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Penny Comins: back to speed
Posted by: Penny Comins
Posted on: Monday 23rd March 2015


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After a trip to Ironman New Zealand which turned into a surprising rollercoaster of neagtive and positive emotions, Penny Comins was quickly back to her 2015 running goals at the Martinborough Round the Vines Half Marathon in New Zealand. Based on the Marathon du Medoc in France, the event passes through vineyards... with wine at all of the drink stations. "Not like me at all", Penny admits that she bypassed all of the wine on course... but fortunately managed to collect some wine at the end as a prize!


Back on the speedy road and boy does going fast hurt more than going long. It is 4am the day after Martinborough Round the Vines Half Marathon and I am wide awake. My body is twitchy and my head is racing. Going fast is hard.

A stunning course was set through vineyards of the Martinborough Region, based on the Marathon du Medoc format. Spotted dogs, butterflies, life guards and barrels of wine all wandered around the start area. I felt out of place in plain running gear. At least the six girls I had come with were all wearing hot pink Headsweats Visors.

My coach, James Kuegler wanted me to hold 4.35 (per Km) pace resulting in a 1.35 half in prep for Rotorua Marathon, a close 48 days away. Held as a fundraiser for the local school there were more fun runners than competitive athletes. As a result I was first off the make-shift start line and before I knew it running too fast in the lead pack of men. Easing off I let two girls past me and settled in to my own rhythm of heavy breathing and tried focusing on technique.

Martinborough Round the Vines Half Marathon

My mind always wanders, usually thinking about what boy I might marry and what it will look like on the day. Ridiculous I know; I can hold an average heart rate of 183 for a half marathon and plan my future wedding to a mystery man.

The aid stations are all themed and later I find out the girls were getting syringes of wine at the doctors station. A great atmosphere is forming and on the second lap I am weaving through hundreds of 10km walkers chatting their way around the lap. After my rust-of-doubt last weekend I enjoy seeing them out having a good time and didn't worry too much about having to weave around them.

Penny Comins

The last few kilometres hurt more than they should in this stage of training for a marathon. I start to think I need to re-evaluate my goals for Rotorua Marathon as I finish in 1.39 and think I may pass out. Luckily the girls were there and all was well after a bit of water and a sit down. They were mightily pleased too as I won some nice wine for coming second.

A great weekend. Bring on next week in the journey to CCC!


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