My Romance With Running

Stories about running


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Wellington Road Champs

The course is crap! It sucks! Hilly, out and back out and back, just a 2km loop. IN WAINUI! They have like, NO decent cafes in Wainui.

The Wellington Road running champs are held on a back road in the back of the back of nowhere every year in mid-August. This is an Athletics NZ race between the local clubs, and unlike Round The Bays or the Wellington Marathon this 10km race is small but it is fierce and the competition is a lot tougher.

Having just spent a month on holiday, then a few weeks just not training properly I had low expectations for this race. I bought myself a very large donut from Flight Coffee on my way out to Wainui and  I promised myself that if I came in the top five that I could eat the donut. It was almost the size of my hand, iced with chocolate on one side and icing on the other. It smelled good, it looked good, and I needed to earn it.

I warmed up for the race, realised I’d forgotten my timing chip among other things so rectified that and jogged over to the start line, putting myself next to Michelle Van Looy who had hickies all over her back, it was her anniversary she explained (It was needling :P).

The race started and Nicole Mitchell went off to run a solo race while seven or eight of us formed a little pod of 40-41 minute dolphins and chased and paced and ‘eeeeahahahehed’ each other up and down the course. The first kilometre is slightly uphill, then you go back down, so it’s a good 15 seconds difference in each lap for most people.

Photo bought to you by Sharon Wray, legs bought to you by Scottish Harriers

Photo bought to you by Sharon Wray, legs bought to you by Scottish Harriers

It’s a great course in that you can see exactly what place you are and wave at the leading ladies as you try not to get lapped by them. You can see who is strong on the up and down hill sections and bank this to use in the final lap. It’s also great for spectators who yell little bits of advice as you come past ‘Stay on them, speed up, don’t let her go’.

The dolphins started to drift apart around 6km in and I, being a social dolphin, stayed with the little pack because there is safety in numbers and I always worry about blowing up and not being able to finish. 1500m from the end I thought to myself, ‘This is a race Amanda, why are you being conservative, just race it!’ So I ran a little bit harder, managed to get ahead of the pod and move up four or so placings, I locked eyes on Lindsay who is the least donut-looking person I know but in that moment she became the target, the goal, the delicious baked good with two kinds of glazed icing rolling down the road in front of me. I managed to come in to finish in 5th place by only one second. The donut was mine.

Andrea thinks I’m a donut too

I improved my time ever so slightly from my last 10km race and ran 40.49 so panted and stumbled around the finish line telling anyone who would listen, limping slightly, and grinning about the baking I was going to eat. Full results are here!

Ayesha and Me

We stayed on to watch the men’s race, but they ran too fast for me to know what was going on or who was who except at the end when I thought Nick Horspool was smiling cheerfully as he went down the finishing chute to take the win. When I look back at the photos it was a bit of an Anthony Hopkins in the Shining smile rather than a happy smile. This tells me that we all do look super atheltic and awesome and happy when we run (in real life) and it’s just the photos that make everyone look murderous.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Donut
  • 14 second PB!
  • Battle scar
  • I BEAT CARL
  • Going to nationals this weekend

    How will I colour coordinate stained Nikes? 😭

    *If I had come sixth I would have still eaten the donut but would have salted it with my tears before consuming.


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Running in Vietnam – Hoi An & HCMC

Hôi An is a lot smaller than Hanoi with a population of 120,000 it’s about the size of Dunedin. Hanoi had 7 million people and about 5 million god dam scooters so arriving in the relative peace of Hôi An gave me the opportunity to re-prioritise; to stop eating three ice creams a day and start doing some training.

The day after we arrived it was raining and not so hot so I went for my ‘long run’ out to the beach, Ben was in tow riding a faded green bicycle named Martin (Said in a Spanish accent) who protested the entire way.

Benjamiin and Martiin

Benjamiin and Martiin

It was a lot easier to run here without battling crowds, scooters, rickshaws, the pungent leaky bum-like smell of durian mixed with authentic human poo and wee and a heavy helping of trash and exhaust fumes like you have to in Hanoi. In Hôi An you can run along the canals or near the beach, the main roads are well use to cyclists ambling along so a runner is not a problem! It’s very flat here which can get boring, but when its 28-35 degrees I doubt that I would have enjoyed hills very much.

Yay I done running

Yay I done running

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This waterway wasn’t obviously polluted, zero corpses!

