Without question, the worst course but best social event of the year in the City2Surf. Today a beach-side breakfast, good support and exchanging war stories was well worth my 48 min of discomfort. From the HuRT squad, there were some serious PBs, offset by the usual no-shows, DNFs and some ‘tough days at the office‘.
7:55am – countdown, gun and before long I’m roadkill on William Street at a snail 3:30 pace. The ascent to King’s Cross tunnel is a pitiful one. I lift the cadence and instantly, the quads say ‘no-go‘. Then and there, it’s clear how the race will pan out…
Captain Tom (should run 46 min) is shuffling up Edgecliff, even slower than me and responds to my quizzical look – ‘my hammy’s are !@#$‘. I lurch forward and struggle with the rolling hills through Double Bay and beyond. Pace settles at 3:30s, the best compromise between self-respect and enjoyment.
6km, the base of Heartbreak Hill and I slip past Lambert and Frenchman Jerome. Hills should be my strength but not today. I attempt to lift the knees and power through with nil success. Lucky I don’t see the watch split (4:04 min). Finally I crawl up to the peak and run through Enda and Macca.
Runners hitting the crest tend to slow, leaving me no one to latch onto. By 12km I’ve added Fats and then Kiwi Mike L to the scalp list. Though legs are starting to warm, my hammy’s suddenly tighten on the descent to the beach (12.5km). Injury risk alert. HuRTS dark horse C Thornton runs alongside me and kicks forward (beckoning me to follow). Though my lungs are fine, I shake my head.
1.5km to go, #3 female Jess Trengrove is 40m upfront. I attempt to re-dignify myself and give chase (some prompting from a spectating Tom helps). Success with 500m to go. With no girl to chase, my pace drops again.
Easing into the U-turn, I comprehend the open road, soft breeze and cracking sunshine. This is why I love running. Lorie screams from the side – ‘you are running too slow‘. She should have said that at the start…
48:14 at 3:27 min/km average. 61st place!
Honestly, I’m stoked with this time. No self-flagellation as I kick back a sausage roll at the Allen’s tent. My prior PB is 51 min PB in 2012. Today completes a series of 2015 PBs from 10km to 42.2km. Almost certainly, I can run a better race in 2016. Barts is bored waiting for the rest of us turtles. Contender for Performance of the Year?
I’ve left some stomach space for the the famous Irish vegetable soup. Chorizo chucks discretely inject life into each warm spoon. Clever use of rice by the chef. Not quite Pinbone-quality presentation, but this is clearly made with love (and leftover fridge ingredients).With 14km of hardship, I’m not afraid to admit inhaling the contents. 7.5/10.
If I weren’t so polite, I would have gone for a second serve without tipping.