Today was the day of my fourth running of the 14km City2Surf… and my first without the Snook! He said that our run last year “nearly killed him,” and he hadn’t done any training this year. So I was on my own. (Technically there were three guys from my company running, including my buddy Paul here that I met up with afterwards.) I headed over to the Blue start on College Street this morning at 9am, knowing that it would take ages to get started. The crowd was a record 75,000 runners, and the weather was gorgeous and sunny. I told myself over and over that this was just a training run, that I wasn’t going for any specific time. I set RunKeeper to intervals of 5:00 running and 1:00 walking. Our group finally crossed the starting line at 9:28am. We were off!
Read on for the rest of the story…You can see my whole run on RunKeeper. My enforced walk-breaks worked well for the first half, and I tried to take a photo during most of them. (Unfortunately they didn’t all sync to the map, but you can see them above. Optus’s network failed bigtime.) My pace for the first half was fantastic, even with the walking. Oddly enough, I actually ran into my teammate Venks around the 5km mark! I can’t believe out of 75,000 people, I ran into one of the few I knew. Venks was taking a break himself, so I left him behind when RunKeeper told me to speed up again. Soon we were at the hill… and that’s when it started sucking. I got a stitch/cramp in my side that just would not budge. I took an extra walk break, taking exaggerated breaths to try to stretch it out. I ended up walking most of the hill, and my pace just wasn’t the same after that. No matter, I told myself. It was just a training run! I tried to enjoy it. At 11.5km I stopped for a second to send the Snook an SMS telling him I was getting close. I ended up crossing the finish line (hunched over, fighting the stitch) at 111 minutes, which is about 5 minutes slower than we did last year. It’s okay. It was good just to be out there with everybody else.
I was thinking about why I love this event. I think it’s because it reminds me that you can’t judge a person’s athletic ability by their shape, and you’re really only out there competing against yourself. I was passed by people that I wouldn’t think could run 2km, much less 14km. And because of how many people there are and how staggered the starts are, there’s no point in comparing yourself to anybody else on the road. We’re all running our own races. It’s the great equalizer.
Anyway, the end of the race was madness. I couldn’t find the meeting point where my teammates were supposed to congregate, and I nearly couldn’t find the Snook. (Optus and Vodafone SUCKED.) Eventually we met up with Paul, who’d already had a shower and change of clothes! Then the three of us joined a queue for the buses and made our way back to the city. I had a long hot shower and a hot lunch before heading over to Broadway for a much-needed full body massage. Ahhh, *bliss*.