Running Round the Bays!

February 23 and 24, 2014

So what does one do after a spectacular Spectacular?  One goes on a 10 km run of course!  Specifically the AMI Round the Bays run.  Back when I was planning my trip and booking places and booking the Doctor Who event, I noticed that there was another event the next day, which was the AMI Round the Bays run.  I can’t quite remember why I signed up for it at the time.  I think it was my way of making sure I had something to do on a Sunday.  I was probably thinking that everything would be shut down on that day due to the run, so why not take part in it.  Anyway, it was pretty late in terms of training when I signed up for the run.  When I had originally made the decision to go to New Zealand to climb Mt. Doom and to do the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, I took up spinning, kickboxing, hiking, exercise in general.  And then when I made the decision to kayak Doubtful Sound, I still had time to take lessons.  But this time was the ultimate last minute decision.  It was the middle of November when I signed up for the run.  That’s not a lot of time to train for a 10 km run in Vancouver, at least not in good weather.  And we didn’t have good weather in the middle of November.  It got cold quite early which if I remember correctly from past years, it didn’t get this cold.  Usually we get rain, but we didn’t have that much rain this time.  But the temperature drops were a tad bit unexpected.

Because it was so last minute, I didn’t really have too many expectations for this run.  I just figured I’d get in as much training with Korri while I could in Vancouver and then when I got to New Zealand, I’d do some training while on holiday.  Honestly, what was I thinking?  I think I managed to get in two runs and that was on a treadmill during the entire time I was here.  But it didn’t faze me.  I would run what I could and then when I couldn’t run it anymore, I would just walk the rest of the 10 km.  So when I showed up at the Frank Kitts Park, I just hung out near the back, behind the elite runners and waited.  I would start off running and just see how far I could get.  Funny enough, I actually made it to the first water station, which was at the 4km mark and I was still able to keep going.  When I realized this, I was actually surprised and quite pleased with myself and as I kept running, I actually realized that I was just behind one of the pace runners.  Before the start of the race, the announcers were telling us that there were several pace runners for the 10km groups.  I can’t remember anymore what the times were, I think it may have been one hour twenty and one hour forty and there may have been another but since I wasn’t paying attention, I didn’t retain the information too well in my head.

Anyway, there she was, a pace runner just in front of me.  So I followed her.  I had no idea what her pace was, but it didn’t matter.  I had no expectations.  I was just hoping that I would finish the run under 2hrs.  I had no idea that I would actually finish the run in an hour and 16 minutes.  Holy Crap, I say!  One hour and 16 minutes!  I’ve never been so happy and so proud.  For me, that is an achievement of sorts, since I had nothing to compare the time with.  The last time I did a timed run was the Vancouver Sun Run and that probably was a year or two before I was put on antidepressants.  My calendar only goes back to 2007, at least on the computer.  All my journals are back in Canada so I can’t really give a date, but wow, that means I did a ‘timed’ 10 km run either in 2004 or 2005.  It didn’t even click in until probably half an hour after the finish line when I was wandering around Kilbirnie park checking out the tents and searching for the popsicles that everyone else was wandering around with.  I mean, it was great to get a bottle of water and a banana after the run but I really needed a popsicle!  After successfully acquiring two popsicles, and a free hotdog, I made my way to the stage where there was live music.  I think the group was called Drax.  They were pretty good.  When they started making announcements about medals and giving out free stuff at 10 and 1030, I was confused.  Maybe I needed my sugar in my system.  I pulled out my phone and it say 9:45am.  What?  For some reason I thought it was much later than that.  I don’t know why but I did.  And that’s when that happy glowing feeling sort of spread through out my body.  Or it could’ve been the popsicles.  But I’m gonna go with happy glowing feelings.

