Manawatu Striders – winter series (10km) – 3 July 2011

The song by Bob Dylan, called “Orange Juice Blues”, was ringing in my ears this morning, and I figured it might just as well be my theme song :). The words stayed with me all day… “I had a hard time waking this morning. I got a lotta things on my mind. … I have a hard time waking most mornings. And it’s been that way for a month or more”

When we woke up, the first thing Gerry did, was to check the Metservice website for a weather update:  “-1.9 degrees celsius, feels like -3“, and suggesting however many layers of clothing to wear. I was really in a pickle, not having the foggiest idea (no pun intended) as to what to wear, and how many layers thereof (despite Metservices’ suggestions). You might need 4 layers when going out for a casual stroll in the park at zero degrees, but when running it gets a bit more complicated.

However, I’m not known as the one who ever worries about too much clothes. The more the merrier! Just bring ’em on! But after trying a couple of options (from the few that I have), it turned out that three fleece-type layers or more just becomes sticky and uncomfortable, especially if the middle layer is slightly bigger than the top layer. I’m not necessarily convinced that 3 or even 4 layers for that matter, has to be problematic, but you have to choose the sizes and order to put them on very carefully. 🙂

Unlike Gerry, who is quite happy so long as his hands are warmed by a nice pair of gloves, I have realised over time that the bodypart that’s the biggest problem for me in terms of the cold, is my neck – it just cannot go cold. No matter how many layers of clothing I wear, if my neck is exposed to cold temperatures and windy conditions, I’m cold. That’s just the way it is. So, after donning a polyprop undie with long sleeve cotton top (yep, although not very warm, it keeps the wind out a bit more than fleece), beanie, buff, cotton gloves (my hands warm up quite fast and easily feels uncomfortable/uneasy with warm gloves) and thermal tights, we were off.

An unexpected delay, clearing the car’s windscreen of a thick layer of ice, had us arriving at the Manawatu Pavilion only shortly after 9:00, after the walkers had already set off on their event. I was expecting to see less participants thinking the cold would convince some people to rather stay home, but there seemed to be a similar amount as at the previous event. And most of them were clearly also not phased in the slightest by the weather, standing around in their singlets and running shorts as if it was a summer’s morning! Alister was at his post, ready to get proceedings under way, so we quickly popped into the clubhouse to enter.

The run followed the same route as before, taking in a short section next to the river, followed by a loop through the suburbs before heading over the Fitzherbert bridge towards Massey University. This marks the spot where we turned around for the shorter 5km option in the previous event in the series, but this morning we kept going straight, following the 10km markers. The route does a lovely scenic loop through Massey campus, before crossing the road into the Science Park for another short loop. Aside from some interesting scenery, these loops are particularly great because they take you away from the main roads, resulting in virtually traffic-free running conditions.

We managed to stick to a 6min/km pace for the whole run, and enjoyed the slightly faster tempo, after having been stuck on a 6:30 pace for a long time. Getting to the finish, however, I felt the effect of the increased speed – I definitely still have some training to do if I want to maintain a similar pace over a half-marathon or further! Gerry had a great run and really relished the pace, saying he felt like he could keep running all day. We managed to complete the 10.2km event in 1:00:31.

Again I have to commend the Manawatu Striders on a lovely run over a scenic and quiet route. And for the second time in the series the run was complimented by a near-perfect winters morning. We are really looking forward to the 15km event in 3 weeks’ time, which we will use as our “long run” before the Mizuno Half Marathon in early August.

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