Day 12, Palmerston North to Martinborough

175km 1460m elevation A Very Big Day.

My original plan for today was to get as far as Masterton but I realised if I pushed a bit more this day the run into Wellington would be much more manageable. I booked at the Martinborough Top 10 so I’d have an incentive to keep peddling when my legs wanted to quit. 

Heading over Pahiatua hill I heard voices behind me, fortunately not a hallucination but the crew from Whangarei who had dragged me into Mangakino. They’d lost Rob due to injury but it was a treat to see Jane, Paula, Lizzie John and Mike again. I’d met some of them on the Whangarei - Whananaki training trip I’d done with Scott and Nerena. They kindly invited me to hang on the back of the bunch which is essentially what made my big day possible.  It was very wet and quite windy so on my own would have been super tough. 

In Pahiatua we stopped at  Fondest Love cafe who were having their second birthday and the owner gave us all bags of lollies. 

They were a mini miracle since heading into Eketahuna, Lizzie and John who were leading put the hammer down and I only just hung on by the skin of my teeth. That and the fact Mike refused to let me drop off the back! I was bit chilly by the time we stopped for lunch but some chips and soup at The Lazy Graze got me sorted. 

I was able to cling on the back of the bunch most of the way to Masterton but they got away from me in the last 5km. I was bonking. I thanked them for letting me join them and said goodbye. It worked well since the rain had stopped  so was able to look around and appreciate the beauty of the country we live in.  Whenever I go past an abandoned house or building I enjoy inventing a history for it and wondering who built it, and what led to its eventual demise. 

Knowing people are tracking you each day is also a good incentive to keep going. I tried to finish strong, it’s fortunate I didn’t actually know what my total distance was going to be or I would have given myself an excuse to take it easy! 

I shopped up a storm at the local Four Square, ate a good amount of recovery food and headed to bed feeling like I’d really earned it.