Anyway, I’ve jumped ahead of myself.  The race, like I said started at Frank Kitts Park.  It was supposed to start at 8am but there was a delay because some cars decided to turn on to the closed course.  We waited for about 20 minutes for it to clear and then the gun went off.  It was time to go.  Five minutes later, after the Elite runners, the marathoners took off, the middle groups started to move closer to the start line.  After crossing the line, it was time to run.  And it was a gorgeous run.  The course was flat for the most part.  When there was a curve in the road, then there would be some sloping.  But you just had to either head towards the middle of the street or off to the sidewalk.  Probably the first 15 to 20 minutes, there was a lot of swerving around the slower runners or the walkers and then I found the right pace for me.  I decent pace and also one where I could admire the view.  And what a view.  Almost the entire time on the road, you could see the bays to your left.  We were very lucky there wasn’t a strong wind blowing and when it was, it was blowing at your back, helping to push us along!  Thanks Mum-Nature!  The sun was out but the temperatures weren’t excessively hot.  I was all sun-blocked up and I had my hat on.  It was good.  I had brought along a long sleeve jacket just incase it got too windy, but the entire time, it just stayed tied to my waist.  As I looked around me, at the people beside me and in front of me, I was also looking for signage.  I was never in fear of getting lost on the course but I just wanted to know how much further I had to go.  Maybe I just didn’t know where to look, but the only signs of encouragement were aimed at the 6.5 km walkers.  Come on!  I need to know how far I’ve gone so I know how much further I have!On Course_Final_2014Eventually I rounded a corner and I thought to myself, Hurray!  The first water station.  The signage sure sucks, if this is the first water station.  But then I ran closer.  I grabbed the cup and discovered candy in my cup.  Bleh!  I don’t need candy.  I don’t need sugar!  I need water and I need to know how far I’ve gone.  After tossing the cup and uneaten candy guiltily to the side of the street, I continued onwards.  And that’s when I saw the first helpful sign.  Sort of.  500 m to the water station.  Hurray!  Water.  But how far had I run?  Finally, the next sign I saw told me I had run 4km.  Nice!  I was still good to go.  I didn’t need to stop.  Occasionally I would look up, remembering what Faraaz had told me during my runs.  I had to try to distract myself, but mostly when I got tired and wanted to stop, I just turned my head and looked to the left for a beautiful view before turning back to my task.  I can’t run straight if I’m looking to the left.  My body tends to go where ever my eyes are pointed.  So I could never really get nice long views of the blue water.  And then I would also focus on my form.  Arms pump forward and back, not left and right.  I can hear Korri in my head reminding me about my arms.  I think in the end I forgot the arms but no worries.  I’ll remember for my next race.  And there will be a next race.  Perhaps not in New Zealand.  But The Vancouver Sun Run is coming up on April 27, 2014 and it’s their 30 anniversary.  I think I have a ‘running bug’ in me now.  I don’t know.  The Sun Run will definitely be bigger than the Round the Bays run with 50,000 participants as compared to the 14,000 in Wellington.  But The Sun Run has been going on a lot longer than the Round the Bays run.

So after discovering that I still had 6 km to go, I pushed on.  I found my pace runner just after the candy station and then lost her after the water station.  I think she stopped at the toilet.  Luckily for us, there were lots of public toilets along the course.  Mainly for the beach goers but it was convenient for us runners.  As we ran, along, the residents along the street were also out cheering us on.  There was one section where the houses were all decorated with balloons and the owners were out with the hoses to cool down the passing runners.  Fun!

Eventually I reached Kilbirnie Park.  I didn’t know it was Kilbirnie Park but it was all decorated and there was a tonne of signage so that had to be the finish line.  But I wasn’t finished yet.  There was still about 4 km to go.  Again, not sure since there wasn’t much signage.  But at least there was signage to tell all us 10 km and half marathon runners which way to go.  It was interesting because we were running in the direction of Miramar, where Weta Cave was located and then we had to backtrack back to Kilbirnie Park.  And because we were backtracking back to the park, we had some elite runners pass us by as well.  Which could’ve been a tad irritating if you encountered a group that wasn’t showing too much running etiquette.  There was a bicyclist speeding up a head just to let all the slower people know that there were fast runners coming up behind us, but the bicyclist was a bit too speedy I think, especially for us non-natives.  I’m glad I didn’t block any of the elite runners.  The other issue I think, would be for us non-elite runners, we have earphones plugged in.  If I had loud music going, I wouldn’t hear the bicyclist at all.  Thank goodness I’m not an elite runner.

Along the way there were quite a few professional photographers on the course.  In this post, the majority of the photos are from the professional photographers or they were downloaded from the AMI Round the Bays Facebook page.  All the photos with captions, and there aren’t a lot, are my photos.  All others were from AMI or the professionals.

