Monday, 31 August 2009

Bridge to Brisbane

The 2009 Bridge to Brisbane was a mixed experience for me. To be honest, I probably enjoy having done more than I enjoyed doing it. Nonetheless, I couldn't class it as anything but well worthwhile.

The day started early, with a 4:30am wakeup. After a quick breakfast, I grabbed a backpack and walked off to Bowen Hills Station (about 2km). There I caught the 5:13am train (the first of many, I suspect) to Murrarie, near the start of the run. The place was awash with people, and it was very hard to work out where we were supposed to be. I found myself at the back of the "green" (50-60min expected time) starting zone, but was unsure, as I was surrounded by people with yellow numbers. This was indeed a bad thing. I waited for what must have been at least an hour between arriving (6-ish, I guess) and actually getting to the start line, which did nothing for my wellbeing or my patience. Also, having left my iPod at home having read the requirement to do so in the race guide, I was disappointed to see every second runner with headphones in.

Once I started, it was a matter of picking my way through the people already walking, pushing prams, and chatting on their way over and down the bridge. This continued for almost the entire 10km, despite my having started in the "green" zone. The system of starting people separately is fine, and should work, but the poor signage and almost complete lack of any marshals, meant that people essentially started whenever they could, irrespective of the guidelines.

After 3km I took on water, probably too much, and I started to slow a little. By 5km I was counting the kilometres, telling myself "one more km before I stop to walk" - wussy, but it was a hot day, and I really hadn't trained properly (at all). I managed until the 7km mark without stopping, then broke and walked for two or three hundred meters. Over the final 3km I had another 2 breaks, for a total of perhaps 800m or so of walking, before finishing strongly over the last 200m (for the cameras, you know).

The finish line was almost as chaotic as the start. Big queues for water, for fruit, and especially to reclaim bags left at the start. I somehow also came away with a bag of goodies from the Heart Foundation, having raised more than $50 for them. (Fortunately, I'm 90% sure the goodies were donated, not bought), in addition to my "I finished!" shirt. I thought about wearing it to work today, but its quite offensively white, and there are 46,000 other people with one, so I'm even less inclined to brag about it.

Having started so long after the official start time, I have no idea what time I ran. With my breaks, I'm sure I was well outside my ideal time of 50minutes, and possibly outside my more realistic aim of 60min. I suspect the official times won't be posted until the major sponsor (The Sunday Mail) prints them next weekend (at which time hopefully they can be read online - I refuse to buy that rag). The day proved frustrating, but talking about it with other runners today has been really good, and it has motivated me to improve my running and fitness so that I can complete 10km "properly" (i.e. without walking, and under 50min) in future.

EDIT: According to the race website, I ran 56:44, which was good enough for 6056th place (not that I care about the place). I'm reasonably happy with that time, given the conditions, the weaving through people, and that I walked for a bit of it. My target for my next 10km run remains 50 minutes, though.

My fundraising page is still up over here. The Heart Foundation do good work fighting the effects of heart disease, so if you're inclined to give them a hand to do it, then I'd encourage you to do so. If you donate through my donation page, then it'll make me feel good about myself, and lend creedence to the Bridge to Brisbane as a useful fundraising activity, which can only be a good thing.


michael said...

What kind of liability fearing society do we live in that bans iPods?

Andrew said...

Get your finishing certificate from the has your time and place on it.