2016 Perth City to Surf 12km

Hooray! Massive relief today – I ran the City to Surf 12km, and didn’t trip up and didn’t freak out with all the people around who could potentially trip me up. Abysmal time in comparison to last year’s 12km, but I don’t much care.

Going in my biggest concern was Malcolm Street; 700m into the race you come up off the Terrace, on the Freeway overpass and up the Malcolm Street hill to Kings Park Road. It’s still packed with people, and that’s where in the past I’ve nearly cannoned into suddenly stopping runners who become walkers, or people who think they’re being good by pulling over to the left when they realise that they’re going to have to start to walk, but fail to look over their left shoulder and make sure that they aren’t going to cut anyone off as they pull left.

It was ridiculously cold on the Terrace this year – there’s always a wind chill factor there, but this time it must have been in the low single digits. Jeremy and I had come in with Nat and parked under my work building, so Jeremy had headed off for his half marathon and Nat and I went upstairs to my work to stay warm. Nat was in Wave 3 and I was in Wave 2, and when the assembly time for Wave 2 rolled around we diligently headed downstairs, got halfway to the assembly area then looked at each other and decided that if I was going to stay at the back of the wave, I could afford to head to the assembly area a bit later. We turned around and bolted back to the building lobby where it was warm.

At 9.07am I headed off to the assembly area and found it almost empty. I was a bit puzzled as I’d checked and double checked the start time for Wave 2 and it had definitely been 9.15am. I trotted up William Street to the Terrace and saw Ash and Amanda talking and we stood chatting waiting for 9.15am. A traffic management bloke wandered up to us and said to Ash and I that our wave had already left, and we explained that last year anyone who had left in the time bracket for a preceding wave had been disqualified. He shrugged at us and wandered off, just as it hit 9.15am. I guess someone in charge decided that the chance of someone dropping from hypothermia on the Terrace was too great and they shuffled us off early. It ticked over to 9.15am and Ash and I headed off saying goodbye to Amanda who was heading to her walk wave assembly area.

It was brilliant; just like my Sydney half marathon run – the streets were clear and I made it up to Kings Park Road before I had anyone from Wave 3 overtake me. My left ankle only generated that parkrun-stopping pain once when near the top of Thomas Street I spotted Ash up ahead, and picked up the pace to catch up with him whilst cresting the hill and turning left onto Hay Street. When I felt the stabbing pain I eased up on pace, remembered my plan to run my race at my pace, not someone else’s and the pain immediately dissipated.

I learnt a certain amount of tolerance during the race; not of pain, but of sound. There’s a running technique called Galloway method. Developed by Jeff Galloway it’s is a genius idea – run your entire race with a specific run/walk interval. Maybe run three minutes and walk one minute, and repeat the entire way, start of race through to finish. You have a watch setting that does a quiet beep when each interval starts and ends, and thousands of people have used this method to run marathons injury-free. But this woman didn’t have a running watch, she had an enormous Samsung phone strapped to her forearm, playing music and overlaying the music some sort of app that indicated a walk break with a low rumbly sound of a basketball shot clock timing out and the run interval was indicated by this violently loud and squeaky alarm clock sound of “bip-bip-bip-beep bip-bip-bip-beep!”. Every twenty five seconds. Yes, her Galloway interval was run 15 seconds, walk 10 seconds. So every 25 seconds I heard “bip-bip-bip-beep bip-bip-bip-beep!”

For kilometres. And kilometres.

And she was running my pace. I’d come across her just after I’d turned onto Hay Street and realised that there was no escape. If I tried to push the pace my left ankle may decide to get shitty with me, and I was only 3km in. My right ankle couldn’t be called comfortable, and I knew I was pretty much on my speed limit at that point. I was going to have to deal with bleepy woman for a while. We went past the Nova Radio offices, so there was a short while where it was drowned out with music. I tried to make use of the downhills, and the Underwood Avenue hill was a delight, because she had to walk that one, but she must have flown down the other side because she popped up again at Perry Lakes.

Now I’d gone into the race prepared to have to walk at some point, but by Perry Lakes I’d not yet had to, so I’m pleased to say that the only time I had to walk was stepping in and out of a portaloo at the 8.5km mark, which meant that bleepy woman went ahead of me. Such a relief.

I carried on up the final hills and finished my 12km in 1h28m44s. My legs are good sore, my feet are a bit sore, but my spirit is well up there.

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