Rotorua Marathon 2012
By Janette Gwilliam
When I joined the HVMC as a casual runner back in November 2010 I never would have dreamed that I would ever consider running a marathon. And yet just over 12 months later I made the decision to run the Rotorua Marathon in April 2012.
Initially our group of marathon trainers slowly began building up our distances from February 2012 onwards. I had never run further than a half marathon so felt uncertain as to how I would cope with the long training runs but we had such a lovely supportive team that in no time at all I was clocking up the kilometres with everyone else. I felt a particular sense of achievement on our run around the coast road as that day we were running into gale force winds and miserable weather but we struggled through and completed a 32k run. I figured I could tackle anything after that effort. Our last long run was the Makkra circuit which was 35k and again I seemed to pull through OK. I felt hesitant about running 42k when I had never done a distance like that before but everyone said you don't need to do that in your training.
April rolled around quickly and before I knew it we were in Rotorua with the marathon just one day away. I felt nervous and sick at the same time as I looked out over Lake Rotorua knowing that my task was to run the entire distance around it. Race day finally arrived and after meeting up again with my faithful training buddies we were all lined up and ready to go. The cannon went off and we were bid farewell by many locals and also a Maori performance. The first 10k clicked over slowly as we trekked through main roads as we headed out of Rotorua.
The pace was comfortable but busy with so many people jostling for position. At 11k I was feeling good so increased my pace to make the most of my new found energy. I did laugh to myself when I heard the music to Chariots of Fire playing – images of the olden day school boys running on the beach took my mind off things temporarily. At the 21k mark there were men playing bag pipes – I heard them as we were winding up a hill and did wonder momentarily if I had stumbled across some Highland Games but no, again it was people showing their support. As we passed through small towns and rural properties it was heartening to see so many people encouraging us and wishing us well.
My idea of picking up the pace soon began to feel like a bad idea when I got near the 30k mark and soon started to feel a bit sore but tried to push through while ignoring the obvious fact that I still had 12k to go. Water stops became my treat as I slowed to a walk to rest my legs and rehydrate.
By 37k I was really struggling and began to run/walk all the while fighting to stop the sick feeling in my stomach, stitch in my side and seized up muscles – by 40k the reality of the end being so near gave me the kick I needed to keep moving, albeit slowly. It was disheartening on those final few kilometres to see local people who had run their marathon and were now cycling home!
With the end finally in sight I felt a huge surge of relief that I had done it and it was almost over. I felt like a rock star going down the finishing shute with everyone clapping and cheering me on. Finally I crossed the line and could stop – easier said than done, my legs wouldn't just stop and I found myself walking on the spot just to keep them from cramping. My family were there to meet me and I had a big cry when I saw them all – it was over!
The rest of that day was spent just lying still and resting – my entire body felt like it had been hit by a truck. As the days passed and the sore muscles eased, the memory of the event began to fade so that I only saw the good stuff. Since being home again I have continued my training in order to run the Aurora Marathon in June 2012, I must be crazy.