This week I have been...
...racing. Okay, not racing, just having loads of fun whilst covering fourteen kilometres of my favourite city and winding up at beautiful Bondi Beach. So that was nice.
Several months ago, I wrote this post. Then did nothing. I started my Xtend Barre aka ballet classes the week before I signed up for the Sydney City2Surf 14k and, well, ballet has completely dominated my exercise regime from that point onward, to the exclusion of all other activities. The intention was to complete the City2Surf run too. But injury fears meant that I soon decided to forgo the run in favour of staying injury-free and being able to continue pirouetting my way through life. Very sensible.
Fast forward to the end of July. I started getting emails from the organisers – not long now! – and thinking about how the run was nearly here. And about how much I love medals. I also thought about the fact that I had never run anywhere close to 14k ever. And about my original reason for pulling out, which was still absolutely valid. Also the fact that I am in the middle of a second 20/30 ballet challenge: already testing the body a lot at present.
Eventually I came to a compromise: I would walk the route. The City2Surf is whatever you want it to be: more than 80,000 people signed up for this year’s, the average time to complete it is close to two hours and there are starting groups to accommodate all abilities. Worst case scenario: I’d be walking for three hours (average human walking pace 5kph) with poor calves through beautiful, awe-inspiring Sydney. There are worse ways to spend a Sunday morning.
Getting ready was great fun. I love running gear. I wore my Skins compression tights (pink and black), Lululemon Athletica shorts (with digital sunset print), purple vest (now with serious pin holes in), fluorescent yellow Asics run socks and my so-pretty-they-nearly-make-me-cry Asics Gel Nimbus. I am in love with these trainers.
Oh dear, I just stopped writing to have a think about them. They’re unbelievable! Do forgive me if I illustrate this post with a dozen pics of my trainers. You may be lucky: it’s evening here and photographs are better in natural light (top tip for you there), so I’ll probably eschew the photo bit in favour of posting this tonight. They really are spectacular, though.
Okay, enough about my trainers. Bib on, watch on (2 min intervals set in case I fancied a mini-run now and then), water bottle on (no water station/Gatorade stops for me), SPF lip balm, sunscreen and keys in pouch, money zipped in shorts. Time to go.
Left home at 7am and caught the ferry into the city. Felt sublime and happy with my decision to take part.
Got to Hyde Park well ahead of my start time, as recommended. Watched the group before me set off: 25,000 people! Took around 45 minutes for them all to pass the start line; it was wonderful to witness.
Some annoying inflatable balls were being batted around above our heads at the start line: one of the sponsors had arranged these. Kept seeing people being shocked after getting hit on the back of the head by them: I’ll see if I can get these banned next year :)
Mmm, it’s awesome reliving yesterday (even including inflatable irritation). So the gun went off and I looked up to see pop star Redfoo DJing for us. The perfect start!
Other musical highlights included the police band playing the theme from Rocky, the YMCA pumping out, a metal band playing Enter Sandman on a rooftop and a second brass band playing Thriller.
I had such a good time and can thoroughly recommend signing up to a fun run. I’m living proof that you don’t need to train and they still give you a medal!
Oh, by the way, I changed tactic completely at the start line. Everyone started running and I automatically ran, too. Then I was running uphill and thought that probably wasn’t going to be great for precarious legs. So I adopted an excellent strategy of walking uphill and running downhill and flats. I did have a dodgy two kilometres between 9 and 11k where I think I must have hit what runners call the 'wall’, but I just walked until I felt okay again.
I loved being surrounded by so many people. Although it would have been cool if people followed the race etiquette to move to the left if walking, it was okay – I wasn’t going for a fast time and a couple of times I stopped and forgot to move over first, so it was completely understandable.
If you’re thinking a run sounds fun but you couldn’t stand being held up by people blocking you the whole way, don’t let it put you off – there are often different groups to start in that don't have walkers. And not every run has as many people in as the Sydney City2Surf: that is one huge event.
I feel as though I have banged on for ages about the race. It was a truly magnificent achievement, however, and I am still feeling euphoric about it. I should probably add that I am a bit stiff today, my hip aches and my knees felt mildly sore whilst walking round the supermarket. Tomorrow may be a different story. On the whole, though, for zero training and a distance I have never come close to before, I am in excellent shape and the blissful mental state outweighs any amount of pain anyway. An absolute dream day. So excited for next year (am totally going to train for that one)! Thanks for reading x