Last Sunday was the BIG day.
I had been nervously anticipating Race Day for a little while, and when I woke just before 7am I was considerably pleased that the original forecast for rain & hail had indeed been incorrect, as the skies greeted me with frost and sun. I ran around getting ready, and decided to only eat two pieces of toast for the fear that my usual breakfast of porridge would not sit well in my stomach during the race. I had put my clothes out the night before, pinned on my race number, even making sure I had the right underwear. I didn’t want to run around disorganised in the morning and miss my train. After breastfeeding Pippa, and saying goodbye to the family I headed off to the train station. It really was a beautiful morning, albeit cold!
I arrived at Flinders Street Station at around 8:30, and with my wave of the 10K starting around 9:30 I was fairly confident I had enough time to do the things I needed to do. First stop, like just about every other female in Australia, was the toilet. The line at the Station was huge, so I ran around and found some at Hungry Jacks. There were even lines there! The solidarity of a group of ladies, clearly in their running gear, standing at a Fast Food Restaurant toilets early on a cold winters morning was great. We smiled knowing smiles at one another, and laughed about the hunt for a toilet, and trying to avoid queues, all the while standing in one.
The next step was bag drop-off, so I headed back to Flinders Street, trying to get to Federation Square. It was so congested. Due to safety, we couldn’t simply cross the road at Flinders, but go down via an underpass and there was a terrible bottleneck. It took maybe 15 minutes simply to get over to Fed Square. I was really glad that Paul had decided to come in later with the girls and the giant double pram (which I love by the way), and would be able to miss the worst of the crowding.
After finally getting across to the bag drop off area, and convincing myself that despite the chilly temperature and icy wind, that I was not cold and didn’t need a jumper, I still had about 20 minutes or so until the race, so I had a look around the place.
I have only done a few Fun Runs – maybe 5 all together. But I think this one might have been the biggest! There were stands for all different kinds of things – charities, companies etc. There were bands playing, games happening, and the atmosphere was generally quite exciting. I tried not to get carried away in it too much, not that I could really as I was feeling increasingly nervous as the time approached.
But before heading over to the Start I made my way down briefly to the World Vision tent to say hello to some friends, who had finished the Half Marathon already (!!), and then off I went.
There were a lot of people doing the 10K (about 7,000), and so that meant that despite having 4 waves of runners, it was still very crowded. I began running with a wave and a smile to a photographer, guessing that I might not want to smile in any of the other photos! Those of you who run a bit will know that some days you step out and feel good from the start. Some days every step you take is hard, and your body seems to fight it the whole way. Unfortunately, I felt pretty rubbish the whole run. I’m not sure why – maybe I was a little hungry, hadn’t gotten enough sleep, was not hydrated enough – whatever it was, it was yuk. So I knew I wasn’t going to be making a good time. So I focused on getting it done as well as I could, and tried to have a good time.
Around the 3K mark my knees were feeling sore (sometimes happens, sometimes doesn’t), so I had a short walk break, but no longer than 30 seconds. I did this a couple of times during the run, as my knees respond well to just a little break and then I can keep on going.
The kilometres felt loooonnnngggggg. Each time we came to a distance marker I felt as though I had done double! Not knowing the course well, or ever having run that way, might have contributed to it.
Towards the end (last few K’s) I was keeping my eyes out for Paul and the girls, but wasn’t sure if I was see them. So I was super excited when I heard “Melly!” and say Paul next to the road with the girls. A big smile and a wave made my day. And as I cam back past them, Heidi was out of the pram and waving too, and that really helped me keep going. By that stage of the run I was just trying to finish and have fun. I spoke with a few people running alongside me, encouraging them to keep going, and that they were doing a great job. I would have been thrilled had someone done that to me, so just figured it would help some others along too.
As I neared the finish line (gotta love a downhill finish!) I was quite eager to stop running! I got across the line and moved on through the crowds, collected my medal and show bag, had my tag taken off my shoe, and slowly (gingerly) made my way to the World Vision tent where I had planned to meet Paul. After a little stretch (not enough!), a banana and some water, Paul found me and I chatted with some friends.
It was a great morning, and although I didn’t make the 60 minute time that I had originally hoped for, I knew that wasn’t going to happen. I was happy to finish in 1:13 – a time that I can hopefully improve on one day! More importantly though, I am so proud, with the help of family and friends, to have raised over $400 for World Vision and the amazing work that they do around the world to help vulnerable and impoverished people. If I had walked the whole thing I would still be proud to have raised the money. What a joy it is to give to others!
I am also so glad to have reached my second (of two) major fitness goals for the year: To run a 10K before Pippa turns 1. Pippa is almost 9 months old, so I have beaten my deadline by 3 months! Yay! And I am happy to be an example of a healthy lifestyle to my two little girls. I love it that when I put on my running clothes Heidi says, “Mummy’s going for a run!” I am FAR from perfect, but I hope to encourage them towards an active and healthy lifestyle.
Finally, thank you for all of the support, encouragement and donations that you have given to this great cause. May we do what we can to make a difference, somehow. Thank you for giving your change to make a change.
PS. In case you were wondering, donations can be made up until the end of August…