I know for a lot of people 2020 has been a rough year. I have certainly experienced some ups and downs and I realise a lot of people have had it a lot tougher than I have. Upon reflection I have a lot to be grateful for and there are some definite highlights that I have experienced.
Firstly I have probably had the most successful year in sports this year. I have had several PBs (Personal Bests) and have even won a few races! There have not been as many events in 2020 for obvious reasons which makes the few events I was able to take part in even more special.
The first event of 2020 for me was the Mount Festival 70.3. This was my first PB of the year. I managed to take 23 minutes off my PB and break the 6 hour barrier for the half ironman distance. I have written about the Mount Festival here
Soon after the Mount Festival @run.vince.run and I took part in the Harbour to Hills event (this was two weeks after the half ironman). We both competed in the Aquathon on the Saturday which was a national championship event. Both Vince and I won our age groups and therefore can call ourselves national champions . This was my first age group win of the year.
A couple of months later and we went into lockdown, which disrupted my plan to run the Waterfront half marathon. I was hoping to get a PB on the flat and fast course. My half marathon PB was set in Christchurch in 2014 (1:43) and I had not been able to beat it since. The Waterfront half marathon was moved to September. Vince and I had also planned on doing a running festival in Samoa in July which was also cancelled until 2021 (and has recently been further postponed to 2022).
Lockdown meant we got a lot of quality training in and I ended up getting a 5k PB while on a training run for the Samoa run series. Read my post about how my lockdown training went here
Fast forward to September and my training for the waterfront half marathon was going well. I was hitting the pace of 4:42 which I needed to hit my target time of 1:40 (an 100 minute half marathon). Unfortunately two days before the half marathon was scheduled to go ahead it was changed to a virtual race. Auckland had just come out of a second lockdown and was still at a Level 2 lockdown, which meant that groups no larger than 50 were allowed. The organisers of the Waterfront half tried all they could to put the event on (including having entrants pick a start time and start in groups of 10) but they were still not allowed to go ahead with the race. So I decided that I was going to still try for that PB and Vince very kindly offered to pace me. We ran as much as we could on the course - doing two loops of a 5k out and back and then adding a little bit on at the end. The out and back nature of the ‘course’ we chose meant that the way back to the start was into a head wind, so we did the last couple of kilometres with the wind behind us. Funnily enough both Vince and I had been doing the maths in our heads, I knew that at 16k I could afford to slow the pace and I would still get a PB, but I am really proud of how I dug it in, and didn’t let my head get ‘in the way’ as it often has in previous races. With 300m to go Vince said to me “Leave it all out on the course Kirsty, finish with nothing left” so I increased my speed. I knew it was going to be close to going under 1:40. I finished and collapsed onto the grass on the side of the footpath. I had a 3 minute PB! 1:40:08! It wasn’t under 1:40, but I did it with no aid stations or crowds to cheer me on, and I now know I am capable of more than I had given myself credit for. I had broken a PB that I had had for over 6 years!
My PB half marathon!
Soon after that I was offered the opportunity to pace the Auckland half marathon for the 4th year in a row. I asked to do the 2 hour pacing (having done the 2:10 for the last three years). I then got the idea that if I did another half marathon the Auckland half marathon would be my 50th (I did my 40th on my 40th birthday in 2019- link to that story
So I entered the Sri Chinmoy half marathon. The plan was to practice my pacing for the Auckland half that was two weeks later. I got a bit carried away with the chance to take part in a real race and ended up running a 1:46 (very comfortably) and getting first place female! My second win of the year!
Me with the second place female, a friend of mine, Kim Dirks
Two weeks later was the Auckland half marathon and my 50th half marathon. The other 2 hour pacer didn’t show so there was a lot of pressure on me and I didn’t want to let anyone down. I had so much fun with the pacing, talking to all the other runners as I went and I crossed the line in 1:59:45.
At the finish line of my 50th half marathon
A couple of hours later I was on the start line of the 5k race. Last year I had done the 5k after pacing the half marathon and I won my age group. I had been training for the Queenstown marathon so both races had been part of a 32k training run. I was not sure whether I could do the same thing this year since I hadn’t been training for a longer distance and I had run a faster half marathon, but I was going to give it a go. Last year I managed a 25.01, this year I ran a 22:30. This was another 5k PB! I couldn’t believe I got a PB after already doing a half marathon in the morning. As Vince said- imagine what you could do on fresh legs! I also won my age group and retained my title :) (my third win and third PB for the year).
My two medals for the day!
My last PB of the year was for the Olympic distance triathlon. I did my first Olympic distance tri at the end of 2019 and finished in 2:49 (I was hoping to do under 3 hours in that race).
This time the race was in Tauranga. My swim was good, and my bike was not as fast as I had been hoping for but there was definitely more wind on the bike. What I was really pleased with was my run. I did the 10k run in 50 minutes. This is only a few minutes slower than my 10k PB (of 47:10) so to run that off the bike in a triathlon and on a course that was not completely flat.
On the run at the Tinman Triathlon
So, athletically I have had a very successful year. Personally it has also been good. Vince and I are healthy and happy. A couple of weeks ago we had another highlight, I got to be a bridesmaid for my best friend (luckily there are no restrictions on gatherings). Her wedding was a fantastic way to end the year.
2021- what has the next year got in store. I am doing my first FULL IRONMAN! Its only a couple of months away and I am really looking forward to it. My training has been going well and I am really enjoying it.
I have also signed up for the Melbourne 70.3 in November and another 50k ultra marathon (my second time doing an ultra) in September. Vince and I are both doing the Mount Festival in a few weeks. I am not sure whether I will PB on the course again, but I will definitely try. I would love to do under 3 hours on the bike, and under 2 hours on the run (which I haven’t managed yet) so fingers crossed and I will definitely give it my all.
So, I hope everyone who is reading this is well, and has an amazing 2021! We have survived 2020!
Happy New Year from Vince and I
Oh and I also got a PR for the 1k!
In terms of stats for the year I have run 2119k, cycled 6473k and swum 267k. I have exercised on 319 of the days this year and completed over 635 hours of training!