Team Zlatan Heineken

Auckland, 20.10.2019

In an parallel universe, this is an entry about how we achieved something grand and remarkable in a different country. An uplifting story of two born winners getting medals (of participation) along with around 8,000 other people.

In this universe however, this is an entry about how we trained for the Auckland Half Marathon/11km "Traverse" but succumbed to injury and illness just before the starting gun and received no medals (of participation or otherwise).

As a keen distance runner who has been out of the game for a what feels like an absolute age now I was immensely nervous/excited when Jane suggested that I run the Auckland half. I’ve cut down significantly on running due to some health problems last year and never quite got back to it with the move to pastures new. It’s pretty difficult to run whilst your on the road as showers are limited and often we’d be doing other activities (scaling huge mountains, surfing, kayaking) which are absolutely exhausting anyway. Our extended stay working in the city seemed then an ideal opportunity to pound the pavement and keep fit at the office. The only downside was that, as the race was in the city and started over the North shore at 7am, I’d need to be at the start line ridiculously early to make the race.

To my total surprise, Jane suggested that as she would have to take me into the city anyway, she “may as well” do the 11k race. The four and half years we’ve been together she’s never once expressed and interest in running any considerable distance (in fact quite the opposite), but we’re here to try new things so this was set to be one of our many firsts of this year. As I write this, I'm now fairly sure it's a first that won't happen in this lifetime as Jane is still unable to walk and experiencing a rather challenging time.

Oblivious to our impending doom, Team “Zlatan Heineken” downed a few beers and signed up to Run the City (for anyone who missed it, this was our name suggestion for Baby A- Lachlan James is marginally better).

Training went brilliantly for the first five weeks - we were enjoying being outside and running along the beautiful Auckland coastlines (like Hobson Bay and the Orakei Basin pictured here) but it all came to an abrupt halt a week before the race as Jane sprinted up a (painfully sheer) hill in Albert Park. She's damaged and we're still not

100% sure what the damage is - to be confirmed in another entry! Running did give us a golden opportunity to discover numerous urban beaches in the Auckland area that we otherwise may have missed out on.

As a result of the aforementioned incline of Albert Park, what was once an fairly enjoyable part of the routine turned into an injured Jane waiting around for me to complete numerous 10 mile runs. These tend to go quite quickly when you're running but according to the very rigid rules of actual time, it takes ages.

Things went from bad to worse, and on the Friday (T-minus 2 days), I woke up early as usual, with the aim of making some tea to wake Jane from her slumber. A poorly Lynda was downstairs already, and expressed some surprise at the fact that neither of us had caught this

mysterious sickness which had been plaguing her all week. My retort "We're made of tough stuff, we'll be fine". When I returned to our room with the aforementioned tea, Jane wasn’t feeling so good...

I felt fine so I persevered. Looking back, this was a terrible, horrible idea. We now know that we had been struck with Norovirus, and by half nine my heart rate was about 3 beats per minute and my stomach in a rolling hitch. My Market Research compatriots were hosting a breakfast for another team that morning and I was compelled to run from the room to get some air just as we were doing the introductions. I think perhaps I came across as a little odd...

Whilst Jane sensibly (but uncomfortably) napped at home, I battled through my two meetings for the day. After what felt like a lifetime, I left the office at 2.30pm to crawl through the sun-kissed city like a zombie with time to kill. I managed picked up our race packs for Sunday's big event on the way back, (and possibly infect half of Auckland), even though I knew it was beyond optimistic to think that we might partake. The bright side of this whole thing is that we got some very loud hats as souvenirs and now I know what activated charcoal does...

(Barely) Working Title: How to retire in your twenties


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