Eventually I had the final stretch along the side of Kilbirnie Park.  Gosh there were a lot of people lined up to watch.  I know they weren’t there for me, but really, at the end when all I wanted to do was stop and walk, there has to be people here to watch.  So I kept on going and rounded into the park and there was the finish line.  Hallelujah!  I made the final sprint to the finish line.  I mean, there were photographers at the finish line.  There was no way I was going to stop now, not even to pose for photo.

After dropping off my timing chip, I went in further to the park to pick up my water and banana.  There was a tent for the marathoners to pick up there medals.  Good for them.  And there was a tent for the 10 km runners to get a bag and something else.  Can’t remember now.  But it wasn’t a medal.  I found the massage tent but there was a line up.  $10 for 10 minutes.  Not bad.  But I wanted to keep moving around for fear of developing instantaneous aches in all my leg joints.  Well maybe not instantaneous but there was the possibility of delayed onset muscle soreness which I had felt after the Tongariro Alpine Crossing.  I found the bus line up.  GO Wellington was going to ferry people to Courtenay Place throughout the day, I think till 2pm, for free as long as you had the AMI bib on.  That’s cool.  And right near by, they were handing out free newspapers, should you want to stop moving about and want to read the paper.  That went into my bag.  I then found the tent that was giving out free hotdogs and my first popsicle!  Hurray for popsicles.  I finally decided to head over to the tent and check out the music.  I took a risk and sat down in the grass.  They music was pretty good.  When they finished, one of the announcers came on and started talking about the winners of the half marathon and the 10 km run.  The prizes would be given at such and such time.  But in the mean time, instructors from Les Mills were going to take us through a cool down.  Tai chi moves and Yoga.  The tai chi was interesting.  The yoga, very helpful.  But when Les Mills came out with instructors for mixed martial arts, I decided to check out the other tents.  Along the way I snagged another popsicle.  People holding baskets of popsicles are such a welcome sight.  I found the spot prize tent, and then further along the park were all the food tents and then the team tents.  By the time it was noon-ish, I decided it was time to head back.  I had texted Deanna when I sat down by the stage but I hadn’t heard from her and by the time I decided to go, the line up for the bus was kind of horrible looking.  But only in appearance.  The line up kept moving and the busses kept coming so it was actually flowing quite well.  By the time I heard from Deanna, I was just about to get on the bus.  I said I’d see here the next day, especially since I didn’t want to line up again for the bus.

Once I got back to the hostel, once I was cleaned up and fresh, I was ready to head out again.  Yes and no.  Like I said, I didn’t want to get DOMS the next day.  But I didn’t want to do anything too strenuous.  I wanted to just take it easy.  So I wandered along the wharf towards Wellington’s Te Papa museum.  The weather was still holding up and right by the water, there was a very pleasant breeze.  I was surprised to see little shop booths open, not a lot but enough to tempt people to browse.  And then I discovered a public piano!  How quaint!  It was all painted up in pretty bright colours, very tempting for people to sit down and play.  So I sat down.  But I couldn’t remember much to play.  That and the piano seriously needed tuning.  But I guess you can’t expect too much from a public piano.  After tickling the ivories, I continued onwards to the Te Papa Museum.IMG_2542 IMG_2541First up, the museum shop.  When I first arrived in Wellington with Red Carpet Tours, Julie mentioned that there was Hobbit merchandise at the museum.  I didn’t think too much of it at the time and I never did visit the Te Papa because I knew I would be coming back to the city on my own.  So it was put on the back burner.  But now was my chance to browse at my leisure.  And yes they had stuff.  Maps, hats, clothes, jewellery, and much more.  Not as much as Weta Cave but a pretty decent selection.  Now that was just at the children’s shop on level 2.  Level 1 has a really good selection of New Zealand stuff and museum stuff.  By the time I had examined everything in both shops, I think an hour had already gone by.  Now it was time to look at the exhibits.  There are guided tours but that was already done so I was on my own.  Level 2 is quite fascinating for their nature stuff.  Dinosaurs, Moas, kiwis, the whale skeleton hanging from the ceiling is amazing as is the preserved colossal squid.  Kids will love this level.  Level 2 also has and outdoor section called Bush City.  I didn’t get a chance to examine that because the museum was closing.  So I would have to return another day.  Tomorrow perhaps?  No.  I had other plans, but I was returning at the very end of this month so I had time.