I loved running alongside the fields here, this is why!

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Two little dogs followed us along most of this path, aside from the trash it’s pretty idyllic

I attempted a speed session at the hotel on the treadmill. She’ll be right, no air con no worries. What a fool. I managed 5x 1km repeats at a 4.29min/km pace and I was struggling to hit that! Pooh pooh. Struggling so much my iPhone got carried away playing Daft Punk trying to haul my ass faster and faster and hit the deck and flew out into the gym equipment across the room. Struggling so much that there was not a dry place on my whole body, I have never been so sweaty in my life (This was true at that point, it got worse later).

That's me in the conical hat cleaning the river while watching a girl in orange shorts run by

Look closely see if you can spot me! CLUE- I’m wearing a conical hat

I managed one 20km run here, I stopped around every 5km with my scooter support vehicle for water and had a gel at about 16km which gave me a huge boost otherwise I would have jumped on the back of the scooter for a ride home. I was sweating so much that my shorts were constantly dripping on to the back of my calves, have you ever felt that? No? Oh it’s lovely you should try it.

That face you make when you thought you would die but you pulled through and you're still alive for Season 6 #JonSnow

That face you make when everybody you thought you would die but you pulled through and you’re still alive for Season 6 #JonSnow #TheNightsWatchCanGoDie

We went to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) after leaving Hoi An. I’ll call it HCMC because that is more insta-friendly and acronyms make you look like you know things. I got up at 5am to join the Run Club VN running group on a 15km run. I got utterly lost on the way there but thankfully as it’s daylight at 5.15 there are heaps of people to help with directions! I ran with a local Architect named Hung and an expat Swede named Chris. With their help we got lost again and I got to learn from locals about HCMC and what it’s like to run here.

I was excited

We just met each other, lead me in to the depths of Saigon and across a motorway in peak traffic after escaping from a stray dog, it will be fun!

Running in Vietnam has made me realise that while holidays in hot places are nice, running in hot places is a bad time. I would much rather run where humans don’t like to go, where it’s too cold, too windy and too steep. Where you won’t hear the sound of another person much less the commuting of tens of thousands. I really appreciate how clean the air is in New Zealand, and that to get soaked on a run you need to jump in to a body of water and can’t rely on litres of your own perspiration for that ‘just showered’ look. I am really looking forward to cold weather running; mistaking my nipples for wine gums, being sprayed by huge grey surf, having numb fingers and a numb arse and only smelling something even mildly fecal when being crop dusted on a pack run.


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Running in Vietnam- Sa Pa

Sa Pa is in Northern Vietnam in Láo Cai, the highest mountain in Vietnam is here – Fansipan at 3143m. It is also the location of the Vietnam Mountain Marathon, which from my research is perhaps the only trail race in Vietnam (yet!).

We caught a sleeper bus to Sa Pa from Hanoi, named ‘sleeper’ for the reclining seats that should make it easier to sleep. Not conducive to sleep for the constant tooting, the smoking bus driver, the not-properly-washed backpackers and the 36 degree temperatures. With the aid of snapchat and sleeping pills we made it to Sa Pa at 6am on what day I don’t really care to remember and checked in to a hotel with a view of the mountains. 

View from the hotel

 

I used Strava to search segments nearby and could see where other people had run here, this was a huge help! I Scootered down to the Sa Pa Athletics Track which was busy with several soccer games happening and had a crack at a speed session.

I wanted to do 1km repeats but dropped it down to 500m because I’m on holiday and its 28 degrees AND Sa Pa is at about 1500m elevation. Three excuses is enough without adding that it was my Birthday that day and I should be sitting down to one of several cakes.

  

Two local boys chased me around the track, they could run better than I could. I managed to run in to (or over?) a small child in the last hundred metres of my fourth rep and he flew across a couple of lanes and rolled in to the dirt. I picked him up off the ground and he looked like he was about to cry. Everyone was staring at me mutely while the boy sulked and I felt like a monster so I called it a day and ran away from the scene, at pace.

Look at that stride and how freely he runs while I look like a caricature

 

I did one short trail run in Sa Pa, there is an unmarked road of sorts just near the Athletics Track. The road starts out as the kind you could drive a car down then turns in to a goat track, with little brown and black goats on it, that isn’t a figure of speech.

   

I got quite lost on this run but it was so much fun! People will wave you back towards the road if you make the right confused expressions at them. Enough chat just look at some of the photos I took on my run.   

