It has been a while since I have posted a blog entry, mostly due to lack of time, time consumed by work, family and more training. City2Surf is a main event for Sydney, NSW, an iconic run from Hyde Park to Bondi Beach. The distance is 14Km but with some hills in the way, not easy to conquer.
This year is the 6th time I have participated in this event, with hopes to do better than the previous year, my aim is to finish under 52 minutes. In 2015 I finished the race at 52:17, 17 seconds outside my goal so 2016 was my second attempt to break the 52 minutes mark.
Pre-race training, for 2016 I have put in extra distance, going from 30-40 Km weekly distance to about 60-70Km / week, as base building. As the race got closer I added some hill sessions to get myself ready for “Heartbreak Hill”. My training went well, I felt stronger and slightly fitter.
About 3 weeks out from the race, unfortunately I picked up an infection, the cause is unknown but I felt tired and not able to recover after a training session, this went on for about a week before I visited a doctor and was prescribed antibiotics. This put me off training for a few weeks, by the time I fully recovered I only had a week to race day, not much to do, just did some easy sessions and hoped for the best.
14th of August, race morning, feeling good, everything went well. I got myself to the startline and managed to get a good starting position, right behind the elites, maybe this was a bad idea as they are all way too fast for me to run with so I eased back a little and looked for a group that I could hang on to. I wasn’t looking at my GPS much this time, I just tried to go with the flow and not let people go pass, everything felt quick, no matter how many times I have run this race I can’t seem to find the perfect pace to move through the course. Maybe it is due to the undulating nature of this race. I was struggling to find my breathing rhythm, it took about 6Km for me to warm up and sort out my breathing.
Heartbreak Hill. I arrived at the base feeling good, next to me was a man in nothing else but red ‘budgie smugglers’. All I can think of is to go faster and get in front of him so I don't have to be looking at his red butt, I powered up the hill pass Red butt then tried to pass a few female competitors as well. The ladies are getting faster and faster.
10Km arrived, I checked my watch, 38:xx, my first though, NOT GOOD. I knew at that point that I should be well under 38 minutes to get my target time. I started to push harder, running hard down the hills and pushing through the inclines. I don’t think I have done enough homework on this course, I should have given myself a checkpoint for 5Km, 7Km and 10 Km.
Left: 2015 finish, Right: 2016 finish
The course change! Well I sort of knew about it but again didn’t really look at it much as the distance remained the same. The final finish came as a bit of a surprise to me with a few tight switchbacks, the final turn was close the the finish line, I think it was way too close for me to spin my legs back up to speed, I felt like I was robbed, my precious seconds eaten up by the switchbacks. I crossed the line at 52:24, not a PB, not my target time but still feeling strong. I asked myself, did I leave it all too late? Why didn’t I study the course? And of all else why did I only have a checkpoint at 10 Km? Strangely my finishing place is 222nd out of 70K runners, better than last year's but my time is slower, maybe many went slower this year too. Once again I will wait for next year to give it a crack at City2Surf.
Post race I took up the offer from Tom, HuRTS running group chairman, his kind invitation to the corporate tent located on Bondi Beach. I was the first man to take out the Bacon & Egg bun from the covered up stainless steel tub, followed by many pastries, juices and drinks. Not even sure if Tom saw me, I raided his tent, in and out before anyone can top up the food.
Corporate Tent food done, off I go to the next post race eating, my good friend Tarlia and her man Dan plus baby Scarlet hosted a rooftop party overlooking Bondi beach. A few Pringles and some more chips made it a day for me.