My love of social exercise is well-documented, but I have to say that I was even more impressed than usual with the running of this particular event. From the easy public transport to the amazing volunteers, stunning course and fun (and functional!) recovery zone for post-race, there really isn’t anything I’d fault… besides having to get up at 3.50am to make the start line.
Luckily, the course made it all worthwhile, passing over the Harbour Bridge, down around Mrs Macquaries Chair and over the Cahill Expressway, via Walsh Bay and into Pyrmont before finishing at the iconic Sydney Opera House. This may seriously be the best way to explore Sydney.
So yes, the day started when my alarm went off at 3.50am (after a slightly nerve-wracked sleep). I rolled out of bed and jumped into the shower, before fixing a bowl of porridge for some low GI carb-based sustenance. I’ve had really heavy legs recently, so I took some time to really give them a good stretch before Fraser and I joined the other crazies waiting for a train at 5am to go run 21km.
The trip to Milsons Point was pretty painless, the wait for a toilet at the start line less so. I swear to god I have never needed to wee so badly in my life. I stupidly chose a line full of girls, thinking it would be cleaner, but not taking into account how long we sometimes take to get ourselves sorted. SERIOUSLY, HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO PEE? Anyway, we made the start line with five minutes to spare and then were off.
My goal time was 105 minutes, and I was trying really hard to heed the advice of pretty much everyone who has ever run a half-marathon or further – don’t go out too hard. I settled into the first couple of kms at around a 4.50/km as per my plan, but was feeling pretty good so I picked things up a little and found 4.35ish/km for the next couple. It was around then that I caught up with the 100-minute pace runners, so I just settled in with them and started to daydream about finishing sub-100-minutes.
Until the 15km mark.
That steady incline into Pyrmont nearly killed me. I blew out to a 5.03/km and then a 5.17/km and there was nothing I could do about it. Luckily it was around here that a couple of Grafton girls, Courtney and Jess Dougherty, caught me. That – along with the fact that I knew eventually I’d get to go back down the incline – helped me through the next couple of kms. And then around the 18km mark I remember thinking about two of my mates, Scottie from Live Fit Live Life and Dion, who were both running the full marathon, and figuring that if they could do 42km, the least I could do was finish 21km without minimal complaining.
So I did!
I still had a bit of energy left in the tank heading into those last couple of hundred metres, so I picked up the pace and sprinted home, finishing in the final time of 1.41.50. Better than my original goal, but not quite the 1.40.00 I’d started to dream about.
Fraser and I went and hung out in the recovery village for a while afterwards, while we waited for Mum to finish the 9km Bridge Run. I downed a ton of the Isowhey Sports Electrolyte Formula to re-hydrate, chatted to the team from runPositive and then did a 10-minute foam rolling class in the Rebel Sport tent. By that stage Mum was finished, so we headed home for a big brekky down at Bondi and an afternoon of napping and relaxation!
All in all I can honestly say that I had an amazing day, and I can’t wait to do another. Fraser and I are entertaining the idea of the North Face 50km next year, but we’ll see what happens…
Have an amazing weekend xx