It begins on Saturday in the city where I was staying overnight with some girlfriends (who were running the 10km) in a hotel in Southbank. We went out for dinner and ate and drank thoughtfully in mind for the upcoming race.
Evidence: mocktails, despite my longing for a proper one.
I didn’t sleep very well, even though I had the privilege of having a bed to myself because I was going to be travelling the longer distance. I kept having dreams about the race, and how well (or poorly, more like) I’d end up going. My training had been going really well up until two weeks ago when I pulled up after a 13km run with shin splints. The pain from those postponed any further proper training runs. The only conditioning I’ve had since was a near 10km walk with Adam and the kids last weekend. So I was nervous. The one thing in my favour was that I was in good health – a stark contrast from last time.
In sum, when my alarm went off at 6.25am, I got up with a pretty equal split of apprehension and excitement. After dressing, I caught the lift downstairs where the reception area was quite full of other runners wearing their yellow half marathon numbers. I fell into step with a lovely woman from Horsham who was a little bit befuddled as to where to go, so we walked across the river in the pre-dawn gloom, cut and highlighted by the lovely city lights. We separated when I went to go get some breakfast and it turns out I’d dawdled so much that by the time I made my way to the starting line the horn had already gone for the fastest runners to begin. That was when this shot was taken.
After giving a fair bit of thought as to what I would listen to throughout the race I eventually settled on trying to finish a fair proportion of the story to Zombies, Run!, making sure the music that is interspersed throughout was music I really wanted to listen to, seeing as you cannot skip songs while the app is running (or I haven’t yet found a way to do that if it’s possible).
Ignoring a slight case of indigestion because I’d eaten too quickly, I put on my headphones and got ready to run, creeping closer to the starting line as each wave set off.
Then it was my turn. And I started running. And running. And running.
In fact, I only stopped to walk three times in the whole race: the first was at the 11km or so mark, beginning the second lap of the circuit, as we climbed that slight – but ever so long – incline up past the Shrine of Remembrance. The second was as I ended Alexandra Avenue to cross the bridge to go over to Olympic Park. The last was as I past Rod Laver Arena because by then I was sore, oh boy was I sore. My legs/shins were cramping and stiff.
As I passed the 19km mark a lot of the group I ended up running a good portion of the distance with were walking, but I kept running because I caught a glimpse of one of the clocks along Flinders St and I got a minor shock.
“By gum, I could actually make my goal,” I thought, so I picked up the pace (mercifully, Batman Ave was downhill anyway) and pushed on until the end.
The feeling I had when I crossed the line was so different to last time – then, I was just so grateful I’d even completed it. In retrospect it shows how ill I’d been then, even considering I had a personal trainer, as it took me over three hours to complete. This time, if my calculations were correct, I’d done it in two-and-a-half. I’d upped the notch from gratitude to a sense of accomplishment.
The text I got late yesterday showed I was pretty on the money: 2.32.
Part of me got cranky at myself for walking as those rests would’ve made the difference between subbing 2.30, but I’m not going to scrutinise it too much. Hey, I made it.
I’m sitting here writing this now with a hot water bottle over my knees and feeling pretty darn happy. You’ve got to love post-race enorphins.
By now I’m pretty sure anyone of my acquaintance is sick of my asking if they’ve donated or not but here, for the last time, is a link to my donation page. I only saw two other MND t-shirts yesterday, which was a little disappointing because on previous runs I’ve done I’ve seen many more. All up though I heard over $35,000 was raised for the cause which is a great achievement. Anything extra would be wonderful. Thank you to everyone for your support x