City to Surf 2014

What a difference a year makes!

It was August 2013, I had been introduced to parkrun through a friend and the bug well and truly bit quick. Having been through 12 months worth of “lifestyle changes” and dropping almost 35kg by that stage running was almost a natural progression to how far I had come from years of self-sabotage with diet and little to no exercise. It took to me quick, I completed my first 5km run at the Canning River parkrun launch in June 2013 in just over 35 minutes with a run/walk and boy it hurt, my hip and everything hurt like hell and my dusty old Nike trainers may as well have been thongs as they should have been turned into scrap years ago.

A little over 4 weeks later I managed to complete a parkrun non-stop from start to finish a couple of minutes quicker and declared to my friends that if I could crack 30 minutes that I would enter the City to Surf. I did it, my 6th parkrun I came in at 29:38 and I kept to my word and registered for the 12km.

It was an interesting experience to say the least, apart from running 5km a couple of times a week I hadn’t really got myself into a training program or anything and looking back it was a reverse taper that I put myself through with no experience and I remember my feet hurting at the start line from running so much in the days leading up. It was a nervous time for me, jumping straight up to 12km from 5km and with the ball of nerves that I was I got a speeding fine on the way to the train station but I did it, I completed it non-stop which was the plan and I was pretty happy but here was the difference, I was alone (not including the squash that the 12k is!). Friends had entered but with the flurry of thousands upon thousands of people and we were in different waves and races we never caught up and Amanda was in Sydney so all in all it was a pretty lonely day. I made my way back to Perth on the bus and went home and could only share my thoughts of the day once I picked up Amanda from the airport later that night.

So that brings me to now, fast forward 12 months, 50 more parkruns, 2 half-marathons, lots of shoes, training, a 22 minute parkrun PB and purchase of almost every conceivable run accessory and we have ourselves at the 40th Chevron City to Surf, my 3rd half marathon and second this month (Perth Half-Marathon being the other one).

Pre-race, still prone to nerves no matter how many I have done now, did my vest up wrong!

What a difference a year makes, this time around and in the year since I have made many new friends in the parkrun community and a real common bond and camaraderie has formed so much so we regularly train together and head to these bigger events en-mass, the parkrun WA team had over 100 heading to this event, the third biggest! This time around Amanda herself was in the half-marathon too and also the second in a month.

We had so many people in the different events and waves and in my case I was part of a sub-2 hour “party bus” where those who were having a crack to finish the half-marathon in under 2 hours would stick together with Simon who had kindly dedicated his run for those trying to do so.

The party bus ready to head off

We set off and in true City to surf style it was straight up St Georges Tce/Malcolm street to Kings park, a 75 metre incline over just on 1km it really sets the tone for day as it is one of the toughest road courses Perth has to offer.

Heading up Malcolm Street, still smiling!

Things didnt really settle down once we hit Kings Park, the excitement was still in the air and we were still chatting even though the hills were starting to get to us and a few had dropped back, we had some interesting people around us that must have decided we were too chirpy and gave us a scowl while we were talking. We hit some turnaround points and that was a good chance to offer the obligatory high-5's to any parkrunner we saw.

Thumbs up for Kings Park!

We hit Lovekin Drive and as much as I was enjoying to run with everyone which stopped me getting sucked into a zerg-rush and burning out too quick it was time to run my own race so I plugged my earphones in cranked up the tunes, took a sip of concrete (it was actually SIS electrolyte) and powered up a hill that felt like it went forever, seriously it took what felt like 10 minutes to hit the peak of it before it went into a nice decline where I could collect myself settle into a good pace for the rest of the race.

The so called “good pace” went out the window exiting Kings Park because I knew ahead was the easiest part of the day, St Georges Tce leading onto Thomas and Barker street which is the flattest part of the course and a gradual decline in parts. It was a good chance to make up for the slower than average pace in Kings Park and I was hitting the low 5's in pace, it was then I decided just to have my averages up on the watch and not worry about what distance I was at, whatever I lost going up the nasty hills I more than made up for coming down. It worked for me, conserve going up, hit it going down.

All was great until about 18km when my legs turned to lead and I approached heartbreak hill. The only thing that kept me running up the last set of hills were the people that were burnt out and I was passing them, I got this! I approached the peak of the hill and somehow magically the lead dissapeared and the adrenaline kicked in for the usual fast finish, the finish of the City to Surf would have to be one of the fastest, it was great I was fairly knackered by this stage but still had it in me to maintain a sub-5 minute pace for the finish.

Heading for the finishing chute

And I was done, all the training, all the parkruns, shoes, pretty green socks and $1 eBay wayfarers and headband for the retro theme of the day I was done in 1:57:37 and picked up another minute from my Perth-Half Marathon PB a few weeks earlier on a course with over 350 metres of elevation (compared to completely flat). I am happy with that, really happy. Sub 2 hours would have been fine but to pick up another PB was a bonus!

Blinged up and reunited with some parkrunners post race

Now I look towards the next goal, 6 inch ultra trail marathon on my 30th Birthday in December. Stay tuned…

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