Race Day: Rotorua is 4 hours away from Auckland so we spent the weekend in a hotel. On race day I ate a light breakfast 3 hours before race time. By the time 9am came around I was more than ready. The doubts and fears were long past, I was ready to prove to myself that I'm tough enough for a marathon. Before the start of the marathon there was a Haka!! Like every big event in New Zealand, a Haka always kicks it off. For Americans reading this post, it's a Maori war dance that's sometimes attempted by football teams like BYU. Too bad, they don't do it right at all. It makes a really big impression when big Maori dudes do it with the tongue, eyes, tatoos, and tribal dress. The Haka definitely got me ready to do it to it.
The marathon course was measured in kilometers which made me have to really adjust my pacing and timing. I still think in miles so seeing signs like "40KM" to go was a bit daunting. The race looped around Lake Rotorua and took you through some hard core New Zealand "bush".
I felt super duper great for the first 32km of the race. I realized that the original pace I set was too slow for me so in the middle of the run I made an adjustment and gained a lot of ground because of it.
These beauties are my REWARD for running the marathon. Life doesn't get better than this.