Showing posts with label Wine. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Wine. Show all posts

Monday, 1 June 2015

St Clair Vineyard Half Marathon

I feel the title alone will explain why I was persuaded to take part in this half marathon.

Being Scottish and new to New Zealand, I’m keen to try and seek out opportunities to see new places and should there be some running and wine involved then it is a bonus! I therefore decided to p*ss off call the race organisers the week before the race and see if I could get a last minute place. I was in luck as some people had dropped out in the last couple of days so I could sneak in.

On the Friday night, fellow club member Megan Murdoch and I head up to Blenheim. Megan has been training hard and is feeling fresh. I jest that she is looking to place in the race and my suspicions are confirmed when she only has one glass of wine instead of one bottle the night before. Only one glass of wine? This is serious.

Armed with my camera we head to the race in the morning - I’ve decided to try and make a video blog of the event to send home to Scotland as the scenery is just too beautiful not to share! Video at the end or here:

The start of the race has one of the most relaxed atmospheres I have ever experienced. It is hard to articulate, but people do not seem as nervous at the start of this race as is usually the case. Perhaps I am not the only one toeing the line for the scenery, food and the wine?

And we are off! 2k in and we are onto the trails. I drop my iPod and feel extremely sheepish. The use of iPods in races already divides opinion with runners and I make matters worse by trying to run back against the flow of runners to pick mine up. SORRY, but I enjoy nothing more than running through beautiful surroundings with my buddies, Taylor and Ed, singing to me.

The crowds part and we are running through vineyards, actually running through the rows of vines that end up making WINE, the kiwis seem to be oblivious to this fact but I am running through thinking that this is how Charlie must have felt in the Chocolate Factory.  I then get confused as to where I am for a minute when I see some bagpipers!

I start to get quite hot. Scotland rarely goes above 15 degrees so I’m not built to handle the heat. I know we are to get wine at some point and I manage to convince myself that they are going to give us wine DURING the race. I’m not sure if that is allowed but the thought is keeping me from passing out with the heat. The first check point arrives and I scour it looking for wine. They have honey (yum) and some water, but no wine…

Around 10k, I am very VERY hot. You can see in my video that my face is very very red.  I start to become obsessed with water or wine. Water or wine. Or Jesus. Who can turn water into wine. Win: Win. We get to the checkpoint and there is water AND sauvignon blanc sorbet – I’ll TAKE IT!!! The sorbet is the best thing I could have been given. I walk along enjoying the scenery and taking a wee video whilst I eat my sorbet. I hold back from patting myself on the back whilst thinking life is pretty sweet.

Around 14k, we run alongside the Wairau River. I contemplate jumping in to cool down but think the embankment is too steep for me to get back out. Don’t do it Heather! There will be more food or wine soon. A fellow runner must have noticed that I was ready to jump as he decides to distract me by talking about the scenery. He also tells me that If I enjoyed the Hanmer half marathon and here, that I should consider entering a race in Twizel in October. I’m not really sure what the rest of our conversation involved as I couldn’t get over the fact that there is a place called Twizel.  A really cool bongo drummer gives me a smile and some words of encouragement and I forget that I was even hot and contemplated jumping into a random river.

The next aid station has lollies (aka sweeties to the UK) and water. I start to run towards the lolly lady and imagine that I must resemble the Tazmanian Devil. A Scottish slobbering sweaty mess talking gibberish. If she was disgusted, she did a good job of not showing it! Marshals are awesome, aren’t they?

At 17k, I spy some more handsome men wearing kilts and playing the bagpipes. I seem to be the only person who think bagpipers are an unusual sight for a race that isn’t in Scotland. I love it. New Zealand is keeping me on my toes!

Around 19k, I make another friend who tells me I am looking too fresh. She clearly never saw the red face phase that the sorbet cured. We indulge in small talk until my focus is moved to the two lovely girls who are handing out something that seems to be making people happy. As I approach, I try to hide my disappointment when I think she is handing us grapes. I am then corrected that it is butterscotch truffles– much better! I go to butterscotch truffley heaven that could only have been made better with some wine.

