If someone were to tell me I have to do two speed sessions two days in a row, I would have laughed him off, mumbling something like “crazy bugger”. Speed session is not in my vocabulary. Neither is fartleks or hill training for that matter. But if we’re on our daily trot and feeling okey, I’m always up for the challenge to race to the next street lamp, even if “race” implies just picking up the pace a notch or two for the next 50 metres or so.
As someone who’s always on the lookout for affordable events close-by we were happy to stumble upon a series, similar to the Super Sevens, in our neighbouring town of Pahiatua. It is a 5km run and walk hosted every Wednesday by the local club, the Bush Harriers, for the five weeks leading up to their half marathon on 22 March. So Gerry and I opted to go for the first one and see what it’s like. I doubt we’ll go through the trouble of driving 30km out and 30km back just to run 5km every week for the next 5 weeks, but we thought it to be a good outing and you have to try everything once, right?
We arrived early and went for a stroll about town before heading back for the start shortly before 6pm. The walkers were set off first at 6pm and the runners 10 minutes later. A whole bunch of walkers lined the street in front of the Pahiatua stadium for the walk, including moms with prams, kids on bikes and dogs on leashes. However, when the runners started to trickle in, it turned out to be only a very small field of about 20 participants. Not to worry, I said to myself, we’re here to enjoy the outing and for a slow recovery run after our time trial of the previous day.
After being welcomed, the sponsors thanked and some information shared about the Harriers’ upcoming half marathon, we were off. Like a 747 airliner on full throttle, the runners pulled away and within 5 seconds we were at least 5 metres behind everybody else. It briefly crossed my mind not to get sucked in by the turbulence, but then we realised that we don’t know the town and neither the route and thought it wise to at least try and keep the last runner in our view. On a faster pace than planned we tried to just sort of hang in there while savoring the nice weather.
Luckily there were marshals on most of the corners and the route was well marked. Before we knew it, we started catching up with the walkers and even managed to pass two of the runners. 29 minutes later we reached the finish line – for me an even faster pace than the day before. Just goes to show that things don’t always goes as planned.
A nice event and if we lived closer, one that we would have done every week. Energy drinks, apples and lots of spot prizes were handed out at the finish.