Run Melbourne 2016 – race recap

I had vaguely contemplated not doing this event as I’ve signed up for heaps of events this year but it has become one of my staples over the years and, in the end, I couldn’t bring myself to miss it.

I met my friends on board the train and we had a very relaxed start to our day. Definitely the best way to travel to an event – no stress over traffic, no worries about parking, just time to sit back, chat and get mentally ready. We arrived at Southern Cross, caught a train around to Flinders Street and had a perfect amount of time to spare for all the necessary bits – photos, bag drop, toilet stop and, slightly traumatically, stripping off the layers to prepare for the start. Melbourne had put on a glorious sunny day but with a temperature in the single digits and occasional puffs of wind which felt like they were travelling to us straight from Antarctica.

We made our way to our ‘wave c’ pen then stood around waiting for what felt like a very long time. The crowd of bodies were actually quite a good way to ward off the cold but we all just wanted to get moving – nerves and anxiety was starting to bubble. Our wave actually started so far back we couldn’t see the start line and, once we were moving, we seemed to go a long way before we were finally running under our arch and onto the course.

13697125_10154351244237433_7918248090285215377_n

I got myself into a steady rhythm and managed to avoid the general ducking and weaving which tends to happen at the start. I hadn’t known what I would feel like – just running or run/walk intervals – so I didn’t have a plan. I ended up doing run/walk intervals – 3 mins/1 min. Most importantly, everything felt good. No twinges from my achilles, no dull ache from my calf, no tightness in my hamstring. My lungs were coping just fine and I was moving at a decent pace. I had a quick ‘can I keep it up?’ at the back of my mind then I pushed it from my head with a ‘who cares?’. I was out to run and enjoy the event, that was all.

The kilometres ticked by pretty quickly – the course is quite scenic, as city courses go and the twists and turns and little inclines and declines keep you suitably distracted. Drink stations were plentiful and well stocked, popping up before I had even started to feel thirsty. And still I kept plodding along at a pretty steady pace.

I ran over the 5km mat with a better time than those I’ve been achieving at parkrun and was really pleased with how things were going. I was getting tired but not unbearably so and nothing was hurting so I told myself to suck it up and keep moving. The pep talk worked. Soon enough, I was heading for the footbridge between Rod Laver Arena and the MCG and into the last kilometre. Probably the hardest bit of the course for me was the slight hill going back up towards Flinders Street – I ran it very slowly but very steadily. I’d looked at my watch and thought maybe, just maybe, I could pull off a PB so was determined to give it my all.

Thankfully, what goes up must come down and we headed down the Batman Avenue hill then turned in to the finish chute along Birrarung Marr. I didn’t have much sprint left in me but did my best and was so pleased to come in just under 1:20 – a 10km PB.

As always, the thing that makes these events so much fun is hanging out with running friends and we all met up then headed for breakfast before our relaxing journey home on the train (with some photography fun thanks to a competition being run by the event organisers).

So will I do this one again? Most likely. I kind of like collecting the medals which are in a series. The atmosphere did seem a little less buoyant this year but the volunteers were all friendly and efficient. I preferred the old course (and really, really miss the bubble bridge) but it was still scenic enough and full of ample distraction. And it’s kind of a tradition now, a quintessential Melbourne experience complete with crisp Wintery conditions – perfect running weather in a beautiful running city. What’s not to love?

Run Melbourne – race recap

One of my favourite races on the Melbourne running calendar was held this morning – Run Melbourne, which attracted thousands of┬árunners. I ran the 10km – my third event but a little different to the others as I was with a bunch of running friends from my local parkrun.

The weather forecast for the morning hadn’t looked good but, when I emerged from my hotel at 7.30am, it was actually quite a pleasant (crisp) Melbourne Winter morning. No rain and no wind. I trammed it down to the event village and checked in to the Runners’ World VIP tent which I was lucky enough to have a pass to. This was a great way to spend some time before the run – chatting to other runners and the Runners’ World staff and generally avoiding that moment where I would have to ditch the layers and face the ‘crispness’ of the morning.

Soon enough, I headed off (minus layers) and met my friends up in Federation Square along with a fellow five30runner, Matthew who was down from Newcastle, had spotted my shirt and came over to have a chat. I absolutely love meeting up with people from this group – every encounter I have has been so friendly and supportive, as if you’re meeting up with an old friend rather than someone you’ve only ever chatted to online.

We all headed down to the start line which is always a bit of a scrum at this event. I don’t like that feeling of being boxed in but we weren’t held for too long before our wave was starting and the crowds thinned out pretty much within the first 500 metres.

wpid-20150726_091319.jpg

hanging out for the start

I didn’t really go into this with a plan – I hadn’t specifically trained but had been running regularly so I wasn’t really sure what I was capable of. I quickly fell into a 2 minute run/1 minute walk pattern and felt good, with no pain in my achilles and lots of energy.

The course is great with a few switchbacks which allow you to really feel like you’re part of a big event as you are always surrounded by other runners and supporters. There are also lots of volunteers, charity crews and Nova staff out there who really add to the atmosphere – holding up hilarious signs, chanting and offering high fives when needed. As your name is printed on your race bib, you also tend to hear your name called out a lot which is often the incentive you need when you’re running low on energy.

My favourite part of the course is the bridge lined with windsock men and air filled with bubbles – such a fun place to run through and you can’t help but smile.

At about the 8km mark, I realised that I was not only feeling good, I was actually running well and very close to my PB time. I ran hard in the last 2kms and managed to cross the line in my 2nd best 10km time, knocking 2 minutes off last year’s Run Melbourne time so I was really pleased. For once, I also felt like I really gave it my all and couldn’t have run any faster – a good feeling to know I’d given it everything I had.

Afterwards, I picked up my bag (and my showbag of goodies!) from the VIP tent then headed off for breakfast with my friends. I love running big events but it really does add an extra element to do that with such great company to share the experience with.

wpid-20150726_115419.jpg

Pancake breakfast ­čÖé