We had just competed in the New Zealand Road Relay Championships in the over 50's grade. The relay was an 8 person event where we ran 80 km [50 miles] from Christchurch to Akaroa and came in ahead of the rest.
Having been battered and bruised physically and mentally throughout the year, Saturday was a huge highlight. I received my medal with both a sense of pride and relief! In living memory I do not recall suffering as much as I did in this race to finish my 6.8 km [4+ miles] uphill lap.
I was lap 6 of 8 and our team was in first place when I took the baton. I have struggled to run on the flat with a groin strain for almost 6 months so the first 400 metres to the start of the hill climb was uncomfortable. When beginning the climb I began to feel a little better as uphill running requires minimal leg stride and I knew I could physically run more freely. Boy did the lungs hurt very quickly! Desperation set in too as I was passed half way up the hill and relinquished first position. With dogged determination and great mental anguish I hung on until the top, fighting the urge to walk or stop, leaving my team just 10 seconds down at the change. From there we took the lead and came out victorious.
Here are some photos of my race and medal presentation! One particular running photo taken at the very top explains what effort it took me to get to the finish line!