City2Surf 2013 – Sports triathlon leg 2 (aka I’m NOT either Chris Brown)

Pounding the pavement is a staple of a footballer’s preparation for an upcoming season, whether it be on a pancake flat main road or a hill filled course full of back streets and angry dogs and magpies. Many dread the experience for the pain, others for the embarrassment of being gapped and even lapped by a prototypical athletic young upstart looking to impress the coach with his physical attributes, if not his football ability. Then there are a select few who decide to take things a little more seriously and use these runs to enter triathlons or other community events.

For me, taking up road running as a semi-serious pursuit started almost 12 months ago to the day. For me it was a case of fitting something else into a big weekend in Brisbane (the footy came later that afternoon), and since then it’s flowed onto bigger events and longer distances. Sure I will be returning to the scene of my first event, the Bridge2Brisbane, in just under 3 weeks, but since then running has taken me to Geelong, Gold Coast, Perth and also locally on a rare Sunday off from sorting parcels. All of this was to get to the stage where I could tackle the world famous City2Surf in Sydney.

Getting up early enough was never a problem, after all my start wave didn’t start until 8:30 in the morning and I needed to be at baggage drop to store the warmer clothing an hour prior to this time. It also helps that work on a Sunday starts at 6:00 in the morning, so unlike many of the weekend warriors joining me on the start line I was used to a lack of a sleep in on Sunday. Even going to the footy the night before wasn’t  an issue, for the event I attended on the Gold Coast was preceded by a back row seat to Ryan Crowley pinching and punching Gold Coast’s number 9 on a day that wasn’t the first of the month.

Pre race is treated like a footy warm up, complete with static stretching followed by a dynamic warm up. The challenge was to find a space in Hyde Park suitable enough to conduct the dynamic section, which turned out to be less of a challenge than the Perth event in May (I did find a path between buildings). Then after watching the serious runners depart in the Red Group, not to be seen until 2014, it was time to squeeze into my start area. Much like footy the hardest part is waiting for the start, watching others go before you whilst trying to find enough space without feeling claustrophobic. It’s a time to play the run out in my mind whilst looking at the surrounds at those dumping charity clothing on the paths.

All of a sudden, with precision timing came the slow burning commencement of the run. It took approximately 8 minutes from the time the gun started to when I actually crossed the start line, which given my time wasn’t active until the line was crossed was a good thing. I’m certain there were others that waited twice as long to start. Then it’s all about a game of dodgeball without the balls weaving through the traffic, listening to the support of kids in their PJ’s looking for a high 5 or to spray you with the hose.

An hour or so later and it was all over, almost hidden amongst many members of the pack. It was a case of trying not to peak too early in the final sprint to the line at Bondi Beach that many never saw, but the slowish jog in the finish chute indicated otherwise. Mind you, having seen many on the side of the road seeking attention from the medics on course (including the famous vet with the same name as an infamous performing artist, I believe I was long finished before this moment) some may say it was a relief to finish. Wearing the right gear paid dividends also, with my choice of footwear earning me a free post race juice (tasted awful, only consumed half a bottle) and a 10 minute massage! The massage at least helped me cope with the long wait for the shuttle bus to Bondi Junction to get back into the city to confirm the second leg of the sporting triathlon was complete.

If you want to hear more about the actual run itself, then later this week (probably Tuesday or Wednesday) visit my blog here. I can’t wait to try to picture Heartbreak Hill for you… least the one on the course as opposed to the one leading to the path for the shuttle buses!

About Mick Jeffrey

39 Year Old, 16 year Bulldogs. over 280 combined senior/reserves appearances for Brothers AFC in AFL Capricornia. 26 time Marathon finisher, three time Ultra Marathon finisher and three time Comrades Marathon competitor (though not finisher yet).

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