After the joy and challenge of the Porirua Grand Traverse, it was going to be hard for any race on a flatter course to be as impressive. I enjoyed the run of the Forrest Event, but the lack of spectacular scenery, and the flatter course didn't light my fire in the same way that running over mountains increasingly does.
The weather was pretty miserable, and I expected a small turnout, but there were hundreds of people, and many had travelled from quite far away to run. I had initially intended to take the run at an easy-ish pace, and just add the distance to my training, but as the start approached the excitement of the crowd got the better of me, and I decided that I would try and beat my personal best for 21.1km.
I started out way too hard, running the first 7km in well under my goal pace to beat my pb...I just couldn't help myself, the music I was listening to got my adreneline pumping, and the guilty delight of passing lots of other runners got the better of me, and I streaked around the crowds, keeping up a pace of well under 4min 40 a km for quite a while. I didn't even know that I could run that fast, let alone maintain that pace for any sort of distance. The interval training must be to thank for that.
The entire race was run on forrest logging trails, and while running through dripping wet forrests, and through some quite muddy patches was fun and picturesque for about 5 min, I quickly longed for the changes in scenery that you get in a city race, or the magnificent views and sense of achievement of mountain running.
For the middle 7km I slowed down a lot, and planned to pick up the pace again for the final third of the run, but as km 14 came and went, I still wasn't feeling energetic enough to push hard again through to the finish. With only about 4km to go to the finish line, I realised that I could just about beat my PB if I dug deep. I ramped up the pace, and supprised myself myself by flying along for the last few km. I crossed the finish line 1 min slower than my PB, and was pretty happy with that considering my hapazard racing plan, and having not really tried that hard for quite a large portion of the race.
I am not as attached to the time that I cross the line in, or beating my PB's as some people are. I like improving, and my inner competitive self still has a whistful dream of one day getting a podium place, but for me, at the moment, completing challenging courses (most importantly, right now, the Routeburn), and the rush of covering huge distances, and seeing this amazing country through a veil of sweat and sometimes rain is so much more fun.