Running – 12 in 2 list progress

In February this year, I set 12 goals I wanted to achieve in two years, called 12 in 2.  Number 11 was to run a half marathon, which is 21kms.  Naturally, as a non runner, this is a huge stretch of a goal but something I put on the list to as the ultimate challenge.  When I say non-runner, I mean I devised ways to get out of high school cross country, despite being otherwise a capable and fit athlete!  Warm up jogs at boot camp or school sport had me whinging (and panting) the loudest.  However, this past Sunday, I completed the 9km Bridge Run over the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge, as a stepping stone to the half marathon.

Million dollar real estate with a view to our start!
Million dollar real estate with a view to our start!

The 9km bridge run (5.6 miles) was the last race of the day, starting after the marathon, half marathon and family fun run (4kms) for the Blackmore’s Sydney Running Festival.  So it was a sunny warm day for the 9am start at Milson’s Point.  I was in group C, which run third/last of the groups, due to us having expected run times of 1hr or over.  The cutout off it 90 minutes <- I was pretty confident I wouldn’t get cut off, but your never know!

I can’t help myself, and took heaps of photos before the start, to share with you:

The view in front of me
The view in front of me
The view to the left
The view to the left
The view behind me - yes, the lady in blue and I talked... I can't help myself!
The view behind me – yes, the lady in blue and I talked… I can’t help myself!

How’d I go?

I set myself a target pace of 9kms per hour, hoping to finish in an hour of starting (I actually started at about 9.23am).  I had Runkeeper going, along with some music.  When I usually ‘run’ I actually do jogs interspersed with walking, and still achieve this 9kmh so I was happy to pace myself to this.

The first kilometer was hard, and I always find the start of a run the worst!  There was also a gentle but continuous incline to get onto the bridge as well.  It was exciting to be on the bridge though! I drive on it twice a day to get to and from work, and here I was, running on it when it was completely devoid of cars.  There was definitely a smug smile through the running pain! I remember I didn’t make the first kilometer without a walking stretch.  Still, Runkeeper kept me up to date every 5 minutes with my pacing, and I think only one interval over the whole run was I behind!

Our course had us do all sorts of strange things to someone accustomed to Sydney roads – we went the ‘wrong way’ down a spiral ramp onto the Cahill expressway, which took us running over the train line at Circular Quay.  If I’d been more about blogging than running, I might have photographed the sparkling harbour, and iconic bridge and Opera House, but by this stage, I was in the thick of the ‘running’ and not so worried about a play by play for my readers!

Where Runkeeper saw me run!
Where Runkeeper saw me run!

Prior to this run, I’d only done a training run at 6km. That run was more than two weeks prior to the Bridge Run, and in the meantime, I’d been through a cold. So, part of me wasn’t entirely confident in how I’d run! I used positive self talk to help – instead of ‘you’ve never run more than 6kms’, I’d say ‘wow, you’ve got 3kms to go, you can easily do that’. It made a big difference!

Oh so bright!
Oh so bright!

According to Runkeeper (I love their stats), I was above 9kms per hour for the first 4kms, which probably helped me stay ahead in pacing for the second ‘half’ of the race. Interestingly, the peaks in the coure are around the 4.5-5km mark and again in the last km! As far as speed, at my fastest I was doing 12.32kmph (I must check where it thinks I ran that fast!), and at the slowest, in my last km, was at 7.77kmph. Overall, I ran at 8.79kmph, for a total distance of 9.63kms (They say the course is ‘about’ 9km). This took me 1 hr and 5 minutes. This puts me right on pace, even though I didn’t meet my 1hr ambitious finish goal. Overall, I’m happy I made it to the end without an injury (even my shin splint like pain was silent), though I did have tight hamstrings before and after.

I never took this photo (photos were banned to keep the flow on the bridge - I actually was running when I snapped this!)
I never took this photo (photos were banned to keep the flow on the bridge – I actually was running when I snapped this!)

At the end of the race, I made my own way home. There was just swarms of people at the finish, so I can’t imagine if the BF had made it in, even trying to find him! Then getting to the train was a little bit of a logistical challenge – I ended up crossing the marathon runners path twice! Thankfully, Sydney smartly provides free public transport for all run participants, so being lazy, I got the train, then a bus (cause just a train involved more walking to get home!). The bf was at home after spending the last 24 hours on a yacht race, and we headed out for burgers. I then thought I was entitled to anything I wanted, being that I burned 710 calories! Alas, I still coped some cheek when a block or two of chocolate ended up in the shopping trolley! (For the record, I’ve not yet had any!)

So, in a rousing finale: anything is possible when you set your mind to it!  Practice makes the world of difference, and having people overtake you is often enough to stumble from walking to jogging again.  Now for a training plan to get me to a half marathon! (My brother’s time was 2hr02minutes for his half – impressive!)

Gratitude (for Sunday)

  • I finished the race, without an injury!
  • A beautiful warm day
  • The BF’s patience in traffic, during run road closures
  • The Newsroom finale (and finding out it’s signed for a new season!)
  • Mac and cheese made by the BF
  • For being somewhat relaxed with the state of the less than perfect house

What ambitious goals have you set yourself?  Have you surprised yourself in what you can achieve?

13 Replies to “Running – 12 in 2 list progress”

  1. WOW! CONGRATULATIONS, that is a such a great effort! I laughed at your description of avoiding Cross Country at school – yep, I would have been in the same group! So what an achievement to do a 9km run now. Doing a 21km run sounds completely impossible to me, but now that you've done almost half of that, it must be looking well within your sights!

    I *love* the Bridge photos! Brought back so much nostalgia for that blue, blue sky in Sydney and that amazing Harbour!

    1. If I'm honest a 21km sounds impossible to me too, but that attitude won't get it done, so I'll try to pretend it's a snack! The bridge photo was awesome, I'm so pleased I flaunted the rules to get a snap in! At least I didn't fully stop like many people did! It's a lovely city isn't it?

  2. Brilliant! Well done on achieving this goal.

    Love the photo of the arch. A view you rarely get. It's not the same in a car or stuck on that pedestrian path outside the arches, so I can see why you were naughty and took the photo.. It is such a majestic bridge, isn't it?

  3. I can't run 500 m either! It's amazing that you just decided on this goal and did it. Congratulations! You really enjoyed having access to the stats from Runkeeper. I would find something like that really motivating. It looks like the weather was excellent for early spring – what was the temperature like?

    1. It was 26 degrees Celsius – the 'best' temperature in my experience. Well perhaps not ideal for running in, but generally warm without being sweltering. I think you'd be better than you think with all your cross training!

  4. Brilliant effort Sarah, well done!! And what a great place to run. I've done some short fun runs/walks before and transport is always an issue – it sounds like getting yourself there and back and catching a train was the way to go.

    1. It was a pretty nice place to run (and walk!) It's definitely busy at this sorts of things – a full on wave of people. I'm glad I left myself enough time for the train and all the slow migration of people!

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