Monday, March 24, 2008

Easter and a little jog

So yesterday was Easter, here in this land just west of the International Date Line. When I got up yesterday, I hadn't gone for a run since Taupo.

OK, that's not entirely true. Let's back it up to Thursday afternoon. I had just eaten some killer Indian food with a guy I'm doing some engineering work for, and we had moved over to the Pig & Whistle for a beer. Sitting out on the deck, enjoying an Erdinger, and watching the world go by, my attention drifted upwards to the banner across Ballarat St. advertising something called the Arm Run on Easter Sunday, with a 14km option and a 26km option. Curiosity piqued!

I hadn't been running since Taupo for a variety of reasons: mangled toes, mild stress fracture in a foot, generally over it, etc., etc. Friday I went out for 3-4 miles just to see if my little injuries had gone away and if I could even consider doing the run on Easter. Everything felt fine, which was encouraging.

Sunday morning rolled around and I figured "why not?" so I hopped on the bike for the 10 mile ride out to Jacks Point where this run started. It ended in Queenstown, so after I got to Jacks Point I faced the simple task of finding somebody to schlep my bike back into town for me.

When I got out there sometime after 9am, the sun was still hiding behind the Remarkables and it was a chilly 43ยบ. About 10 minutes before the start, the sun finally peeked over the mountains and it instantly warmed up.

40 or so of us started out there for the route that climbed the hill up and over Jacks Point to the shores of Wakatipu. The track followed right along the lake for nearly all of the 26km, winding through Kelvin Heights and the golf course on the peninsula, along to Frankton, towards Queenstown, and finally around the Gardens to the finish at the beach right in town.

The weather was perfect, the views were consistently great along the lake, and the first 8-10km was a repeat of the idyllic trot I did with Ethel before she left town. Good memories! I went out pretty hard for the first 10km or so and had to back it off a bit for the middle 6-8km. My hamstrings were quite angry as was one of my IT bands, all reminding me that I hadn't run in 3 weeks...

I had my little camera along with me, and I probably would have paused for some more pics, but I sure didn't feel like getting passed, so all I managed was one horribly motion-blurred and tilted shot. Rather that spending fruitless time making this picture semi-passable in Photoshop, I've instead decided to preserve its hastily conceived form as an apt reminder of my approach to the whole day. :)

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Not winning any awards with this shot...

I had gotten near the front with the hard opening effort. As the kms ticked by, we strung out, and I didn't see anybody for a long time. I was able to keep track of my placing as there weren't too many of us, and I caught the 4th place guy right as we were leaving Kelvin Heights. I had recovered by then from going out so hard, so I just let my legs go for the last 10km... I caught one more guy right as we came into the Gardens and finished strong, 2:02 and change for the 26km (7:35 miles).

A dip in the lake was great reward! The reality of what I had done to myself slowly started to set in...3 weeks of no running...then going hard and acting competitive for 26km...on a whim...I suppose it's kinda my style and I don't regret it one bit, but let's just say that I wouldn't recommend this approach to anyone who values their mobility. :)

All that being said, I greatly value being able to do stuff like this without getting all worked up and training specifically for it...just going out and doing it, even though I definitely ran too hard yesterday. Being a little impulsive and a little reckless is good sometimes!

Beyond this run, Easter weekend has been good in Queenstown. Amazing weather all the way through; lots of hours at work; time-and-a-half plus whole extra vacation days on Good Friday and today, Easter Monday; and lots of cool people in town enjoying the last big holiday before the quiet season. Quite a good vibe all around.


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