Sunday, June 6, 2010

Be gone rain and hit me with some rays.

The weather forecast a week ago stated rain, but low and behold I woke up this morning to sun. I couldn't believe it - all week I had been psyching myself up to run in rain and even had my outfit decked out for this weather and then when I saw rays of sun and a clear sky from the apartment window I was like "YES". However, that being said - the wait underneath the Harbour Bridge to get started was excruciatingly frrreeezzziiinnnggg! Kind of made me wish I had worn my long sleeve, but I knew I would heat up quickly running. And that I did.
Everyone was on a high, you could feel and see the BUZZ - it was so very tangible. You could see that there were many runners who went there for the fun of a run and to help bring to an end their Fundraising for such a worthy cause. But then their were others who were definately in it for the thrill of the race and to compete against others or possibly to beat their own personal bests. I was a mixed bag. I had fundraised for a great cause as a friend of the family had passed away from MS some many years ago and I also wanted to feel the the thrill of racing in a big group like this as well as try to beat a time I had set in my head.
With 10 minutes to go the organiser's ushered us to the starting line and it was there the frantic hype of the hour before settled. It was like the "calm before the storm". Everyone was getting their IPods ready set to their favourite song, fixing up their shoes laces so as not to lose the timing chip, jumping up and down on the spot to keep warm or just staring into the starting sign. It's amazing to watch how unique everyone is and how differently everyone handles nerves. So with that said it was 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 - GOOOOOOOO
Starting off where I was standing (middle of the pack - to the side) was very slow. You could say it was a shuffle. I was trying not to step on people, trying not to get stepped on or pushed out of the way. I had forgotten what is was like. The last time I had gone in a running race like this I was 12 yrs old and did the 14km City to Surf . Eventually, the pace picked up and I was able to get a good rhythm going whilst juggling moving through the crowd. It's amazing how fast the momentum is at the beginning. I tried not to get caught up in it but I think I failed, you just go with the flow until the pack thins out a bit.
The initial part of the run was a flat run, zig zagging on the boardwalk alongside Luna Park (our oldest amusement park in Sydney). I was passing people, and I was getting passed at about the same pace. Until we went under a railway bridge and it was there I encountered my first hill - instinctively my brain went "What the?". I thought we were running along the foreshore of Sydney Harbour - . WRONG. Some it was, but most of it was through the back streets of Sydney suburbs. And there were hills, many of them but I not once walked, even though at times I could have walked faster than I ran but my goal was to not walk.
The route itself was good mix of hills, stairs, uphill zig zag pathways and down hill stretches. And it was also a good mix of pace for me. At times it bottlenecked to get us up those stairs so it slowed down the pack alot and other times I felt I had to put on the brakes as the down hill pace got a bit scary. I thought to spice things up a bit I would set myself a personal goal to pick a person up front and reach them then overtake them - which I did too. But there was this one lady in a pink T-shirt who I played cat and mouse with the whole way.
I am sure she was as determined as I was to get to the finishing line first. So I would overtake her on the uphill stretch and she would cruise by me on the downhill run. A little healthy competition never hurt anyone. One thing I did notice was that my IPod songs suck for this sort of thing. I had some fast songs but many slow songs in between so I was constantly searching for some songs with some "kick ass attitude". (note to self: rejig playlist). How can you possibly run to "Love story" by Taylor Swift.
Heading back to the finishing line was great. The momentum picked up again and I was once again striding out to keep up and finish strong. Alas, the "Pink shirt lady" had a little more zing in her sting and she took off with about 300m to go. Good on her. I was happy to finish strong in my own way.
I had hoped for a time of around 44mins but I finished with an unofficial time of 46mins 10sec. Not bad considering there were hills and some unexpected slow down spots. And this was officially my first run on my own - without any friends by my side. I liked it. I was my own master, I decided my own pace and encouraged myself the whole way. YAY for me.
All in all it was a great day - perfect weather, a great cause, good time and great company - my husband the photographer.

Your hard work will be rewarded.

"The path to a dream is paved with sacrifices and lined with determination. And though it has many stumbling blocks along the way, and may go in more than one direction, it is travelled by belief and courage and conquered with a willingness to face challenges and take chances" Barbara Cage