It started with the REAL series duathlon (5km run and 10km bike) which kicked off bright and early at 8am. It was only the 2nd duathlon I've competed in, and it was 6 years since I had competed in the last one. I'd been feeling under the weather for a couple of days beforehand with some kind of virus that I couldn't put down to anything in particular, just achy muscles and headaches, but it was enough to realise that I wasn't my usual sunny-side-up self.
So it was with a few butterflies that I woke up on Sunday wondering just how I'd go. God shined his love on us big time with the weather and I opened the curtains at home to a day that was perfectly clear and still, just darn chilly! The race organiser told us it was the best weather they'd had in the 7 years they've been running the race, so I sent up a silent prayer to Him at that point for giving me a big positive to start the day with!
At the kick-off time of 8am, Tracey and I lined up with the 700 other women doing the duathlon or 5km walk option. Despite doing a few pre-race warm up exercises, my toes and fingers were completely numb with cold before we started. I was SO glad I made the last minute decision to bring along my cycling gloves and (despite looking like a bit of an egg) I ended up wearing them for the first run as well as the bike leg as it actually took the whole of the first 3.5km run to get any proper feeling back in them again.
The best part of the race for me was the surprise at seeing my little family cheering me on as we headed over the starting line. I'd known they would be coming down at some point but had no idea they would make it down in time to be there for the whole race. Every time we finished a leg back at the central point, I had big cheers from Noah jumping up and down saying 'go mummy go' with Mylo looking completely nonplussed by the whole thing (which made me quietly chuckle inside every time I saw him!)
I was quite surprised at the number of women who walked the run legs of the duathlon, so we ended up passing a huge number of people who had gone in the earlier start waves during our first run. The bike section was really good fun apart from the slight headwind on the outward legs (we did two x 5km loops) and also having to pay constant attention to all the other riders in front and passing from behind.
Our time clocked in at exactly one hour (1:00:39 to be exact) when we ran over the finish line, and I felt incredibly good, and not even that tired, just like I'd done a longer version of a normal morning's exercise. Maybe we could have pushed it harder and got a quicker time, but given how I'd been feeling I was very happy with how we did, and it was so much fun to have done the whole race alongside one of my best friends! We also finished in the top half of the field too which was great.
A LARGE trim latte was consumed straight afterwards in a nearby cafe before Tracey had to get straight back on the road for the 4-hour car journey back to the Hawkes Bay. I felt pretty lazy by comparison as I went home, devoured a hot cross bun, had a long, leisurely shower, straightened my hair and then spent most of the afternoon lying in bed finishing The Hunger Games which I hadn't been able to put down these past few days.
The reward for the day, as well as a belated birthday celebration, was an evening out at one of Wellington's finest restaurants, Logan Brown. It had been at least five years since we'd last eaten here and all we remembered about why it has such a great reputation came flooding back as we experienced the most delicious food and quality service once again.
We were extremely fortunate to have received a generous voucher from a friend a while back that we were able to use, and when combined with the Entertainment Book voucher, the meal only cost us a quarter of what it would have usually.
The inside of Logan Brown used to be the old Bank of NZ building and just sitting staring at the decor all night is enough to heighten the senses. And that's before they bring out the food!
And, yes I know, I seem to be making a habit of taking toilet-in-restaurant self-portraits. Weird.
Because it is worth sharing, I'd like to introduce you to our gorgeous food on the night:
Top left: Seared Firstlight Wagyu Skirt with Smoked Eggplant, Corn Crisps & Wagyu Hash
Bottom right: Logan Brown's signature dish - Paua Ravioli
Bottom left: Venison Chops with Beetroot Risotto, Goats Marscapone & Black Pudding
Top right: Rangatikei Lamb Rack with Slow Cooked Shoulder, Pea Dumplings & Gazpacho Vinaigrette
Top left: Truffled Fries with Reggiano Parmesan
Top right: Elderflower & Lychee Brulee with Mango Vanilla Terrine & Lychee Meringue
Bottom left: Dessert Tastes of Logan Brown
Bottom right: BYO Escarpment Vineyard Reisling on ice
It was a shame that I was feeling pretty tired after the big morning by this stage, so by the time the mains arrived at 9pm my husband joked that I was yawning and making about as much conversation as a 'store mannequin'. Charming!
I don't look that asleep do I?! Or maybe I do. I'd like to think that tired or not, it's still an improvement on the red-faced, frizzy hair post-race look from earlier in the day though!
So it was an action packed start to the day complete with an amazingly decadent flourish to finish.