City2Sea – race recap

We were blessed with an absolutely perfect morning for today’s City2Sea, very different from the rain-fest that was last year’s event. My friend and I were dropped off at the MCG about an hour before and, soon enough, joined the inevitable queue for the portaloos. This ended up killing 1/2 hour of our time – there were clearly not enough for the thousands of runners who were waiting. We were lucky that we managed to get in and out in time to join the other ‘blue start’ runners.

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I’d forgotten how far it was from the shute to the start line & there was no confetti for us this year to kick it off so the start actually felt like a bit of an anti-climax. The downhill stretch makes up for it – perfect way to start a long run and made me feel like I was doing ok. We caught up with another friend, got a running selfie, bid our goodbyes and focused on our own races. My friend was on fire today and sped ahead while I dropped my speed to ‘run comfortable’.

There seemed to be a lot more people this year although that didn’t result in having to duck and weave too much, just made me feel like I wasn’t out there on my own. Soon enough, we were dropping underneath the Arts Centre and back around onto St Kilda Road. By the time I got to the 5km mark, I was feeling tired and, while I was enjoying myself, wasn’t feeling like I wanted to keep running for another 10km. I wasn’t quite at the point of seriously considering dropping out but was definitely feeling like I would rather be somewhere else.

My saviour came in the form of a running friend I’d met through parkrun, Brendan. He’d run the first 6km fast and was happy to have an easy run/walk for the rest so we ran together and our chatter distracted me perfectly. So much so that my 10km time was within a minute of my yearly PB. I’m not often lucky enough to run with to others as it’s rare that I find someone at my pace (or willing to slow down to my pace!) so this was a bit of a novelty and really helped with get me to the finish. Even the slog around Albert Park lake was quite pleasant and felt a lot quicker than it did last year.

Turning out of Albert Park, we only had the short run along Fitzroy Street to go and then the finish line was in sight. My achilles was grateful and happily carried me there, even managing a spurt of speed for the finish line. My time overall was 2 minutes slower than last year but I was really happy with it – from not wanting to be there a 5km to a relatively fast run at 15km was definitely a big shift 🙂

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Overall, a good run. I’m happy I did it and had a lot of fun with my running friends. However I suspect, unless some of the points below change, I won’t be doing it again next year…

Summary:
+ Great course. Being a point to point course, you don’t have to traipse past the same place twice and you get both the beauty of the Melbourne skyline and the fun of finishing at the beach

Bib pickup. Yes, you actually have to go and pick it up, even though this is 2015 and we’ve had a reliable postal service for years. This is basically so you’ll be forced to walk through the ‘expo’ (hence placating sponsors) but, to be honest, it’s not much of an expo. The opening hours for it are also not particularly convenient nor is the location.
Lack of toilets. Despite knowing how many registrations they had, there was still a complete lack of toilets at the start, made worse as a block of them didn’t appear to be working (with no water attached). Not a great start to a 15km run.
Cut off times. I got grumpy about this last year so at least I knew it was coming. The overall cutoff is fair however if you don’t make it to the 10.6km in time, you’ll be diverted onto the path. This cutoff time is completely at odds with the pace required to finish the course in time. I understand that they have to have cutoff times but I paid the same money as the first person over the finish line and I deserve to run the same course. Because of this detour, I didn’t actually get to run the 15km I’d paid for (only managing 14.85km)

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