But will the deer be im­pressed?

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.

Central Otago Mirror - - SPORT -

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: 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 am­still 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.

I 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 lots of en­durance ath­letes ap­par­ently wear. Some­how it did not quite work with my out­fit. Any­way, throw­ing a banana in 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.

I was pleased at the Gold­fields Min­ing Cen­tre 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 my­mu­mand took off.

I ama 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,’’ Mum­gushed.

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.

Run­ning coun­try: Re­porter Jo McKen­zie-McLean com­plet­ing the first 5km of the 10km Rus­tic Run near Cromwell.

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