20k – I accept that it is unlikely that we are going to get any wine DURING the race. Probably best as I have already consumed a variety of items and I’m not sure my liver could process wine on top of that. Another person tells me I look too fresh and comfortable. I look down to the puddle of sweat on my t-shirt and seriously contemplate what part of my red faced, slobbering, snottery, sweaty self seems to be giving people the impression that I am fresh and comfortable?

The last kilometre is counted down. As I approach the finishing line 3rd placed female Megan Murdoch hands me a bottle of wine. This, ladies and gentleman, is exactly why I am friends with this girl. She reads my mind.

We head for some bales of hay to sit on and have a nice glass of orange juice… I’m kidding… we had some wine, of course! Out of the cardboard cups that were meant for water. Priorities, people. Wine first, water second.

The after event is same as the half marathon - awesome! You would think a school hall is a questionable venue but it has been transformed with lights, food stalls and trees and is just gorgeous and the food is amazing! We dance the night away and head home before midnight so that I do not turn into a pumpkin. 

If anyone picked up a white slipper, it’s mine.

Till next year St Clair!

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Dumbarton 10K - 44.15? Yes please!

SO, this is my first blog.  I have always said I would start one and after a year of injury the last couple weeks seem like a good place to start.

My name is Heather Calderwood, also known affectionately to some as "The Flying Pig".

A not-so-quick & boring synopsis of where I am today:

Like most runners I entered into the world of Ultra Marathons after being the WHW support runner for my brother in 2010 (22hr 22min).

After completing my first (and only) ultra in April 2011 - The Highland Fling (53 mile trail ultra marathon) where I debuted as 3rd Female in 9hr 42min and also took 3rd in Scottish Champs and UK Trail Champs - not bad eh?! I ran a 10k a week later with a friend, at around 7/8k I felt something around my inner thigh and inside knee. Despite progressively getting worse and worse, I of course, plodded on.

My leg deteriorated in the weeks following the 10k, to the point I was walking with a limp. Months of physio and a MRI scan revealed severe groin and hamstring injuries. So severe that despite months of not running, the areas were still showing severely inflamed and damaged in the scan. With a hip and pelvis also out of alignment these were unable to heal.

Banished from all exercise whilst things calmed down I effectively did nothing but ate junk food and drank red wine until February 2012 when I was given the O.K to start back training. Fling and WHW Goblet glory still a possibility I threw myself back into training.  Training runs with Craig, John Kennedy and David Gow meant there was A LOT of swearing, falling, tears, snotters, percy pigs and hot baths but...I was getting there! There would be no good times but it would be do-able. The Goblet looked to be within my sweaty grasp. 2 months of running I decided I had established enough of a base fitness to return to my running group.

1.5 weeks in and my leg felt "off" one Saturday morning run.  The following Monday night's 2 mile warm up was relegated to a walk back to the carpark and hitching a lift home. Emergency appointment at physio made and banished again for 8 weeks. Give or take some weeks, and empty bottles of wine, this roughly leaves me where I am today.

Dumbarton 10K - 44.15

Despite only being back for 4 weeks and swearing to take things easy, my brother beating my Highland fling time (not enough credit is given to sibling rivalry in the sporting world) and watching the Clydebank 10k was enough to reignite my racing fire and I promptly went home and entered the Dumbarton 10k.

I had a game plan of getting to 5k and feeling good. 5k came and went and I felt great. Brilliant. So executed the next part of plan which was to push the last 5k.  This is where my lack of fitness showed.  At the 8k point I was, what can only be described as, "done in". Nearly relegated to walking I realised that if I started to walk I may not be able to start running again, therefore had not choice but to slow down last 2k.

If my face wasn't already a deep purple, I am sure my cheeks would have went a shade of red with embarrassment at my amateur move to fly past people at 5/6k, who then appeared to sprint by me at 8/9k. Training point? Learning to pace myself...again.

Even with my slow final 2k, I crossed the line in 44.15 - DELIGHTED! Not near my PB (40.24) but personally I am delighted with this result!

Medal as proof :-) 

Before I broach on novel length - I think I'll leave my first post at that!