THE CONTINUING JOURNEY

So, initially the seed was sown after following Dean Karnazis’ Run Across America. This of course became the DREAM. 036However I began to think of what could be done in NZ of a similar magnitude. A few people had run the length of NZ ( a distance of approximately 2000kms) but what could be done in the range of 5000 kms? This is where I looked at running around NZ – East and West coasts of both islands. I decided to stick to main roads and came up with a route of approximately 5300 kms – a big undertaking – with an itinerary worked out over 70 days. This meant averaging 73 kms per day with some days more and some less. The last 24 hours would entail covering 150 kms with the idea being “ if I wasn’t written off already, I certainly would be at the end”. This sort of run is something that had never been attempted in NZ.

The first challenge was to find a major sponsor and luckily this was achieved, with the following finding someone as support driver. Again this was achieved with a good friend offering to do the whole 70 days. I cant say enough of the importance of good support – they do at least as much as the runner does.

Whilst trying to keep up the training, organize the run, work full time, family life I was really looking forward to getting started. I was confident ( without being over confident) that I would achieve this dream and was taking a lot of learning from my Auckland to Christchurch run ( 70 kms per day for 15 days ) into this venture.
Sadly to say my work told me a matter of weeks before I was due to leave that they couldn’t give me the time off. At this stage I was left with only one option and that was to leave.

250At the start my mind was in a good space – I was expecting the good days as well as the really hard days and this really helped. There are always going to be the good and the hard so it was a case of enjoying it when things were going well and dropping it back to say the next lamp post when things were getting hard. Probably, initially the hardest part was days 16 – 21. I was in a sense in new territory having only run these sort of distances for 15 days straight. I had to battle the “ mind “ for a few days to get through this and it became so important to break everything down into smaller pieces. If I had kept focusing on the end target it would have become a huge struggle. Here again it became so important to have a routine which basically stayed the same day in and day out.This generally was :

4 am – up and have breakfast
5am – on the road. The first 1 -2 kms were always walked to get the body moving again. After that it was generally do 10 km, have a 5min break and the same again. There sometimes slightly longer breaks for eating.
4 – 5pm. This became the stopping time each day and straight to accommodation, ice, massage, shower, eat, update the daily log and sleep about 930 pm.

140The routine worked well and the body adjusted fairly quickly. This was a magnificent run around some very beautiful country and I ran back into the finishing point at the designated time. The other great point from the run was getting the message out about Mental health and the great effect any form of exercise has on peoples mental wellness.

On arriving home was there rest time?……NO. Initially it became important to “ wind “ the body down from the daily grind of the last 70 days. I couldn’t just stop running!! Next was to have a goal of what next. I had worked this out whilst running the country and was to run solo around our lovely Lake Taupo – not once – twice ( a distance of 310 kms in under 48 hours). Woops – I only had just over 3 months before this next target!!!

I will leave that till next time and bring you all to date with the next goal – I think its something set for April/May 2014!!!

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