Jo McKenzie-McLean is a woman on a mission – lose weight, get fit, compete in the Northburn Station 50km Mountain Run in March. She reports on her progress.
I have been clambering up a lot of craggy Central Otago hill country the past couple of weeks and a thought that often has passed through my head is that I'm glad ''the roar'' is over.
I have not only run 5km through fog across hilly farmland, but also most recently the 10km Rustic Run at the Goldfields Mining Centre near Cromwell.
I am still early on in this exercise journey and was feeling quite anxious as I sorted through ''appropriate'' racing gear for the run.
I fossicked through my drawers – I was told to prepare for freezing temperatures – and grabbed my three-quarter stretch pants, a pair of woollen work socks (because all my gym socks are cotton and holey), a merino top, headband and my fancy new neck scarf thing that lots of endurance athletes apparently wear.
Somehow it did not quite work with my outfit.
Anyway, throwing a banana in at the last minute, I farewell my two chicken-poxy children cosied up by the fire and get a good luck from hubby as I run out the door.
Six weeks ago, I would never have been getting up early to head out of town for a 10km race up some rocky Central Otago hill.
On arrival at the Goldfields Mining Centre, I was pleased to see I did not have to be worried about not looking the part. There was a woman dressed up as an Indian and teenagers wearing Rastafarian dreads. I fitted right in.
In a typical fluster, and having packed my gear with so much consideration, I left half of it jammed in my pocket as I ripped my jacket off, threw it at my mum and took off.
I am a vocal person – I often snort when I laugh, I sigh heavily when I breathe and when I exercise I grunt, groan and occasionally swear. I found myself apologising to people running past me for the strange animal-like noises bursting from me as I lugged myself up a steep hill.
If there were hunters around, they would think they were on the tail of a mighty fine stag.
I was amazed at people's reactions. ''Not far to go,'' some said. ''Good on you – nearly there,'' others shouted out.
One girl running in the opposite direction even held her hand out to me for a high-five.
As I ran exhausted to the finish line to the sound of a cow bell clanging me in, cheers erupted from my parents, aunt and a few friends.
''I'm so proud of you,'' Mum gushed.
It was slightly over the top – particularly when there were people doing half and full marathons, climbing 30-degree hills on hand and knee – but I'll take it.
- The Southland Times