    

the inevitable ruin of the pretty Zoom Pegasus

 I will be back to run in Sa Pa, with more research on where to run, more time, less food poisoning and perhaps coming at another time of year as July and August are the hottest months here.


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Running in Vietnam- Ha Noi

Taking a three and a half week holiday from work; glorious! Taking a three and a half week holiday from running; terrifying.

I knew when we planned this trip that I would be able to squeeze in a few runs, and doing my favourite thing while travelling has been an challenging and rewarding experience so far.  

Our first destination was Hanoi, a city of seven million people in the North of Vietnam. Our hotel was near Hoàn Kiém Lake, and it turns out this is a hugely popular spot for the locals doing their morning exercise. From 5am (likely even earlier) the path around the lake was packed.

Before my run, 5.45am and 28 degrees C

 
I aimed to go for a 6km run but cut it short because I was sweating more than I do I hot yoga (which is litres) and breathing like I was running 400m sprints.  

I am sharing this so you know how hot I am (in temperature and also sexiness)

 Most people that were running just ran on the roads because of how crowded it was. You wouldn’t do this in the day or night time though because the traffic is chaotic and you would become a speed bump for the scooters.

 
There were a few groups that looked VERY vaguely like the Vietnamese version of Les Mills BodyJam classes happening around the lake including this one, it was brilliant, perfect for a warm down.

After uploading my run to Strava I saw that I was a good 30 seconds behind the course record for a lap of Hoàn Kiém. Like any Strava addict I went back the next day and ran it faster so I could claim it for myself, take that other Strava tourist. 

I look like I really enjoyed that, right?

  

The lake and surrounding foliage

 

Because we were off to Sa Pa that night, and sharing the sleeper bus with other travellers I thought I should be considerate and attempt to clean my horrifically sweaty running gear. Ben I swear I didn’t use your toothbrush for this…  

Ha Noi was really hot, very polluted and very dirty. It was cool to get outside and see how the people who live here exercise but not a very pleasant experience. If I lived here I would definitely opt for the group fitness classes, or perhaps become a Xích lô (rickshaw) driver. Anything to avoid all the treadmill time!


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Wellington Marathon 10km 2015

Last Sunday was the 30th Annual Wellington Marathon. The course follows the waterfront and starts and ends at Westpac Stadium (UP A RAMP!).

I went to the start line early so I could see my friend and training buddy Ayesha set out for the half marathon, see the short video above for my awkward squeaky cheer.

For my own race I had a goal of sub 40 minutes, it didn’t seem unrealistic but it was a lot faster than my previous personal best of 42.10.

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Pre-race Kewpie pose

I lined up at the start back a few rows and sized up the competition. You can never tell how fast people are when you’re just standing there, skinny people might just be skinny and not fast, you really have to know someone to pick their ability. I assumed (safely, very safely, did I mention I made a massive correct assumptive assumption) that the two girls standing stiffly at the front of the start line wearing enormous Beats by Dre headphones and adjusting their ipod arm bands would not be in front of me after the gun went. Several nipple-high kids were also lined up across front waiting for their 200 metres of glory. Had I not been feeling so chipper I would have willed them to be trampled; kids on the start line are a hazard.

I thought that I should try to stick with Gabby (lol Amanda, lol) but changed that plan after about 400m and just ran. The first 2km were a bit too fast at 3.50 pace then I struggled to hit 4 minutes after that. I ran with Haleigh until the 5km mark where she left me behind to run in to second place. I was in fourth which is good by my standards so just tried to keep going fast enough that I wasn’t losing places or looking unco in front of the GIANT SCREEN that played a live feed of the runners. Was this really necessary in the final 1500m? I looked horrific. I ended up passing the colour-coordinated Alice (who will be an awesome training partner this summer) and coming home third in 41.03. Full results of the race here.

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Hi my name is legs

What I learned from this race;

  • When short shorts get too lose they disappear in to your crack
  • Less clothing is more when you are running shorter distances
  • Wind can make or break your time
  • Ruby Muir is a tank
  • Seeing your friend cheer for you makes you go so much faster, cheers Larna, Sophie, Ben and Karin
  • I WILL NEVER BE SATISFIED WITH MY TIME!

