I love this run. Which is kind of funny when I think of the parts of it which aren’t necessarily what you’d expect in a great run – the weather is unpredictable (it is Melbourne after all) and can be boiling or pouring with rain; the course is flat and along a not overly scenic road, albeit next to St Kilda beach and with views of Luna Park; it’s a road event and lacks shade; parking can be frustrating….not necessarily the ingredients you’d expect. But, somehow, it is one of my favourite runs of the year and one I return to time and time again. This year was my 5th event and I’m pretty sure I’ll be back again in 2017.
I travelled up with my fabulous running buddies, leaving home at ridiculous o’clock which meant we were able to get our favourite car parking spot and collect our shirts and bibs. Actually, that’s a big tick for this event – the fact that you can pick your bib up on the morning if you choose and the whole process is very low stress.
So, bibs in hand and shirts changed, we joined the portaloo queue (which is always pretty good at this event) and headed over for the start. We were quite surprised to find ourselves not particularly excited – still waking up and trying to find our mojo. The starting gun went off and we shuffled along to the start line, still not really feeling it. Yet again, I didn’t know what I could expect for myself. I’d hoped for this to be fairly fast but hadn’t done much serious running since Melbourne half marathon and had had a never ending cold since then that had only just disappeared. And it was warmer than I liked. And my leg was a bit dodgy. You know the drill – the usual fears and doubts plaguing me.
Regardless, we started. And I ran. I didn’t really have a strategy, just wanted to run and see how I felt. It turned out that I felt ok. Hot and a bit icky from the warm weather but ok. My leg had miraculously stopped hurting once we started.
At about 3km, my friend caught up with me and we followed a run/walk from there, keeping up a pretty steady pace and pushing our way through the heat. The event didn’t seem to have the crowds from previous years but the diversity of the runners is something that I always enjoy – not just the speedy ones you expect to see but runners and walkers of all ages, shapes, sizes and speeds.
As the kilometres ticked by, I was enjoying the run more and settling into it. It was still hard work but not too hard and the distance really was flying by, no doubt helped by having a friend along. By the last 2km, I was running out of energy and really had to put my head down and push through the hurt. I was very happy to cross back into Catani Gardens. The finish chute at this event always feels like the longest ever although at least it had colour, sound and spectators to make it appealing. I couldn’t do my usual sprint-ish for the line as I really didn’t have much left and was so grateful to cross the line, still smiling and, most importantly, upright. Despite the heat, we’d run it in a pretty good time – 3 minutes off last year’s time and my second best 10km time for the year.
This is one of those events that I just find myself coming back to and I suspect I’ll be back again next year. There is something particularly inspiring about running with a group of women, and running in support of the Breast Cancer Network brings out some very inspirational stories and tributes. Very hard not to be grateful and contemplative in that atmosphere – a perfect wrap up event for the year.