As I told Dave Franks (Total Sports officio) at the finish, “it’s just like sex, you want your first marathon to be special”.
Couldn’t image a better first time. The course, the competition, the company, and the weather, all made for an unforgettable experience. Though I’d hasten to add that you wouldn’t really want your dad there for the first experience of the other kind, as both my and Mike’s dads’ were there in support of the occasion.
I entered the West Coaster some months ago after a Heart Foundation event celebrating the appointment of Rob Doughty as chair of heart health, in part due to The Great Ride for Heart. That night, in a state of delirium, I also entered the Whaka 100 (MTB), Summer Solstice ride (dawn till dusk bike endurance), and of course the 100km Tarawera Ultra.
The West Coaster was to be a reality check, something of a dry run for the Tarawera. Figured I’d do a solid 4 week training cycle to emulate the kind of stuff I’d be doing in the Tarawera build up, then see how I felt on my feet after five and a half (plus) hours.
Make no mistake, The West Coaster was not the experiential hooker before the bride, this was a relationship of commitment. This was the real thing, you only get one first time, and it’s forever.
Having completed it, the West Coaster is clearly why I own running shoes. Its an experience that’s up there with any of the riding I’ve done (I’ll stay silent on the other post theme at this point).
Mike captures the details of the run wonderfully and largely mirrors my day – save the last few kilometres where he showed the form and determination to pull away for a deserved 2nd place (by then I was constantly toying with the idea of quietly dropping off the back in order to increase my comfort level).
So first marathon chalked up, well ahead of my time and placing expectation. Absolute inexperience nicely mitigated by knowing well the speed and strengths of Mike and Reece for effort pacing (though I did consciously ease off after the 1st big downhill finding myself at the front of the course at the 8km mark).
One day post event, I can honestly say I’d like some more please. Bring on the Tarawera!