I have been training pretty solidly since March when I was allowed to run again, and have just got out of the ‘building’ phase and started training that includes more speed work. I don’t think I had done enough to be able to pace myself through a good 10km race. It’s a lot different to running a half marathon where you can relax enough in to it to cruise along and talk, and not like a 5km when your lungs explode the whole way. It’s somewhere in the middle and I’m not use to it at all!

There is a huge difference between a 4.15 pace and a 4 minute pace. The closer you get to that threshold the harder you have to work for every second. When the wind is against you that extra 5 seconds per km pushing you back has a big impact.

I’m off to Vietnam for a month and will try to stay fit there so I can get closer to 40 in the Wellington Road Champs in August. I forsee a lot of treadmills or midnight runs happening in the next month.

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Scottish team mate Dorota


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50 Shades of Chafe

During my long run one Sunday we (me and my all Girl Power running posse) talked about how sometimes we get tooted at, yelled and whistled at by men when we are out on training runs. I personally don’t get this often, because when I run my face looks like this;

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You do not whistle at this face, motherfucker.

I often wonder what men’s intentions are when they interrupt a woman’s run to express what I did assume was their appreciation for what awesome runners we are. What exactly are they trying to achieve with that wolf whistle? What would their ideal outcome be from the sleazy phrases yelled from their vehicles as they speed past? I’ll tell you what they would LOVE to happen as a result of that cat call, because I’ve had hundreds of kilometres to dream up this fantasy.

Get your chamois cream and some tissues, this is going to be titillating.


 FIFTY SHADES OF CHAFE

Scene 1: The Esplanade

She had been running for almost two hours. The sky was blooming from a dusky purple into shades of orange and pink as the sun painted the road with a shimmering gold, making the icy rain of the early morning seem a world away. Two hours of feet pounding the roads, thinking about the pain in her turgid thighs, about why she was training and why finishing this run was so important in achieving her goals. Two hours on the grind sweating, hungry and fatigued, just 40 minutes to go.

Right now she wanted nothing more than some cold water, a hot shower, three large stuffed crust pizzas and a guy in a patchy grey Toyota van to yell ‘Hey ya wee skank, nice ass! Come and run over here!’

IMG_1939 She really enjoyed being thought of as a sex object by complete strangers. She thought it strange when people did not whistle at her, or comment on how much they would like to smack dat as she ran past. Her wish was granted. He rounded the corner and saw her running ahead of him. Ponytail swinging in a way that didn’t specifically say ‘Fuck off, I’m running and I don’t care about anything you have to say.’ He saw the chance for romance and yelled at the beautiful stranger.

His wolf whistle cut through the air like the the hem of a pair of Canterbury rugby shorts through an inner thigh that someone forgot to coat in chamois cream. ‘Hey ya wee skank!’ She turned her head, her sweaty ponytail whipping in to her eyes and blinding her for a moment,Hark, I see a voice! Now will I to the curb and I can see my knight in shining Japanese Import.’ IMG_1940 What a dream come true! All those hours of training outside with the goal that someone would drive past and deem her worthy of a whistle were worth it. ‘Where does this gentleman live?‘ she asked him. She carefully listened to him recite his street over the rumble of his deteriorating exhaust and changed course to finish the run at the home of her new love interest.


Scene 2: The doorstep

She bounded up the front path, which unfortunately for her consisted of 250 stairs (the story is set in Wellington) and collapsed quivering and dripping in to his waiting arms on the doorstep. Their eyes met, both sets of them very bloodshot but for entirely different reasons. She had needed to poo for about an hour so ran past him inside to destroy his bathroom while he rolled a durrie on the porch. She emerged from the bathroom, having pulled her underwear out of the crevasse it had firmly wedged itself in at the 12th kilometre on her run, she was ready for anything. A bead of sweat tickled down her neck with anticipation, and stopped in when it reached the rest of the crusted up salty sweat that had formed alluring white lines on her collar bone.

She traced a sticky Gu covered finger across his undefined jaw line and chins and over his lips, letting him taste the Chocolate Outrage. She hoped that this would give him the stamina to endure what was about to happen. He moaned softly and screwed up his face at the taste of the Gu, but wasn’t deterred, and lead his sore and salty friend in to the house, and in to his bedroom.

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Love potion


Scene 3: Toyota Man’s Bedroom

The smell that seeped out of the room when he opened his bedroom door was rancid, but thankfully after running 25 kms the only thing she could smell was her armpits. He pulled her towards him and kissed her passionately, underneath the Performance Car Magazine centre folds that adorned the walls. She bit his lip, not playfully, but really hard because she was fucking hungry and there was nothing to eat in the entire house (she looked after she had desecrated the bathroom).

