So, this weekend just gone I was off to Sydney, packing as many activities as possible into one 36-hour period. It started with a 7am flight south followed by a 1.5hr transit from the airport to the city centre after discovering the airport train was having maintenance (as you would, on a Saturday morning in a huge city.…derrrr). I met up with my god-daughter & her mum for some retail therapy, in the quest for a party frock for my nuptials. Some success…. though really, the shopping was pretty uninspiring. I managed a brief one-hour nanna nap before heading off to my 30-year school reunion. It was so wonderful to catch up with some of my girlfriends after All This Time. To be honest, it doesn't actually feel like 30 years since we last saw eachother, dressed in our dorky bottle green tartan tunics. Whilst the whole reunion was a bit … errr… surreal, I did enjoy catching up and I am sorry I live so far away because there is nothing quite like geography to sustain friendships. Thank goodness I love writing letters so much!
Jen, Kate, Linda, Ali, Julia
Piking out of the party at 10pm (first one to leave!) I got lost on the train back to the city after thinking I only had one stop and realising I actually had about five. I absolutely HAD to get some sleep as I was almost unconscious with exhaustion and I knew I had a big day on Sunday. Big day? Yes. B.I.G. The Blackmores Sydney Half-Marathon, with a gun time of 6:20am from Milson's Point.
Thank goodness for comfortable hotel beds because I felt So Much Better when I woke Sunday and all traces of my niggling potential cold had gone.
Is that Queen Vic? In Martin Place?
The start line at Milson's Point. Check out the real estate in the background! Imagine waking up each morning to this view? W.O.W…
The start of the event was VERY organised with great militancy about which group you could start in, based on your estimated finish time. This way, the start was slightly staggered so you didn't end up running into someone ahead of you who had decided to walk already. I was in Group A but I was running with Michelle, who was in Group B and there was No Way they would let her in to the Group A start. So, it really didn't matter because the whole purpose was for me to help her finish in under two hours. When we did get into our start group, I found the bloke I'd been chatting to on the airport shuttle bus the day before (amazing) & he'd wanted to be in Group A too but had a big old 'B' on his tag so … bad luck bucko! It was already pretty warm when we started and of course, the more we ran, the hotter it go. Hellfire and dadgum! It was HOT. It was hilly too. Lots of hills. Too many hills! So, the combination was ugly. We made sure we drank lots of water, pouring it over our heads too. The poor old water stations were struggling to keep up with cups, possibly not anticipating people taking two cups - one for their mouths and one for their heads. They should have just hosed us as we ran by. We tried to make the best of it by admiring the scenery and pretending we were having an absolute riot but even I was struggling at about 19kms. I used all the tricks in the book to motivate Michelle for those last couple of K's. All the tricks that have worked on ME in the past! When we were about 500 metres from the finish line, I gave her free reign and off she went, like Black Caviar, tearing throught the crowd to finish in 1:59:14 (or something like that) and of course, she was OVERJOYED. I came in about 7 seconds later, eyeing off a guy getting CPR right at the finish and found myself in tears. Think it was a combination of the guy on the ground and Michelle's happiness. What a buzz it was to know I had helped her fulfill her dream. Total satisfaction. I highly recommend it.
Later on, after Michelle left with her family, I took my pompoms and went to cheer on the marathoners (poor bastards). It was carnage. Absolute devastation really. It was SO HOT and bodies were dropping right, left and centre. Mainly male bodies too. I was standing at the finish, about 500 metres from the end when some poor guy collapsed in front of me. Crikey! All we could do for him was lie him on his side and wait for the ambos to come. He needed IV fluids, sugar and air-conditioning, none of which we had. While he was down another guy coming by started to sway and before long, he was down too. It really was awful. I don't have ANY evidence or scientific fact behind this statement I am about to make but it does appear to me that men are more prone to this than women and could it be that they don't listen to their bodies as closely? I know this could be perceived as sexist drivel but it's not meant to be! It is an OBSERVATION from my brief experience of long-distance running. Anyway, it certainly took the shine off the day for me and I can't stop wondering how they all are today. No news of deaths in the 'paper so that must be a good sign. Mind you, the Sydney Morning Herald has not mentioned the event at all. It's just Darren Lockyer, rugby, horses, tennis, cricket…. Yada, yada, yada.
Simon and Lizzie
The almost very best part of the day (after Michelle's V for victory) was meeting up with my old buddies Simon, Lizzie and Ros. Simon ran the half while twins Lizzie and Ros struggled through the marathon, both finishing much slower than they normally run but sensibly deciding they weren't prepared to kill themselves for a good time. See? Sensible females… Okay, okay, I will shut up about it now. What do you male runners think? Needless to say, I slept the sleep of the dead last night and wonder what on earth made me think I could fit all this activity into one weekend. I sometimes wonder if I have undiagnosed ADHD. Yes… I do. Now I am home, with three journalism assignments due in two days' time and then we're off to the UK in three days. Oh, and its my birthday too - but I don't actually have time for that!
Post-script: the guy who carked it at the finish line is alive! Here is the link to the news story about his recovery. Warning - it does contain graphic images of resuscitation which I actually don't think are necessary…