So what does one eat after running 10 km in just over an hour?  I could’ve had my usual, salad with a small can of tuna and instant noodles.  But I decided to splurge and have butter chicken from the cafe.  I’m so glad I did, because it was really good!

The next day, I had planned on heading out of town to go to Cape Palliser and to see some Pinnacles along the way.  But my legs said otherwise.  DOMS had set in.  Walking up and down stairs was the most unpleasant thing that could happen to me, so hiking out to see the lighthouse, and knowing that there were 250 stairs to get to the lighthouse, would’ve been just killer.  So I decided to hang around the city.

I drove out to Weta Cave to see if there were any last minute stuff I wanted to get.  There were a few new things since I was there last.  Some Hobbit gold coins, a new bookmark, two new t-shirt designs, but otherwise it was the same.  But still it was nice to go out there and see their mini-museum.  After browsing and admiring the models, I headed over to the Roxy Theatre to get a coffee at the cafe and worked on my blog for a bit.  Then it was time to head back to the hostel.  The hostel is located just next to the New Zealand Post office and I wanted to check out their stamps.  I love the NZ stamps.  They are so great, not just because of the Lord of the Rings/Hobbit stamps but they have great stamps for each of their regions such as Tongariro National Park, their Coastal regions, Birds, Flowers and Chinese New Year.  It has been many years since I was actively keeping up with stamps but when I saw their Chinese New Year stamps, I decided to get them.  After my browse, I returned to the hostel and got ready to go out.  I was going meeting Deanna at The Embassy Theatre.  We were going get something to eat and then going to see Desolation of Smaug again.  Me for my second time, Deanna for her eleventh time.

The plan was to get the tickets first and then head over to Strawberry Fare, however the restaurant didn’t open till 5pm and our movie started at 5:45pm.  It was just after 4pm, so we wandered up Courtenay Place looking for a decent place to eat.  We didn’t have to go to far.  We found a bar that was serving food and it wasn’t too far from the theatre.

See the movie for the second time was great.  Since I had gone on the tour, there were some places that I recognized and the scene in the barrels, as they are calmly floating down, after losing the orcs…I was so excited because I recognized it.  I was there.  I kayaked that part.  It was cool to see!  This time I was analyzing the locations wondering if anything else looked familiar.  A certain lake in front of a certain mountain looked quite familiar too.  And then there was the critical examination of other scenes, which I won’t discuss, just in case there are a few readers out there who actually have not see the movie yet.  I made the mistake in a shop recently talking about the first movie.  I was talking to the shop keeper and she had asked me about my travels.  It’s interesting how many people seem surprised that I would travel around on my own.  Anyways, she asked what made me decide to come to New Zealand.  I told her I saw the first Hobbit movie and then I decided to re-read the Hobbit book.  And I had read it before several years ago but I had forgotten what happened at the end of the book.  And the fact that Peter Jackson did such a good job with expanding upon the characters, when I realized that three characters were going to die at the end of the book, I became so upset, I decided I had to go to New Zealand to try to fix it.  Silliness of course, but that is was one of the reasons I had in my head.  Well, the shop keeper looked at me and said…He dies?  OMG!  I am so sorry.  I thought everyone had seen the first movie, especially Kiwis, or at least read the book.  How wrong was I!  I felt so bad.  So I will not give any spoilers to the second movie here on my blog.  But should anyone want to knit pick the movie with me, feel free to drop a reply with an email address and I’ll knit pick with you.

Anyway, watching it a second time gave me a chance to pay more attention to and relate more to the details because now I had been to certain places, I could see why some merchandise was available, because the first time around, your so overwhelmed that some things are forgotten or overlooked, but the second time around, you see it and then you go…It actually is in the movie.  That explains why it’s being sold.

After the movie, it was time to head back.  I was headed out to Napier the next day and it would be a bit of a drive.

Wishing my time in Wellington could be longer.  But I’ll be back in two days time!  Luv, Aunty!

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