One of my friends said to me "those are two words that just don't go together Cat! Fun & Run!". Although she did say afterwards, 20 years ago she'd have been the first to put up her hand & go running. Funny how times have changed - I was the one trying to avoid sport & PE at all costs back then.
We were up at the crack of dawn - 5.45am as I had to collect my race number prior to 8am. Plumbing Boy was Mr Taxi & chief support person - backpack/clothing holder & putter upperer of cranky me the night before (that's another story in itself - his dinner cooking didn't quite go to plan & I'm a bit of a control freak in my own kitchen).
Made it to Geelong & found a park without too much stress as the event organizers were in the process of closing of some of the streets on arriving making navigation a little trickier. We were within a block of the event when the 12km runners took off (7.40am) & could hear the PA & see them taking off!
Collected race number & installed without ado, then hung about watching all the people til my starting time. It had been pouring with rain on our way down to Geelong (50 minute drive) & PB was a bit annoyed that I didn't pack my rain coat! Lucky for me, it stopped as we hit Lara & the sun came out.
The event was very well organised; lots of information explaining how the event would operate & signs instructing you where to go. The starting chute was organised into 5 speed zones with signs showing where to line up according to your estimated speed.
Finally it was time to line up - I was in the 3rd wave of runners 35mins - 45mins. The first group was sub 25 minutes, then 25 - 35, 35 - 45, 45 - 55, 55+. Although the sun had made an appearance, the sea breeze was still quite chilly & I was reluctant to take off my jumper! Once I was nestled in with the masses, I was nice & warm & we all eagerly awaited the start.
We took off in waves & it was a little difficult to find a clear path to run as there were just so many people. It wasn't til I rounded the first corner into Moorabool street (& the first hill) that I had true perspective of the numbers. As far as I could see was a sea of runners taking up both sides of the street which was pretty awesome! There were families, kids, friends & all giving it a go. That was the fun part! I kind of felt a bit special doing the run with so many other people. The first wave had already rounded the corner: there were runners everywhere!
Most of my outdoor training is done on flat ground; with hill training done on the treadmill. While Moorabool Street isn't that steep, it has a long steady incline for the best part of a km! There were a few more gentle rises & another hill closer to the finish line. Spectators were out on the street the whole way around cheering on family & friends. The second half of the course was through Eastern Park & I could see the bay. Just beautiful. I even tried to run in the shade I was that hot!
I ran pretty hard the whole way around & started to feel a little knee pain in the last km, maybe the hills? I don't know. The last 200m was down hill & on flat ground. My mate D came to see me cross the finish line - while I saw neither D or PB at the finish - was concentrating too hard on crossing the line & not crashing into the chick who'd stopped dead in front on me - I did spot D pretty much straight afterwards :-)
I'm still waiting on the official result; my watch said 35.33 although I think I hit stop at the first timing speed bump instead of the second which means I should probably add 10 - 20 seconds! The results are supposed to be in the Geelong Advertiser today, click on the link to see the wave of runner on Moorabool Street! & on the RunGeelong website tomorrow so will update when I get them!
Here is a dodgy pic PB took on my phone to prove I actually did the run! Was taken after I'd cooled down & needed my Jumper back on! Miss D took a much better pic, but I can't for the life of me make my phone allow me to save it (was emailed). I was more than happy with the time & it was as expected if not a little better. I had no idea about how the first 1/2km would be affected by all the other runners & also how much the hills would slow me down. I always have the road or treadmill to myself! It felt good though to be part of something much bigger & think I'll be sticking to charitable fun runs from now on!
The 10km I did previously was more for serious runners; definitely more competitive & not so much fun, unless you were part of the "group" or a regular to this organisation I guess. I wasn't made feel unwelcome by any means, but it wasn't as a friendly event as the 6km.
The 6km had more of a carnival feel with stalls (coffee, goods, advertising etc), kids rides & someone (Billy Brownless I think!) entertaining us on the microphone giving a bit of a commentary (& instructions) throughout the event. It certainly made for a far more festive event.
In hindsight, there were things I did & didn't do that contributed to having a bad 10km experience which I was able to remedy for the 6km, which contributed having a better run.
1. Breakfast. Normally I jump out of bed & run, eat breaky post run. I applied this to the 10km, however getting up at 6.30am for an 8am start with no food didn't really work. I should have gotten up 1/2hr earlier & eaten.
2. Mints. Stupidly I scoffed a couple of mints just before the 10km which made my mouth dry & just bloody Yuk for the whole 10km. This time nothing but small sips of water. I did brush my teeth both times (can't run with dirty teeth in the morning!) & the toothpaste doesn't bother me. Must have been the sugar &/or chemicals in the mints. I had sinusitis & was feeling bad breathy which was why I ate them!
3. Injury. I was still a bit injured for the 10km maybe should have switched to the 5km, but as they say, you never know til you give it a go. I hurt the whole way through the 10km. The camber of the road on the 10km was against me; the 6km there was lots of road & on some occasions surfaces to choose from.
4. Nerves. I was really nervous for the 10km & put a fair bit of pressure on myself. I was nervous for the 6km too, but more about attempting to run with so many other people & more "what if someone I know sees me"! Yes, a bit stoopid!.
5. Understanding the course. At the 10km, the half marathoners started off in 1 direction at the same time as the 5 & 10km runners in the other direction. I did ask a group of 3 chicks near me if I was pointed in the right direction for the 10km, they said yes, unless you want to run the half (event instructions & organisation was very poor according to PB). For the first 5km I was so stressed I was in the 1/2 marathon group & that I'd stuffed the whole bloody thing up. I'm much better when I am sure of what's going on. My inner control freak. I got PB to check the instructions for the 6km & make sure I was in the right place in the right group pointing in the right direction at the right time. This is why I am definitely going to run the half of the course I don't know @ Warrnambool prior as a general training run.
All in all it was an enjoyable experience & am now looking forward to training for & completing the 10km in January!