Yes I was cursing a little as I staggered down or rather up Oceanic Drive.
City to Surf. 12 kilometres from St George’s Terrace – the heart of Perth’s CBD, to City Beach – winds its way through the pleasant suburbs of Subiaco, Jolimont and Floreat.
37,000 people ran walked and pushed their way on Sunday and I, for the first time, was one of them.
I nearly died.
The day started at 6.30 when I got up to get ready. I caught the train at 7.09 and made it to the city by 7.30. The train was packed with excited, expectant participants. Packed. They’d doubled the number of carriages and it was packed. We walked through to St George’s Terrace and joined the huge crowd.
I was walking and by happy circumstance the exact spot where the walkers start is where my friends from work chose to meet – London Court.
I think a few were surprised to see me. I’m not the fittest little black duck.
The race started and we piled into the main road, in with the throng. You shuffle forward slowly towards the start line. It’s high-tech you know. A little thingy you tie on your shoe registers your start time as you cross the line and as soon as we did the crowd seemed to thin a bit.
The first hill, up by Parliament House is not known as Heartbreak Hill for nothing. It’s long. It’s steep. My untrained thighs kept up with my fitter companions.
But then… I slowed down and they moved ahead. Later I learned that some of them ran the rest of the way. I’m afraid for me running was not an option.
I walked past the first watering point – 2 kilometres in – amazed at the amount of litter. They had used plastic and cardboard cups – the plastic ones crackling underfoot as thousands walked past, kicking them to the curb. In later points they only used paper cups so maybe they ran out?
There was also a bank of toilets and bizarrely so close to the start of the race there was a HUGE queue. I walked on.
I’d completely lost sight of anyone I knew at this point.
Two kilometres on I was feeling a twinge in my hip flexor – you know the one I injured a few weeks back – and my calves were starting to ache.
My boss walked past – and he had a heart operation this time last year…
At the 6 kilometre mark I was in pain. My gluts were burning. I ate a muesli bar.
At 8 kilometers I was also busting – but the queues for the few loos were enormous – I pushed on.
This is the last hill:
I rang mum to see if she had time to give me a massage. She wasn’t home.
I decided I was going to get into a queue for a toilet… at that point a half hour time delay wasn’t that important.
Finally I could see the sea and then… the finish line.
I almost jogged with joy but I was in too much pain.
Pain with the exertion of the walk and in the realisation as to how UNFIT I am.
Hey… but I still got a medal!
Hmmm not looking too good, and that grin looks a bit forced…
The next day – I got up at 5.30 for a brisk 3 kilometre run – yes I’m doing the fitness thing again.
And it felt good to say – with all the fit people that ran in it – yeah I did the city to surf yesterday…
Next year I’m hoping to beat my time… and let me tell you – that won’t be hard.