‘Why does he have such an unnerving effect on me? She wondered. His over-whelmingly plain looks maybe? The way his eyes seem to look at me as a piece of ass rather than an athlete? The way he can roll a ciggie while driving and steer with his knees?’

He sat back on his sheetless bed to watch her undress. She unlaced her shoes and peeled off her socks, slowly so that the toenail that was about to fall off didn’t get caught and tear off. She ran her fingers along the edge of her shorts, and with one swift motion slipped them off, twisted them in her hands and wrung the sweat out of them on to his carpet. Throwing the shorts at his face so that he couldn’t see, she then started to remove her sweaty crop top.

The Chastity Crop by ADIDAS

The Chastity Crop by ADIDAS

Fifteen minutes and several increasingly limp cigarettes later, he watched her with fascination as she struggled to get the crop top over her shoulders and boobs and off over her head. He stepped in to help, and on the count of three he pulled and flung backwards on to the bed, crop top in hand and a fresh wave of armpit smell in his nostrils.

She stood before him, letting him take in every inch of her athletic body, from her messy hair that hadn’t yet had it’s weekly brushing, to her the tips of her mostly intact pretty red toenails. “Did my heart love till now? Forswear it, sight! For I ne’er saw true beauty till this night.” She painfully hobbled towards him, in a sexy way (pain is sexy in this story) and together they collapsed on to the bed in a smelly embrace.


Scene 4: Stuffed and with extra sausage

The tightness in her hamstrings meant that the options for love-making positions would be limited. He purred at her trying to imitate the engine of his Toyota; the vehicle for their love. Her stomach growled back at him and her eyes glinted with the murderous shine of a fitness freak who has been deprived of food for too long.

There was a sudden knock at the door. She grabbed one of the five well worn Pantera t-shirts from the floor to preserve her modesty (and mask the sweaty smell) and tip-toed towards the door. The front door swung open and there with the sun beaming in on him just like the moment Simba is thrust in to the sunrise by Rafiki in front of the Lions at Pride Rock, stood the Pizza delivery boy. The three stuffed-crust pizzas had arrived! Simba-Rafiki-the-lion-king-25952753-800-400 She was in ecstasy. The warmth of the pizza enveloped her, the smell made her hungry for more. She nibbled the edge of a succulent oily slice, then devoured it all with ferocity, barely stopping to breathe, and losing sense of time and space. For those fifteen minutes it was like time stood still, and the only things that existed in the universe were those three pizzas and her.  After she had finished she lay on the carpet, panting, with strings of chizz dangling from her lips and chin.

This could not have ended any better, she swore on her Nike Zoom Pegasus shoes that from this day forth she would ALWAYS reciprocate the affections of Men that yelled to her from their vans, because they probably had raging run boners too.


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There is no such race as a non-race

Word of advice, don’t enter a race with the idea that you are ‘not going to race it’.

You’re either bitching out and making an excuse to go slow, or you are a delusional post-injury runner who thinks that they learned something from seven months off and will take things easy now.

THE NON-RACE

Turn up to the Scottish Waterfront 5km race with the idea that you will be a supporter. You’re the Captain of the women’s team now so you need to be present, and clapping, and smiley. Pay $8 for the entry, to you know, give the club some extra cash because you are such a good person.

You’re going to be sensible today, you didn’t do the 16km that was on your training plan because you are still getting over the horrendous cold that put you out of action for two weeks. (The cold that lasted for two weeks because you kept trying to run before you were better, and running in the rain, and just being an idiot in general).

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A demonstration of my new and improved running form after two sick weeks

Oh look, you’re already in your running gear! Co-inkydink? I think not. Let’s just jog it you say to yourself, you can feel your eye twitch because you know you’re lying. Coach Kevin says that if you must run, it is best to run with the 25 minute plus group so that you aren’t tempted to race.

With each minute that passes before the start time you adjust your goal pace to be a second faster, arriving at a still quite sensible pace of 4.45 per km. Sensible for the runner recovering from a chest cough, green snot and stress fracture? Yeah sure!

You don’t warm up because you don’t need to before this non-race, because you are going to jog it.

