the marathon and half marathon course is undulating so it’s very hard to run at an even pace. I was running about 50m behind Rachel Kingstone, someone I only briefly saw the back of at last years’ race and this time I was almost keeping up!
I was still behind her 13km in to the race when two other female runners and a guy in a Spiderman morph suit overtook me, and I just let them go ahead. I was feeling a dejected, I was not going to run 1.23.30, not even close! But the bridge was in sight. When is it not in sight? It’s 3,348ft long . At this point I resigned myself to just enjoying the race, ah well, things don’t always go to plan and you don’t always have a good run.
Hold on, I trained fucking hard for this race. I ran until I cried, I got a huge 5km PB, nailed some tough workouts, and I did my biggest ever weeks of training. You can’t let yourself down at this last challenge Amanda, don’t do that to yourself. You worked so hard up until now so dig it in and give it heaps.
I ran harder and caught up with them. One dropped off, two more in front. When someone is within sight they are a target. Always be looking ahead to see who you can pick off, it’s a race, bitch.
Wellingtonians are ace at running hills, and the Harbour Bridge is a piss poor hill, 43m? Please. I made a move and ran past the two ladies in sight and straight up the bridge, not looking back. This is the place where the photographers are stationed and the reason I picked this race, great photos!
I ran the last 5km as hard as I could, my legs were stinging with chafe, I was sniffing up boogers, spitting on the road, panting, groaning, and through all of that my lipstick stayed plastered to my face like a shining beacon of hot pink hope. I wear it in races because I think it makes me look slightly better in the pictures. It totally does…
I crossed the line in 1.25.10, a PB by three minutes on that course and I only just managed to beat Spiderman in his morph suit, who as it turns out was the same morph-suited male from last year’s race!
I sat down in the grass in Victoria Park and surveyed the damage to my inner thighs. There was blood all over my Nike Pros so it looked like I had been surfing the crimson wave and neglecting to use sanitary products. No worries guys, it’s just a bit of skinless thigh! Not only tasty but easy on your wallet (cheaper than breast) and can be baked grilled and slow cooked.
The chafe was excruciating. I waddled back to the hotel to scream in the shower while Hiro and Ayesha got ready to go to lunch. I swaggered in to the cafe and sat with my legs wide to try and stop my tights sticking in to the raw flesh. I hobbled into a pharmacy and asked for bandages, and if there was a place inside that I could pull down my pants to see if the plasters were the right size.
‘No sorry, you can’t pull your pants down in here.’
On that inhospitable note, I still think Auckland is a nice place to go to run a half marathon and I will be back again next year in the hopes that I can race with a blood-free nether region.
My run on Strava (as proof that it did actually happen)
November 12, 2016 at 9:55 pm
Great race/training report and fun to read.
Congrats on a huge PR!!
And damn girl, if I looked as good as you, even with bloody thighs, I’d want race photos taken of me, too.
November 12, 2016 at 10:13 pm
Oh thank you! Someone said to me after the race ‘You looked so strong finishing, and so colour coordinated!’ – Best compliment ever!
November 12, 2016 at 10:17 pm
Always an entertaining read Amanda, you are a crack up! Great effort and congrats on your PB. Hope you have given your thighs time to recover!
November 12, 2016 at 10:24 pm
Thank you Sue, they have healed up now but I was walking sideways for a few days. More lubrication, and more fabric on my sorts next time around.
November 13, 2016 at 3:14 am
Fantastic read mate!!! We think you are amazing!!!
November 13, 2016 at 1:31 pm
Thank you Nin 🙂
November 13, 2016 at 7:39 am
You were one of the lucky 4 instagrammers names that i used as motivation on a crumpled, piece of paper that i carried with me on my first ultra last weekend, i used it to get me through when i wanted to give up.
My chafe was bad too, I didn’t feel it to the end though as everything else hurt too much!
November 13, 2016 at 1:34 pm
Oh wow! Have you written about your ultra,I would love to read about it. You are right, everything else hurts so much that the chafe just becomes the background pain.
November 13, 2016 at 10:47 am
Congrats on the great race! Sorry about the chafe. Just proves what a badass you are – if crying during track workouts won’t intimidate your opposition, surely blood streaming down your legs mid-race will.
November 13, 2016 at 2:26 pm
Thank you, I was happy with that race. I forgot to mention that I came 5th, which was a huge deal but the chafe sort of overshadowed the feelings of elation. I like to keep the opponents guessing weather the next race will be a cryer or a bleeder.
November 14, 2016 at 5:48 am
5th is amazing! 🙂
November 21, 2016 at 7:58 pm
Cracking time and well done on the PR and 5th place. I was a lowly 25th overall (but 3rd in the first old man age group of 35-39) although I wiped 9 minutes off my time from last year and 2 minutes off my half PR with a 1:18:20. No chafe in that race although I did give myself a bleeding nipple in Queenstown on the weekend. I didn’t even run a good time, all I got was one chafed, bleeding nipple (the other one was fine though).
November 21, 2016 at 9:18 pm
9 minutes is huge, well done! I would love to be able to run under 80 minutes. I ended up getting 4th in this race as someone ahead of me was a man wearing a woman’s race number. Ka-Ching!
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