What a great weekend it was! Al and I headed into Sydney just for one night but it really felt like a mini holiday. We went out for some carb loading on Saturday night to an amazing thai restaurant called Home. If you are in Sydney you need to go now! Soooo delicious. Unfortunately we were seated next to a less than lovely couple. Over the course of our meal they insulted the food we were eating, how much of it we ordered and told me that I could not run eating that “crap”. Then, just before the little charmers got up to leave, they told me that my finishing time from last year was pathetic and that someone could easily walk the 14km course in that time. Rude bastards! I can’t believe people would be that discouraging to a fellow runner. Al was livid and wanted to chase them down the street but I distracted him with some lovely black sticky rice pudding for dessert…yum!
Race day! We were up at 6am and on the train at 6:30 heading into town. There were tons of runners everywhere doing their pre-race thing. We saw all kinds of weird stuff. Crazy outfits, frightening star-jump like things, warm-up sprints and a very suspicious bottle of what smelled like gasoline and tiger balm being rubbed on muscles. This race is so fun because of the atmosphere. Its hard not too feel the energy and excitement with 85, 000 runners!
I was in the green start group. Al came and stood with me in at the start so I could keep my warm things on. It was pretty cold and Sydney had had gale force winds for a few days. Luckily they died down a bit but after I stripped down to my running gear I was freezing! The corral filled up quickly blocking the wind a little.
The red and gold groups started first and it wasn’t long after they were gone that we began the slow walk, walk, slow jog, jog…run!!! Across the start, here goes! The music was pumping “shake your money maker” which made me smile.
1-5km : They just flew by! There was so much to look at and lots of cameras to wave at. People watching was at its best, all sorts of costumes and bizarre running gear. We ran through the big tunnel and someone was yelling “Aussie Aussie Aussie” and about 1000 people yelled back “Oi Oi Oi!” Pretty hilarious!
6-7km: I started to feel the strain but I was settled nicely and felt like I was going a pretty good pace. We ran past a marching band, some cage dancers and lots of cheering crowds. Then I heard “eye of the tiger” blaring in the distance which was the signal that we had reached the base of heartbreak hill. Last year I thought heartbreak hill was over-dramatized so I kept that in my mind and charged on.
7-9km: Hill? What hill? OK ok so there were a couple spots in the middle where I was pretty slow but there was no way I was stopping. I made it! Yahoo. I grabbed a quick sip of water from the water station and someone poured an entire cup of gatorade down the back of my leg into my shoe….excellent, I thought perhaps it would be absorbed through my skin for extra energy?
9-11km: I was feeling rough. These few km’s were my worst but this section had some high points too. The cheering smurfs with their blaring music made me pick up the pace for a bit. Also a guy who was completely wasted (seriously you could smell the alcohol) ran along side for about 3km holding a beer. The road was pretty flat with a few small steep hills so it was easier to just keep trudging along.
11-13km: Downhill! Run like the wind or actually straight into the gale force wind. We came over the top of the highest point and you could see the crazy huge waves in the ocean crashing into the beach. I got hit with a huge headwind but I didn’t mind because I needed a pick-me-up. I knew the last km was the worst so I was saving a bit in the tank and I let myself sail down the hills to get there. Yahoo!
14km: The worst part ever. I knew from last year this was the worst. You come down off the hills and you can see the finish line but it is still a full km away. The course winds away and then back and its all flat…no more downhill too keep you going. I seriously felt like death, all I wanted to do was walk. If the streets weren’t lined with thousands of people cheering I would have walked for sure. I rounded the last bend and off I went….home!!! There were multiple fist pumps. To my utter delight my unofficial time was 1:18:46 (last year 1:26) PB Yay!
I was instantly freezing and hunted for Al for nearly an hour before I found him. He missed me come around the finish because I was so much earlier than last year. We went off to stuff our faces with delicious sushi. I mean’t to take a picture but I guzzled it all down before I remembered….pig much? oops!
I also found a great health food store to treat myself to a few things that you can’t find in the country. I am really excited to try nutritional/savoury yeast in some vegan recipes. It is supposed to taste like cheese but with a lot less fat and much more nutritional values….recipes coming soon.
Al and I grabbed a coffee at our favourite place, Piccolo Padre’s in Rozelle and hit the road!
The City2Surf marks one year of racing for me. I can’t believe I used to run and not do races! They are so much fun and really give you something to aim for. I am so happy that I ended my racing season with a PB. Now to keep it up!