Firstly, on Saturday I had a couple of unusual foods. I had a super hot pizza, which was 90% chili (at least that's what it felt like), and Chinese from a new restaurant. My stomach was a little bit upset on Saturday evening, but by Sunday morning I felt fine. Phew!
When I got up at about 6:15am, I had a slice of wholemeal toast, with butter and honey, and an espresso shot. This is pretty similar to what I have eaten in the past.
I already had my race bag packed, so at about 6:45am we just jumped in the car to head to the train station, and our commute into the city!
Just FYI - because it was so early on Sunday morning, Metro actually scheduled a special train on most lines to allow runners to get to the race in time. This all went to plan, and it was kind of nice being on a train full of runners and pre-race energy!
On the downside, everyone (or at least, every girl!) decided to go to the bathroom at the train station before the race, and the lines were huge. Gareth was very patient while he waited.
We walked over and beside the river to get to the race starting area. A second trip to the bathroom was required (the evil side of an espresso for me!), but I still had a few minutes to enjoy the view, and get ready.
It was pretty chilly just standing around, but in the sun it was nice. I have to say, it was absolutely perfect race weather!
Then it was time to line up! There were colour coded areas (matching your bib colour) based on your expected finish time, and I was in the yellow zone - I think it was between the group being able to run 10km in 50 min (I'm not back to being that fast!), and the walkers. I had a Chocolate Outrage Gu while I waited.
The start was exactly on time (8:45am), and we all did the shuffle to the start line - then we were off!
I don't have photos of the actual race - sorry! I'm one of those people who hates stopping for any reason once I'm running, because I find it really hard to get going again. But I'll try to talk you through it.
As we took off at 8:45am, we headed over a bridge across the river again, on our way to the Domain tunnel at about the 1km mark. It was still really congested, and mostly I was just trying not to trip or trip someone else!
The Domain tunnel is a weird place to be, because normally it's just for cars. My first observation was the smell - ummm ... yuck! So I just ran faster. There was a decline then incline as we ran through the tunnel, which I guess is to be expected. We came out at about the 2.5km mark, and then there was a water station and toilets which I took advantage of.
The next stretch was a slow incline up the Westgate Freeway, and then down the offramp to the CityLink exit. There was another water station at the 6km mark, just before heading on to the Bolte Bridge.
The onramp to the Bridge was tough. Everyone just had their heads down, and we were all focussed on getting up the hill, which is probably about 1.5km long. But then, just when you're wondering how much further you can go, you get to the top of the Bolte Bridge, with it's amazing views of the Melbourne CBD, and the docks. Kinda worth it!
We took the first offramp to Docklands, which is a pretty steep down hill run and right turn to head to the water. I had a Gu (salted caramel - my current favourite), and took advantage of the water station at the 9km mark - and walked through it to make sure I got some water into me. It was starting to warm up - being probably about 24C by then.
We ran through the Docklands cafe area, and there were people sitting out and cheering us on, which was fun! Then we headed into the city via Spencer Street, and up Collins St. This hill was only one block, but at the 11.5km mark, it was pretty brutal. I just tried to keep moving - one foot in front of the other. It was such a relief to get to the top.
Then we headed across King St, to run along Southbank in front of Crown Casino. There were lots of people out enjoying their Sunday morning (it was about 10am by then), and it was great to hear the crowd support.
The last two or three kilometres was a bit of a blur. It felt a little crowded, but I guess it was probably just because people were starting to get tired. I felt strong, which was great! We did a loop around St Kilda Road, and headed back into the Botanical Gardens for the race finish line. There was a small hill right at the very end - SO CRUEL. But it was great to finally cross the line!
After the Race
We went through the finishing shoot, and could get water, Gatorade (or something like that) and an apple. Not the best post-race fuel I've seen, but I guess it was a relatively short distance.
I called Gareth to try to figure out where to meet. He had been watching along the race path, but we didn't see each other! Doh. It was actually kind of difficult to get back to the train station - I had to cross the race path a couple of times, and sneak through a gap in the fence. But we found each other eventually.
- Extra train services were scheduled, which made the commute into the city really easy
- Interesting course (Bolte Bridge, Domain tunnel, Southbank were my favourites)
- Well organised - everything started on time, and was easily accessible, including receiving the race bib and race information well before the race
- Perfect, perfect weather for it! I know this is mostly luck, but it was definitely a great part of this event
- Great facilities - toilets and water stations, and at the start and finish times
- The timing chip was actually on the bib this time, so no need to fight with tying it on to my running shoes, and then cutting it off afterwards. Big improvement!
- It's always a little painful getting into the city by train on a Sunday morning, but it really is the only option with all the road closures
- Post event fuel was a little lacking - even a banana or bar would have been a great addition
- It's a big event with lots and lots of participants, so for someone like me, it's not going to be a PR kind of course
- The course path makes it hard to get in and out of the event from the train station, without going totally out of your way to loop around the runners. Most people were giving up and just ducking through the people still running
- I'm not sure if I just missed it, but I didn't get a race medal of any kind??? We do this for the race bling, right? :)
- The race was a little short according to my TomTom (15.25km). But I suppose it wasn't a formal distance, so it didn't matter too much.
I'll be doing this race again! The shorter distance is a nice way to ease into the race season, and overall it's really well organised, and for a great cause. I'll be back!