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Fun Runs

I preferred the smaller Fun Runs with uncrowded
starts and a good chance of prizes and/or glory
Tomorrow is the annual City to Surf 14km Fun Run and there are more than thirty Trotters making the journey to join 85,000 other runners for the run from Sydney to Bondi Beach.  I entered some time ago, before I injured my arch, and a few weeks ago had given up on the idea of running.  However, the arch has definitely improved in the last two weeks and I will join my club-mates tomorrow.  This will be only the second time I have run City to Surf, and I never ran it whilst in my running prime.

I always considered I lacked the basic speed necessary to do well in the mass participation Fun Runs, though I did surprise myself (and a few other people) once with a third place in the 1981 13km Melbourne Exacto Team Trot (39:28).  Even with an "elite" start, and I rarely got those, you had to run very fast from the start to avoid being swamped by runners who then slowed dramatically after a few hundred metres.  Without an elite start, you had to line up for an hour or more to get a good spot on the starting line, thus ruling out any kind of a warm-up or last-minute toilet visit, neither conducive to a good performance.  Then, if you dealt with these issues and got away well at the gun, you would see "bandits" pouring out of the side streets ahead of you during the first kilometre.  Just about the last straw for me was an event (I think it was one of the old Sun Superuns that went over the Westgate Bridge in Melbourne), where I had managed to get a reasonable start then saw one of my club-mates, a better-performed 10km runner than me, appear from a side alley about 500 metres after the start and join the field about fifty metres in front of me.  I never did catch him.

I developed an aversion to the mass participation Fun Runs, though was always happy to run in the minor ones where the start wasn't a problem and there was a chance of prizes and/or glory.  A bigger fish in a smaller pond.

The City to Surf isn't high on my priority list as a runner, but it will be an enjoyable day with my club-mates, and it will be inspiring to see so many people out running on what promises to be a beautiful Sydney winter morning.  Not having any expectations about my performance, and happily resigned to taking it easy in the early kilometres, I will just cruise and be entertained.

Terrigal Trotters generally schedule an "easier" Saturday morning run when there is a big running event the next day, such as the City to Surf.  This morning's, "Marg's Meander", barely qualified as easy.  Early on there is a lung-busting hill that really blows away any cobwebs, and later in the 11.5km course, there are a few smaller hills to keep you honest.  I started gently so as not to aggravate my right arch injury and then, after the first hill, just tried to maintain a comfortable tempo pace whilst avoiding the temptation to chase the runners I could see ahead.  The latter became academic after 8km as my lack of training caught up with me.

I finished feeling very tired, unfit, coughing and out-of-breath.  About the best thing that could be said about the run was that my sore arch seemed to handle it OK.  I have had a bit of a cough the last few days, so I hope I'm just dealing with a minor cold.  On the other hand, because I associated it with a developing pattern of headaches, I stopped taking asthma medication a few weeks ago and I definitely felt I was wheezing a bit on the hills and later in the run.  Of course, it's probably just the cold and lack of fitness, but like all serious runners, there's a lot of self-analysis going on.