That time I ran 14kms to mostly pop music and didn’t die…

…from the run OR the music.

I can’t believe it has taken me a week to actually write this post. It was pretty much one of the most exhilarating experiences of my entire life and I have been composing it in my head ever since I did the actual run, but a series of boring events that go something like computer issues and blah blah blah have meant that it has taken me until now to write the damn thing. But you don’t care about that. Actually I’m not sure you even care about this but I’m going to tell you anyway.

What else is a blog for if not for blabbing about something you did that rocked your world?

Ummmm don’t answer that.

So, the run. Well to be honest, I really didn’t think I was going to make it there for awhile.

I decided to do the City to Surf, the big arse 14km run Sydney hosts each year that funnily enough runs form the city to the beach, on an absolute whim. Some well meaning Facebook friend posted an innocent “Who is running the City to Surf this year” update about 5 weeks out from the race and I thought, well why the hell not? I posted something on Facey and a friend (who had never previously run more than about 5km without stopping) piped up with a “I’ll run it with you” and I was in. Well almost. I was into training.

After about a week of really awesome freaking great fucking spectacular training I decided “Hey dude, you got this” and put my money where my mouth was and signed up to do the damn thing. I paid no attention to the various categories and totally freaked my friend out by signing us up to the first open running category available: the blue team. On further reading I discovered the categories went something like this:

1. Blue team: ridgy didge runners who don’t have a qualifying time but do like their running

2. Yellow team: we can sometimes run but mostly jog team

3. Orange team: we are here to party team

I thought I could probably do Blue but realistically I probably should have chosen Yellow and I’m pretty confident that my friend was wishing, really really wishing, that I had looked at the info more clearly and gone with Yellow. But you know, I didn’t.

Like I said, training that first week or so was rockin’ (for me). I kicked arse. I ran further and got faster and I was in the zone. I started to think that maybe a 75 min finish was achievable. Then I got the flu. Like a really bad flu. Like I could barely even move for 2 days flu. And I was definitely sick for a good week there. Oh and I wasn’t running.

One week later I forced myself to do a run and felt so uninspired I took the rest of the week off. Training? What training?

I finally got my shit together in the week leading up to the race and did some training. On my last possible running day (Thursday and the race was Sunday) I even did some hill training which was actually pretty vital as the whole fucking run is hills. Lots and lots of hills. They talk all about this one hill, Heartbreak Hill, but it is by no means the only hill in the run. The entire 14kms is pretty much a series of varying hills. There is quite a bit of downhill in the last 5 kms but it is not without hills. Don’t be fooled.

Anyway, I trained but not enough and I reset my goal to completing in 90mins. And I will admit to thinking right about here that perhaps I’d bitten off more than I could chew.

On the day before the race I was scheduled to fly to Sydney at 1320. I arrived at the airport about an hour and a half before my flight – earlier than I needed to be there as my ride had to be somewhere else a little sooner than was convenient. I happen to love airports so it was no big deal. As I arrived I noticed my flight was already delayed by 20mins. Apparently there was some fog in Sydney that morning that had slowed the start to the day so all the Sydney flights had been screwed a little. Again no big deal. I got some food and had a book. I was sorted.

Then the flight was delayed another hour.

Then another hour.

Then until around 5:45pm. Our plane went and had engineering difficulties on top of the fog delay. Of course.

At this point I started to wonder whether or not it was smarter to just call it a day and go home. I’m not a nervous flyer at all but I do believe in signs, stupid signs. Was the sign that I shouldn’t go?

Despite my nervousness I did board that flight. My one saving grace was my friend who had also committed to run with me so I felt committed to being there for her. I also chatted with my brother who threw out the “it is an amazing race to run, Rach” comment and I will admit, it swayed me. So I boarded the damn flight.

And we sat on the tarmac for half an hour after we were supposed to take off due to more engineering difficulties. And I totally wigged myself out about the fact that the flight number had the number 17 in it (Malaysian Airlines anyone?). Like I said, I’m not a nervous flier at all but the signs, oh the signs…

The flight took off and we made it without a hitch. I landed about 6 hours after my scheduled arrival but woop di doo. The plane didn’t crash. I was there to run.

Ready for City2Surf

Ready to race

On the day of the race it was a chilly chilly morning for this north coast girl. I was worried about freezing my butt off but it was a frivolous concern as the adrenlain and coffee and atmosphere of around 80,000 other runners warmed me so much I had the long sleeves off before we’d even passed the check point. I was so excited I really can’t even begin to describe it. The energy was incredible.