This is the sort of logic you are using

This is the sort of logic you are using

Set the scene: You are standing amongst a gangle of 17 year old boys at the start line. Lanky awkward boys who look built for running because they haven’t discovered beer yet. All wear size 12+ shoes that none have ever learned to tie properly. One minute to go until the start time. One of the lankies starts to count down from fif-ty-nine, fif-ty-eight, fif-ty-seven, thankfully his voice breaks in to a high pitched squeal and he stops the countdown.

Up until someone says Go, you have made good decisions.  That magic word go. The ‘Go on throw caution to the wind!’ kind of Go. Go NUTS.

Upon hearing GO! we all speed off through the first kilometre, weaving through meandering crowds on the Wellington waterfront. The plan of doing the sensible 4.45 pace isn’t 4.45, it’s 4.20. That is still ok you think, I can hold this pace, it’s still cruising…

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Views on course of the Scottish Waterfront 5km race

The lankies start to fade after five minutes. You stick to an even pace and cruise past them, making sure to run as close as possible up behind them to let them know that you make angry breathing noises when you run fast. This is where it becomes hard to stick to an even pace, not physically, mentally. In front of you are 12 more lankies, clomping size twelves along the pavement and fading fast. All have targets on their backs, ‘Hey there, if you speed up to 4.05 you can pass me! If you do an even 4minute you’ll pass me too! Faster faster faster!

Your ego takes control of your legs and you now have tunnel vision where you can only see targets ahead and nothing. Else. Matters. You hear Hinano’s voice in your head ‘Run with your balls!’ Balls to the wall, you give it 110%.

The familiar feeling creeps in, the lactic acid in your quads, the spit gathers at the corners of your mouth, you drive hard for the finish line and with a final burst of speed make it past the orange cones. You sit on the ground heaving and panting for a split second before realising that you jogged that race. So you stand up, breathe normally, and walk calmly over to talk to Coach Kevin about your future jogging plans.

My final time for the 5km was 21.17, a good 100 seconds off my PB but because I ran down all those stinky teenagers and I feel like it was a good run. An ego boosting run. I have been back in to running for two months now after seven months off so anything is a win!


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The original running buddy

Ten years ago (gulp) I was embarking on my final year of high school. I set clear goals for my exams during the year, and a few for ‘Where I see myself in ten years time’. The only one of the long term goals I remembered was ‘I want to have a dog’.

I do have a dog, her name is Ellie and she was my very first running companion.

Me and my main girl

Me and my main girl

When your human siblings turn you down, the family dog will never decline the opportunity for an adventure. Off down the dusty gravel lane we would go, past the wool shed with it’s exciting smorgasbord of poo smells, climbing over wooden gates, (or squeezing through wire fences) scattering sheep, re-capturing escaped lambs, rolling in fragrant dead ones, and running all the way out to the concrete bridge. Conveniently located at the bottom of a large hill, this bridge signified the halfway point and an opportunity for one of us to jump in the creek to then sprinkle the other with a cool refreshing mist.

When the urge to explore took over (or we thought we saw a possum) we would run past the bridge off the road and up a hill, along the tiny single tracks worn away by sheep plodding in single file, through matagouri and red tussocks and stop to take it in. Sitting there, tongues out and panting we’d take in the everything and the nothingness that is the Northern Southland landscape. I remember thinking ‘It’s just me here, wow’ as I looked across ploughed fields, and steep tussocked hill faces that stretch to the pinnacle of rocks; beyond the skyline would be another farm with more hills to explore. At that moment it was just Ellie and me; no traffic, no people, the only interruption an unenthusiastic solo ‘Baaaaah’ from an old ewe.

Nokomai Station 4WD Safari

(Photo taken from Nokomai Station- By Shellie Evans)

This is the moment when I think I started to love running. Although I didn’t run regularly again for another 6 years, that feeling is the same now as it was then.

Ellie is getting old now, and can’t run because of her arthritis. She got really sick six months ago and couldn’t go to the toilet, it was around the same time I had a stress fracture in my pelvis (from running). At the time the thought of losing the ability to run and losing my doggy friend was a bit overwhelming. When Mum txt me to say that the dog had finally taken a shit it was the best thing I had heard in months, she was going to be ok.

I have a few new running companions now. None of them chase possums (although they all have strong looking teeth, and could take one down if they wanted to), and I yell at them when they try to roll in rotting dead animals. All of them are just as enthusiastic as Ellie is to be outside running with friends. Having friends to run with is great, it keeps you motivated and it makes the time pass a lot quicker if you have someone to talk to on a long Sunday run.

