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THIS GUNS FOR HIRE, EVEN IF IT’S JUST RUNNING IN THE DARK

March 28, 2014

No it’s not a headline that will strike fear into anyone, nor is it intended to be misleading. It’s simply the creative juices flowing to incorporate Bruce Springsteen into my blog somehow. Yet whilst I certainly wasn’t going to perform like The Boss last Sunday, it felt like being a part of the support act with the major part of the show a few weeks later in Canberra (with NO encore, otherwise would have entered the Ultra marathon rather than just the normal marathon, if you call 42km normal).

This was no ordinary preparation for a race, even if I was treating it as a dress rehearsal. I doubt there are many events in Australia that cater for such long distances in late afternoons, for many of the Australian events that I know of start as early as possible to minimise disruption for the locals around the course. Combine this with football commitments in Bundaberg (which I will describe at a later date at http://www.footyalmanac.com.au/) and any thought of normality went out the window. The timeline of events prior to the race was as follows.

 

10:30 PM (Saturday 22 March): Feed at McDonalds in Bundaberg, short walk to Bus terminal in Targo Street. Wait until just prior to midnight to board as bus is about 15 minutes late due to (I assume) road works. Fall asleep not long after connecting USB chargers for phone and iPod.

3:30 AM (Sunday 23 March): Pie and drink at Matilda Roadhouse in Kybong, followed by massage in a coin operated massage chair. I figure every chance to recover after a long day of football should be taken. Re-board bus at 3:55 AM prior to a 4 AM departure. Fall asleep again almost immediately.

6:10 AM: Arrive at Roma Street transit centre, change shirt in toilet. Catch early Gold Coast train approximately 6:30 AM, fall asleep on train not long after departing South Bank station (2 stops after Roma Street southbound on the train network in Brisbane).

7:40 AM: Wake up just after I needed to wake up to alight (get off) train at Nerang Station, instead wait the extra few minutes to get off at Robina. Wait for, then catch connecting bus to get to Broadbeach.

8:30 AM: Walk on beach towards Surfers Paradise, find spot to wade in waves in area reasonably close to (but certainly not in the way of) surfers taking advantage of decent sized waves. Wade in knee, then waist deep water for best part of 35 minutes in water much more pleasant looking than the last recovery effort at Cottesloe Beach in Perth last May.

10:45 AM: Final feed at Cavill Mall, unfortunately their Subway doesn’t understand that a Chicken Bacon Ranch sub doesn’t use the Teriyaki chicken although there isn’t a great difference in the taste. Wander to nearby bus stop to take 2 buses to get to Nerang for connecting train.

12:19 PM: Catch train back to Brisbane, arrive Roma Street just before 1:30 PM, then check into Abbey Apartment room for the night.

 

Boy was I glad this came in the Twilight Run Race Pack.

Boy was I glad this came in the Twilight Run Race Pack.

It was at this time where I decided a quick bath (not a shower) was in order again to aid the recovery. I laid out my running gear, only to discover that I had forgotten to pack a running top. I had plenty of options for pants, plus a couple of pairs of socks and the running shoes that I hadn’t worn for almost a week (I didn’t want to wear out the tread whilst training, particularly when a couple of other pairs of shoes would be able to perform the training tasks). Fortunately the race pack included a run singlet so I was glad that I didn’t have to run in a shirt that I had worn since the early hours of the morning. Yet all the indecision meant that I had to hastily reorganise transportation plans, for originally the plan was to actually check in earlier and therefore depart for the University of Queensland earlier.

Thankfully there was a bus that left the city arriving on campus with plenty of time to find where I had needed to be. It was just as well too that another older pair of ladies were headed to the same event, but perhaps it would have been a better idea to follow them rather than to lead the way and try to navigate around foreign territory. Thankfully I found where I needed to be with plenty of time to spare, and it was just as well too for the line at race pack collection was well over 100 metres and growing. I’m sure it was a pain for the volunteers to head up and down the line looking for those entered in the 5km event who hadn’t collected their items as their time to shine drew ever closer.

Apart from that the pre-race from that moment proceeded without any major difficulties. It felt a little strange to complete my warm up on the running track given it had been close to 17 years since I had set foot on a proper athletics track as opposed to a grass equivalent that are seen throughout my local region. Then it was a quick trip to the port-a-loo, a wander into the start area after seeing the start of the kids race, and a wait amongst the other half marathon and 10km competitors for the 5PM start time.

The run itself was flat save for the rises approaching the Eleanor Schonell Bridge from either side of the Brisbane River. The course on the University side of the river was virtually identical to what I had experienced at the City2South last year, but instead of heading all the way on the bridge before turning left up Highgate Hill, it was a right hand turn downhill to head down the Brisbane Corso passing the football ground at Yeronga. The first lap was completed in daylight meaning that I didn’t have to activate the handy armband/light until I crossed the line to commence the second lap. There was also an extra short section added for the second lap only, probably to make sure the distance was accurate.

It was on the second lap where I thought there was going to be a problem. Having slowed down to see if another competitor was OK after a fall (likely caused by cramping and/or dehydration, the temperature at the start was close to 30 degrees), I decided for the first time that day to take an electrolyte drink at a drink station as opposed to water (2-3 sips and splash the remainder down the back for cooling purposes). I’m not sure what was in that drink, and I’m not sure I want to know. I almost felt as though throwing up was inevitable although I recovered the senses quick enough to recover until the finish, save for a few seconds of keeling over at 17km.

The first medal of the year, it won't be the last.

The first medal of the year, it won’t be the last.

Of course by this time the first finisher had almost finished his post race recovery. It’s not every day that you run the same course as some Ethiopian hot shot, and he’s probably not even in the top 5 in his country. Yet it was almost a relief that I only finished some 40 minutes slower than him considering he was more than half way back on the first lap by the time I had travelled 3km, I even remarked that I thought I had seen him 5 minutes ago at the start line which obviously couldn’t have been true (it was more like 20 minutes). In the end it was a nice run to prepare for Canberra which is now less than 3 weeks away, and save for a couple of runs this weekend (weather permitting, the weather locally has been appalling to put it bluntly) this would be the last substantial run I would make. The last 2 weeks of training will consist of mainly short sharp runs to find a balance between maintaining the endurance and keeping the sharpness.

 

 

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