My friend and I ran together for the first little bit and then we just went off at our own pace. At the time of running the race the furthest I’d ever run was 10kms, my friend, 7kms.  I had two goals that day:

1. Run the entire 14kms.

2. Make it in under 90 mins.

I’m not normally very good at running my own race but I just told myself over and over again that was my focus. It was actually reasonably easy to do as there are soooo many people around you. I wasn’t even running particularly fast and I was passing people all the time as there are loads of walkers on the course. It made me feel nice and speedy!

I didn’t over exert myself on the flats as I knew there were hills, including the motherfucking big one at the 7km mark. That’s pretty late in a run to introduce a big hill. I can honestly say that was the hardest part of the run for me. I literally had to keep telling myself to keep on going at that point. But I made it and I didn’t walk once, not even with the water. Once I walk I”m done for so I just had to choke on the water and keep on running.

I got right into the spirit of things and did the hand slaps with the little kids standing on the side of the road as I was running by (which actually gave me a spurt of energy – I highly recommend it). If there was a video I put my arms in the air and cheered (something I also did as I crossed the finish line). I was not too cool to participate in the experience in every single way and I love that I did that as it made it so much fun for me.

ANYWAY this is LONG so I’ll cut to the chase. I made it. I achieved my goals. I did the run in 86mins with juice still in the tank at the finish line. The first thing I said was “I could totally run a half” closely followed by “I could do it faster”. And seriously ever since then all I’ve thought about it how I wish I’d exerted myself more and got a better time! HA!

There will be other years. We are going to make it a family event with my brother and his wife. We’ll get our kids involved and it will be awesome. My grandfather ran that run for years and years so it makes me smile that we might keep that going in our little corner of the world.

If you are thinking about doing this DO IT. Even if you haven’t run much. My friend ran the whole way too and was only 3 mins behind me and she was super freaked about being in the running group. The whole experience made us both realise how much of a head game running really is. And aside from Heartbreak Hill I can honestly say that I felt a bit like I floated the whole thing. My body told a different story for two days after but meh, who gives?

My body also tried to ache on the day but I solved that with beer, this view and the company of good friends. It’s a hard life.

view North Bondi RSL

Beer + view = happy Rachael

Catch you later Alligators.

PS If you want to check out my so not cool running mix then you can go here. This post was too long to include that too.

mfs brand

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29 thoughts on “That time I ran 14kms to mostly pop music and didn’t die…

  1. Pingback: My so not cool City2Surf Running Playlist | mummy flying solo

  2. Whoops, got ahead of myself there. I wasn’t finished! Congrats for kicking the ass of your goals. Just think of me as one of those little kiddies holding my hand out for a high five. Well done!

  3. YOU! YOU one bad-ass chick! Congrats, I’m in awe of your first up effort. And this is how the running bug all starts! I’m even in greater awe of your playlist. I thought I was the only crazy person running to AUSSIE rap such as hilltop hoods. Lady, add some INXS to the mix, sprinkle with some more Pitbull and good ‘ol ice cube, and you and I could run off into the sunset with the same cadence! Well done, again.

  4. Congratulations, Rachael. You are so hooked on this now. 🙂 I can feel the adrenalin in this post. I don’t run at all but hubby does, pretty much every day and is always competing with himself and times. And with other runners too! So much of it is mental attitude, as you say. Taking yourself beyond where you think you can go, setting new goals. For all I don’t run, it’s exciting to read your enthusiasm. The medals are just a wee bonus to the buzz. Great job on getting there in the first place and to the finishing line. High five! 🙂

  5. Of course, this American is attempting to do mathematical conversions in my head…let’s see, I know a 5K is about 3.1 miles, so a 14K is…really damn far! Congratulations, and what an achievement!

  6. OMG 86mins!!!! Bloody well done you. Been meaning to read this properly for ages and finally got a bit of time this eve as DH making dinner 😉 It sounds like you had a fantastic run – it’s further than I’ve ever managed and in less time to boot. You are a natural runner, girl 🙂 Well done – you should be super proud of your dedication and how strong your body is! X

  7. WHOO HOO! I know I am late to the game but I love a good race recap! You rocked this and you look amazing! WTG!!!

    La-

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