Personal finance and KiwiSaver columnist at the NZ Herald

Jog On: Channelling inner Mahe Drysdale, to no avail

Waking up to a chunder party dashed hopes of reaching not only the finish line, but also the start of the 10km Runway Challenge Helen Twose had been training for. Photo / Thinkstock
Waking up to a chunder party dashed hopes of reaching not only the finish line, but also the start of the 10km Runway Challenge Helen Twose had been training for. Photo / Thinkstock

Sometimes even the best laid plans can go maddeningly awry.

I'd had my Mother's Day mapped out weeks ago: get up bright and early, run the 10km option in the Hobsonville Point Runway Challenge then head home for brunch with the family, followed by a quiet soak in the bath using the bath bomb my son made for me at kindy.

For the past eight weeks I've been following the 10k programme in the Run Fat B!tch Run book, slightly modified to take into account my weekly timetable.

There was nothing particularly scientific about the choice of programme other than it was one I had on hand and seemed challenging without being overly ambitious.

I have to say I find the 10km distance quite tough. It's long enough that most people will need to do some training, and because it doesn't qualify as a true long distance event, tends to be run at a reasonable pace.

For a plodder like me it's quite simply a long way to run fast.

The world record for 10,000m on the track is held by Ethiopian runner Kenenisa Bekele with a time of 26.17 minutes. Chinese woman Wang Junxia ran the women's world record in 29.31 minutes.

Using the training calculator on the Runner's World website I was able to calculate 60 minutes was my likely finishing time for the 10k.

Then seven days out the wheels started to wobble off.

At 3am I was woken to the sound of a small child vomiting in bed. Half an hour later the baby joined the chunder party.

Fortunately it was a quick and dirty tummy bug brew and the whole thing blew through in less than a day.

But four days later I was again woken by the sound of early morning vomiting - this time it was the husband.

Although he contends it was food poisoning from dodgy sushi I was starting to feel like a dead man walking.

Sure enough, on the eve of my big day I mustered enough energy to get the kids breakfast before flopping back into bed ... then quickly getting back up again to make the first of many dashes to the toilet.

While race numbers and timing transponders were being dished out at registration I was lying as still as possible in a fairly futile effort at alleviating the stomach churning nausea.

I tried to channel my inner Mahe Drysdale but in the early hours of the morning before the race I finally conceded I was going to be a no-show at the start line.

Not only had I not had anything substantial to eat in more than a day but there was a strong possibility I would poo my pants before crossing the finish line.

It should have felt like a relief to have made that decision but I was, and still am, bitterly disappointed.

I even had a quiet weepy moment about my DNS (did not start) although a crashing headache may be partly to blame.

After weeks of using this event as a focus for my running I'm having a hard job motivating myself to look at replacement options.

There are a couple of runs to consider. The same crowd who organised the Runway Challenge are behind the Xterra series of off-road runs that kick off next week, with the Run Auckland series another possibility with a 10km distance.

Hopefully my DNS blues clear up soon and take the tummy bug with it.

Follow @Jog_On_NZ on Twitter


* Now in its 32nd year the Huntly Half Marathon includes a loop into sponsor Solid Energy's Huntly East coal mine. Sunday May 20.

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Personal finance and KiwiSaver columnist at the NZ Herald

Helen Twose is a freelance business journalist who writes regularly about KiwiSaver and entrepreneurial companies. She has written for the Business Herald since 2006, covering the telecommunications sector, but has more recently focused on personal finance and profiling successful businesses.

Read more by Helen Twose

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