Thursday, January 04, 2007

Fun Run?

Just because fun and run rhyme,
it doesn't imply that they should ever be linked together!

OK, so entering a fun run isn't really about being in a 'Far Away Land', but it is about being in a 'Far Away Reality' and that is close enough for me. Really I just want the world to know that I was there, I was one of the 26,000 odd people who decided that Sunday morning was a lovely morning to run 15.2km!

The plans for entering the Run for the Kids started in early December. It seemed like a feasible option; to train for 4 solid months to be fit enough to enter. Well before we knew it January, February and even March had been and gone, and so had my plans for training and getting fit. Oh well, I had said that I was going to do it and I am not one to go back on my word.

I read the pre-race booklet, skipping the pages that mentioned about how all the training would pay off on the day, focusing on tips for a successful fun. These included eating lots of carbs and going light on the protein the night before, not drinking alcohol and drinking plenty of water. This I translated to - eat does fish and chips with Sharn and the kids for dinner, (minus the fish), not opening a bottle of wine and drinking a few bottles of water. All this seemed to do was to make my stomach queasy from the greasy food that was floating around on top of all of the water. It also kept me awake with multiple bathroom visits during the night!

Race day we met up with the rest of the 'City Pigs' and wandered down towards the starting area. It was mayhem. I have never seen so many people all wanting to run! I had had more water to drink with breakfast - as suggested in the tips booklet. This made me need to go to the toilet again. Alas the line for the toilet was at least 100 people deep, per entry door, per truck. I wouldn't be getting there any time soon.

As it was 8.30, the scheduled start time for the run, I figured I could hold on until the first 'emergency toilet' at the 3 km mark, if only the run would begin. Eventually the race began for the wheelchair athletes, the elite athletes, the fast runners and eventually the rest of us. It took forever just to shuffle to the starting line, but eventually we were on our way.

I ran with Larinda and Jen for the first 2 and a bit kms and then stopped to take photos in the tunnel. I could see them ahead of me, but I could also see the toilet. By this stage the need for a toilet was much more important than having someone to run with. I shuffled into the toilet line, only to stand there for 15 or so minutes, waiting patiently in line with all the other people who didn't want to wait in line before the race, before the clock was ticking!

Back on the road and out of the tunnel, I was on the long road to the bridge. The traffic had thinned out and you could actually move comfortably along the road, regardless of the speed you were traveling. I was middle of the walking pack. I was overtaking quite a few people, but runners were overtaking me left, right and centre. It was amazing seeing so many people moving together, some whole families with the kids in a stroller, others with the kids running alongside. If a few cases, the dad carrying the kids.

Just before the bridge, there were quite a few departures from the road. They weren't pulling out, they were just making the most of the last shrub-like toilet facilities planted alongside the road (Oh to be a boy - it would have been so much easier!) before the bridge.

The bridge was a long slow climb, passing the 7 km mark just as the bridge crossed the Yarra. I thought that it was an opportune time to begin sending random text messages to people and snapping a few more pictures. This may be the only time I stand on top of the Bolte Bridge - I had to have photographic proof.

It was more than 2km over the bridge, and we hit the 9km mark just before the exit to Footscray Road. I had made it - I had achieved my goal - to make it over the Bolte. If you were taking too long, a bus would pick you up and drive you over the Bolte! Now all I had to do was finish the race.

The stroll back through the city was quite pleasant. There were heaps of people about wishing all the participants well. Wandering along the front of Crown was relaxing, thinking that we were almost done.

I hadn't actually looked at the map to realise that we crossed back over the Yarra at Queens Bridge, to go around Flinders Street Station. It made sense, but it was disheartening to have the finish line moved further away.

Time for a distraction, a few more text messages to be sent. I even tried calling Sharn to try and find out where the kids were. Unfortunately there was too much noise to actually work out where to find the kids, or to explain where they needed to be to see me run. I could have stopped to look for them, but by now, 2 hours in, I was well and ready to sit down.

The finish line was only 800 meters away when Sean found me. He jogged with me part of the way, then took off cross country to get a photo of me crossing the finish line. I couldn't believe that I had the energy to actually run at the end (it may not have been very fast, but it was definitely a run!).

My first fun run was done. 15.2 km in 2 hours and 11 minutes. It wasn't as bad as I imagined, I will even try to do it again next year, perhaps even run some more of it. I would like to think that I will train before the next run...but that is a whole year away, why start now?