Sunday, August 17, 2008

Trail Bunny

I wrote earlier about how the weather wasn't looking good for a ride on Saturday. I decided to wake early on Saturday and make a call then about whether to ride or book into a couple of RPM classes.

It was quiet and calm all night and I was feeling cautiously hopeful. At 6am it started raining. At about 6.15 the thunder and lightening started. Soon after that it started hailing and then the wind started up. I decided not to gamble on it clearing later that day so at 7am I started trying to call the gym to book my classes.

By 7.40 there still wasn't anyone answering the phones so I jumped in the car and headed into town. Thankfully there were still enough places for me to claim my bike. RPM was, well, RPM. I did my two classes. I went reasonably hard. I chatted to a friend from Gearshifters between classes. I left the gym to find that it had cleared earlier than forecast. It was now a beautiful crisp day. Gutted! Sure, I could have taken Cleo out anyway, but I had other things I needed to do and a trail run scheduled for this morning. I will just have to try and commute a couple of days this week.

We went to a housewarming last night and I was conscious of having drunk a couple of glasses of wine and eaten not quite as well as I might have done. We watched the Olympics and cheered Mahe Drysdale as he bravely rowed his way to bronze then collapsed vomiting. Winning bronze with a 'Beijing Belly' must have been one of the most heroic things I've seen so far. We also cheered on the Evers-Swindell twins as they rowed to gold by some ridiculous fraction of a second. Even they weren't sure whether they'd won or not, clearly pointing to themselves and mouthing "us?" as the news came through.

I got home and off to bed a little later than I would have liked, a little less hydrated than I would have liked. I was up at 7.30 and pleased to see that it looked like it was going to be a gorgeous day. A quick bowl of porridge and a few glasses of water and it was off to Belmont Park to meet up with Emma and co.

I've never run Belmont before and I haven't done a lot of trail running. I had an absolute blast today and I think I'm addicted. I just want to get out there again! We met up at Cornish Street before 8.45 and from there we headed out to the Korokoro dam. We were following a narrow trail along the side of a small river. The trail was gently undulating but on an almost inperceptable upwards incline. With all the rain it was amusingly wet and muddy in places and my shoes definitely weren't waterproof. I was running in a retired pair of Adidas, not wanting to ruin my new pair.

We were running at a really nice comfortable pace and I was having a great time. We were having to regularly dodge other runners and very happy dogs and the constant attention paid to dodging puddles, tree roots and very slippery rocks was distratcting my brain from any pain. In fact my legs weren't feeling the big week too badly and I wasn't even feeling the effects of last night's wine. The first five kilometres were over before I knew it. I'd only been planning to run 10km, but it just didn't feel like time to turn around just yet.

We decided to run another 2 kilometres up to Oakleigh Street. This section of the trail includes several stairs and some very steep, slick sections with lots of tree roots. Even when the trail was in a better condition it was still relentlously uphill. I walked a little bit more of this section than I would have liked! My goal is to be able to run the whole way to the top without stopping. I don't think I did too badly for my first real trail run.

We paused at the Oakleigh Street entrance to drink from a water fountain then it was back down again. The downhill portion of the track was in better condition and I was able to pick the pace up a bit. As is often the case the big climb had woken my legs up and I was feeling really strong. Before long we were back on the undulating track along the river. Five kilometres to go! I couldn't believe how good I was feeling and thought I was flying, although in fact I wasn't really. It just felt like I was. The last two and a half kilometres did seem a little long though and I was quite happy when we made it back to the cars. However it really didn't feel like 14 kilometres. Perhaps it was that running on trails is a lot easier on your legs than running on concrete footpaths. Perhaps it was just the novelty of the new environment or the social side of running with other women.

Afterwards we stopped off at Caffiend in Petone. It was about 10.45 so I didn't want to eat anything lunch-like because I knew I would just be hungry again later in the day. Instead I settled for a bottle of guava nectar and a bowl of fruit salad with yoghurt. By the time I got home though, just before mid-day, I was starving. I must have used up a lot more energy than I'd thought. I cooked up a big bowl of rice with marinated tofu and inhaled it.

As I've been typing this 38 year old Tomescu Dita from Romania has won the women's marathon in 2.26.44. Kenya took second, but only after an intense sprint against a woman from China. Tomescu was inspiring to watch, particularly as she entered the stadium and started waving to the screaming crowds whilst rounding the track and entering the last 200m. Afterwards she continued to jog slowly out while the Kenyan woman a minute or so behind her dropped to the ground. Tomescu looked like she was hurting over the last few kilometres but her pace stayed strong and she managed an impressive negative split. Now she seems to have a second wind and she is still running around the stadium for her fans with a flag around her shoulders. Amazing. New Zealand just finished in 15th place in 2.31. Still a good, solid effort.

I want to run. I want to ride Cleo. I want to ride Cleo to Belmont to go for a run. Oh dear. I really am an addict!

1 comment:

Sass said...

It's a good trail eh?

I wish I could have seen some of the women's marathon. I could comfort myself by looking at the speedy women and going "ah genes;p"