Our niece is away at boarding school this year. She is able to come home on term school holidays and a mid term exeats. While she is away she is living a fairly spartan lifestyle without electronic devices for communication, not even the old fashioned land line telephone.
Australia Post has become the best friend to all the boarders this year. Letters and parcels form the basis of communication from home. Both sides of the equation are waiting by the mail box eagerly for missives. I have sent a few her way and she has managed one in return. I will give her a little leeway as there is only one of her to respond to those who are writing to her and the timetable includes lots of hike and outdoor activities to keep them busy. If that activity is meant to assuage the home sickness I don't think it is 100% effective.
So I'm going to type out this post and send it off to her early next term so I can keep abreast of the correspondence.
As you know on Sunday I participated in the 'Herald Sun Run 4 the Kids'. This run was to raise money for the Children's Hospital. They will still have the Good Friday Appeal but this run contributed $1.6 million. It was really good to be part of this enormous event.
I got up at 6am on Sunday, making sure I had set the clock back from daylight saving time. Being April Fool's day I had to make sure that every thing was right. My routine on big run days is to have 2 weetbix and a banana and my cup of green tea. I had some new running pants to wear with my Run 4 the kids purple singlet. I got on the 7am train to the city and when I sat down I smiled to myself when I noticed that there were many others in running gear, some wearing the same singlet or T-shirt, some with the timing tag on their shoes or were reading the Run info booklet. Some more of the same got on at Melton, the train was full of us like minded runners!
The city was really busy and most of us were headed the same way. We walked over to Alexandra Gardens and I found the place to put my bag and found the toilets. Everywhere was crowded, the toilet queue was never ending and same with the baggage area. I found my 'orange' start zone and was anxious for it to start.
The 5 km runners headed out first and finally we were away at about 0920. The starter had counted us down and I thought finally we would get going, but I was back in the third of four waves with the very fast at the front and we slower individuals towards the back with the pushers and the walkers. It took about another 5 minutes to shuffle up the start. Once we were through the gantry we were able to pick up some speed and sort ourselves out. Other runs I have done haven't had as many starters. I was amongst 33,000 others and we had to duck and weave around lots of people.
First up we ran across the Swan St bridge and down into the Domain Tunnel. It was really hot in there and people would start woohooing which was very loud! Up on the tunnel signals a Run4Kids sign was flashing spurring us on. Running down was good and the way back up was quite gradual so I kept running to the first drink station. When it got steeper I walked for a bit to catch my breath (about the 3 km mark).
At the drink stations there were lots of volunteers handing out paper cups of water. When you have had enough to drink you just fling your cup to the side and keep running. There were loads (?1000's) of discarded cups and the area was drenched as well. You had to carefully pick your way through the area as it was very slippery. I kept running having a break of walking after each 3km marker or if it was uphill, the ramp up the Bolte bridge was pretty steep so I walked that bit and ran down the other side. When I was on the bridge I could see thousands ahead of me and the same behind. It gave me a very nice feeling to be part of something so big. Along the way there were some people cheering us on. I stopped a couple of times to take some photos with my iPod which are a bit blurry & highlight my bright red face.
After the Bridge we ran through Docklands, past the Icehouse, then through the city, past Flinders St station and back to the gardens for the finish line. I gave my all at the end and ran as fast as I could which was not much faster but I tried. The timer said 2 hours and 8 minutes. I'll be curious as to my time which starts when you go under the gantry and several minutes passed before I started officially. I'm hoping for 2 hours or just under.
My muscles were tired at the end and I just wanted to sit down. They handed out some Powerade which I had never had before but really liked. It was just what I needed. I should have gone straight back to the station but I needed a rest and after 14.3 kms I didn't have any hurry left in me.
The next train was another 1 &1/2 hours later plus it was 15 minutes late and crowded. Luckily I got a seat and was able to have a little snooze on the way home. By then I was over the crowds, the queuing and the crowds.
Today I am a little sore around the hips, I went for a walk this morning and did some stretching to ease the soreness. I am keen to see the results in tomorrows paper. I am going to have an easy week this week and will get back into training for the Mothers' Day Classic in 6 weeks. That one is an easy 4 km and Hayley is going to do it with me so that will be fun. This was the longest run I had done and will definitely do it again. Maybe next year you could come with me, after this year you will be able to blitz that distance.
I'll add a bit more to her actual letter, this account is long enough for now, almost as long as the race itself!