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Look at all my friends!

This is how I found my running buddies

  • Stalk people on Twitter that talk about running. Meet them in a remote carpark in the dark at 7am and run for 90 minutes, instant friends!
  • Offer to walk someone’s dog. Every day. And for three hours on a Sunday. Make sure you feed the dog so it doesn’t get too skinny.
  • Join your local harriers club. If your favourite colour is yellow or the Lion is your spirit animal you can’t go past Scottish Harriers in Wellington.
  • Hitting people with a stick you found in the pine trees doesn’t motivate them to run. Try a softer approach. Like rotting fruit or small stones.
  • Talk to people at running events, like the girl who passed you going up that big  hill, offer to teach her some sort of skill while learning all her hill running secrets so you can beat her next time.

Who do you like to run with? Do they have nice teeth?


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You’re Crowning! I can see a head!

A week ago I was about to graduate from my ‘back to running’ program. I had been sticking to it for 95% of the time, for 90% of the program before I was placed at the start of the Blue Lake Trail in Tarawera, with a fly trail honey in a LuluLemon crop top and matching speed shorts.

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Bambi running through the forest

Sunshine, pungas, a crystal Blue Lake, runboners coming from all sides after watching a few hundred crazy people run an Ultra Marathon. The mood was set, the odds were stacked against me, and I cheated the program.

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A view of Green Lake from the Track around Blue Lake. You’d go there.

Running across the beech forest floor in my favourite yellow shorts, shoulders burning in the heat, sweat trickling over my lips and Hinano yelling ‘This is the banana I remember!’ as we circled the lake with fresh legs, floating feet and Colgate grins.

About ten minutes in to the glorious dream-sequence of a run I tripped on a rock/my runboner and landed almost exactly on the right side of my Pelvis. LOL. (Is Cry Out Loud a thing?) Very COL to land on the fractured side, good show.

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The tiny drips of blood don’t do justice to the pain, I swear.

On Sunday the 8th of February at 9.54am, covered in blood, crying, and blinking in the bright light, Amanda the runner was re-born. She arrived two weeks early but is healthy and gaining weight. A special thanks to Hinano Andrews Runwife for overseeing the rebirth and ensuring a smooth delivery.

Aside from a few scratches I didn’t have any pain after a steady hour on the trails, you could not wipe the smile off my face that day.

I had taken the recovery very, very slowly, and I think to finish the most boring running program in existence would have been a little pointless as things have well and truly healed. Hear that? The sound of justification, let it echo around the room and bounce off the piles of running shoes on the floor and the race numbers hanging from the wall.

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Squeeeeeeeee!

I am being really cautious in starting to train again, it would be easy to try pushing myself to go faster and longer but that will come back eventually. I have a new program to follow, and aside from actually STICKING TO IT AMANDA the key points are;

  • Increase mileage by only 10% per week
  • Don’t do any hard runs up or down hill. (As long as you don’t get a CR then it isn’t a hard run)
  • Listen to Kevin, Inge, and all the other people who know all the things
  • Keep up with the cross training (cycling, swimming, aqua jogging)
  • Buy new running gear because if I look fresh I will run fresh
  • Bitch out while I can. I do one KM repeat while my training group do five and I expect just as much if not more praise.
  • Spend my next pay on a new Garmin. Because cadence. And because if I get lost driving around Rotorua I probably need extra help with navigation.

Seven months ago my km repeats were around 3.33, now they are about 3.49. It’s not bad really, it’s the fact that you do them on a track where fifteen seconds looks like half a lap and by the time you finish your rep everyone else has had time to put on party hats and get stuck in to a chocolate cake.

http://instagram.com/p/zDgytkDqRF/

 

I am a lot more aware of imperfections in my form, and have been spending a lot of time on flexing my guns in front of the mirror before I run them off in training hip flexors, they are so incredibly tight right now. Physio knows best, and I have been working hard on getting things functioning properly so that I don’t get injured that badly again.

I am back to where I was a little under 2 years ago in terms of total mileage per month, but a lot slower, and not running as far. I have done it before, so I have the experience and I know I can do it again.

After my third steady run I have managed to somehow spit into the inside of my sleeve so I can tell it’s going to be a lot of fun getting back in to training. The spit, the snot, the chafe, the blisters, the toenail fatalities. Running I have missed you!