While the Irish were getting spanked by the hated Wolverines back home, the Snook and I were engaged in our own grudge match with the Sydney Harbour Bridge. We were aiming for a time of 60 minutes for the 9K (based on our previous 8K time of 53 minutes). The race started in Milson’s Point at the little grassy park at the base of the bridge. You were supposed to “self-seed” so the Snook and I dutifully joined the crowd around the “60 minute” sign. The gun went off and everyone started inching towards the starting line. Unfortunately all the idiots who’d been in line at the Port-a-Potties just joined in wherever they could, which meant that once again we had to pick our way around walkers and strollers. (It’s getting to the point where a main source of my inspiration to get faster is my desire to get away from the goddamn walkers.) We headed up the street and turned onto the bridge exit ramp. And then suddenly there we were, heading up the middle of the bridge. I fulfilled a dream and deliberately ran in the “death” lane. (There are six lanes with no divider, just indicators that light up to tell you which ones are open in each direction. They change it depending on traffic. The middle one is the death lane.) More idiots were stopping in the middle of everything to take pictures of each other. WHATEVER. We were there to run, people! Then down around the Cahill Expressway above Circular Quay and then right onto Macquarie Street. Then it was all the way up the hill to the park, where we hung a left into the Domain. This part of the course was basically the same as the Mother’s Day Classic, so we knew what we were doing. We were checking our pace fairly frequently and we hit the 5K mark at 33:00. Not bad! That’s the point where I felt a stitch starting to threaten. The whole second half of the race ended up being an epic battle Kristy vs. Her Stitch. Back up to Macquarie Street and then a straight shot down to the Opera House. As we hit the 8K mark, I told the Snook to go ahead. I knew I could grimly hang onto the pace I was at, but I wasn’t really in any shape to be sprinting. Wincing and gasping for breath, I crossed the line at 58:20. The Snook probably finished around the 58:00 mark. BOOYAKASHA, BRIDGE! Then we headed up to the “Recovery Village” to turn in our timing chips. I have to say, the “post finish” services at this race SUCKED. Maybe it’s just because we finished in the middle; I don’t know. But it took us ages to inch our way through to the de-chipping area, and then ages more to locate the medal collection tent. People get really greedy and grabby post-race, and every tent where things were being handed out just turned into a complete melee. We got our medals; we got our free newspaper. We headed home. In Haymarket we stopped at Harry’s Cafe de Wheels for a much needed beef pie. Mmm, protein. Now we’re just in recovery mode. Man, I’m thirsty.
Oh, and I forgot to mention the most amazing part. WE RAN THE WHOLE THING. Well, I had to stagger up the last fifty feet of the last hill, but other than that, we actually ran more than FIVE MILES without stopping. I’m very proud of us!