If you were out running in Auckland yesterday there was a fair chance you had a bit of company. More than 70,000 people headed out to walk or run Round the Bays.
Not only is it a stunning location for an event, but the entry fees go towards a variety of children's charities.
I was over the other side of the bridge running the 8km Coatesville Classic in the hills around the Dotcom mansion. It was another great location for a run - quiet country roads with views across to the city, over to the Waitakere Ranges, with little peeks at the Dotcom residence.
So how did it go?
The first 2km were horrendous. It felt like I was running in mud as around 90 per cent of the field streamed past me.
I kept thinking about the advice running pro Chris Hope gave me to not go out too hard and focus on running my own race.
Difficult when every man and their dog - literally, I was overtaken by at least half a dozen dogs and their owners - went casually swishing by.
Part of my preparation had been obsessively studying the course elevation profile. It was essentially up, up, up, little down, up, little down, up, big downhill.
The plan was to conquer the hills and, if there was anything left in the tank, crank up the pace for the last couple of kilometres. That was pretty much how it played out. To the untrained eye it would have been hard to spot the subtle lift in pace at the finish, but I can assure you I dug a little deeper for my moment of glory.
The crowd roared, some even yelled my name (it was printed on my race number), as I smashed across the finish line. It took a whisker over 52 minutes and I was rapt. I'd expected to spend a full hour covering the 8km.
Congratulations to the winner Robbie Johnston, who trotted over the finish line a full 24 minutes ahead of me in 28.12 minutes.
I'm now taking the advice of marathon running guru Scott Winton for my post-race recovery.
Winton says to keep it easy for the next week, heading out for a walk a day or two after the event then just do some light jogging. Cutting back on the training for a bit can actually work to fire you up when you do put the shoes back on.
"It's more mental than anything. If you're just training hard-out for something one after another, after another, without giving yourself a decent break, then you're not going to actually train really hard when you do train," he says.
In the past I've been a real boom and bust exerciser. Typically I've had bursts of enthusiastic activity interspersed with extended periods of schlepping around doing nothing.
Post-race is my personal danger zone where rest and recovery quietly stretches out for weeks and my motivation ebbs away. My plan is to keep up the frequency of my runs this week, but drop back the times or opt for a walk instead. Next weekend, I'm going to sit down and settle on some goals to aim for over the coming months.
Winton says he plots out his training and racing strategy two years in advance. He's in the middle of a punishing 15 week block culminating in the Ottawa Marathon where he hopes to crack the Olympic qualifying time of 2 hours and 12 minutes.
One of my longer term goals has already been sorted. At some point in the post-run euphoria I blabbed to Coatesville Classic race director Alison Hunt that I'd be back next year and I was going to run the 21km half marathon. Wow! Go me!
* Head to the picturesque central North Island countryside for the Taihape half marathon, a new event on the running calendar, Saturday March 24.