Chickybabes Cool Runners & the Canberra Times Fun Run

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Saturday was a day of howling gales and rain ~ although the forecast for Sunday was clear, it did not auger well for the Fun Run. Sunday dawned with the skies clear of rain and uncommonly still, perfect for a spring run. I left early to buy the Sunday Telegraph for the printed results of the marathon weekend, and was buried in the paper checking Cool Running names when Aki found my car parked outside! I was pleased to see my placing of 403rd ~ once all my aims for a faster time were obviously unfounded, during the run I reverted to my general non-time-specific aim, which was to finish within the top 50% of the field overall and better (I haven’t worked this out yet) in the female participants. My 403rd place fulfilled this. I just checked the on-line results and this was blown out to 412th – no complaints as it means that those poor guys who had NO Result recorded would have been included!

Aki and I swung back by home to pick up Bob, who was madly organising himself for an early departure after the run to drive to Newcastle. We dropped Aki at the start (and long wait) of the 5km walk, then continued to the race start at Woden. I kept a large backpack with me, afraid (as always) of getting cold at the finish, and saw Lucky Legs and Wombat near the start as I queued to put my gear on the baggage truck. The bright colours of CR gear meant that it was easy to spot a cluster of Cool Runners including Griffin, Speedy Geoff and Friar. The rest of the CR Chickybabes team however were hidden, although I eventually spied Strewth and CJ on the grass verge. Another Cool Runner, Scott was also nearby.

A low key starting gun was fired by the very pregnant, Sarah Reilly, and we made our way off the footpath and onto the roadway as the run started. The usual bun rush at the start meant that there were lots of footballers and 12 year olds sprinting off at the start, and it was a constant weave through the weft of slower people in the first kilometre of so. I passed a venerable looking older Japanese guy with great care as his bare feet on the pavement made me cringe at the prospect of being stomped on (or rolled over by a pram).

Once onto Adelaide Avenue, the breadth of the carriageway meant that it was fairly comfortable running, with many people around although with plenty of room. I saw CR Scott and Wombat disappear into the distance, and was amused to see the small gatherings of spectators along the spectator un-friendly route, where a few congregated here and there, and larger groups on the overpasses. As usual the scouts were doing a great job of manning the water stations at around 4km and 8km. I was pleased to see off the my right the slight figure of Sue Archer, an excellent F55 runner, and was surprised that she wasn't further ahead at this stage. Another runner, a triathlete who runs close to my race pace was also sighted at this point, and I was able to keep his bright yellow top in sight for the rest of the run. This delighted and surprised me - for although I felt marvellous, my expectations were not high for a fast 10km a week after the marathon.

Coming up to the start of the 5km walk, I caught sight of Aki on the verge and yelled out, but to no avail. This neared the end of the gradual uphill section of the course, which then swung away to a long sweeping downhill along the route used for dozens of triathlon and duathlon events, passing the edge of the Embassy district and skirting along between the (new) Parliament House and the Provisional (old) building. As my stride opened up with much relief on the downhill stretch I found myself running alongside a fellow Customs Jogger who had run Sydney last year, although was lamenting his lack of running since returning from an extended overseas trip.

I caught sight of a man with a plastic sack of what looked like the water sachets used in the Canberra Marathon. He was just settling them down and I yelled "Hey Water Bag! Mate!" as I came up to him, and managed to be handed a sachet as I trundled passed to the cry of "Go Cool Runner!". I thought it may be the CR Water Bag and expect that this was the case. I love the sachets - so much easier to drink from, and after I had consumed half a bag I could easily hold on to it to finish a little later, rather than the difficulty of swilling down the contents of a cup and tossing it aside to be crunched under a thousand feet.

Sue had long since disappeared from view, however I kept in sight of the bright yellow tops of both my Customs friend and the triathlete. This really surprised me ~ I hadn't been paying much attention to the time, I hoped to run under 50 minutes, and would be delighted with 48. I'd thought that I been running around 4:45-5:00 minute pace throughout and did a double take when the finish clock said 46:30 as I crossed. CJ was seconds behind me, and I was even more shocked to find out that the time was actually 45:30 at the timing table. It's probably a good thing, as I'm sure that if I thought I had a chance of running close to 45 today, I would have put more effort into it!

Bob had long since finished and left, and our swarm of blue and yellow gradually swelled to include Lucky Legs exuberant with a 2 minute PB, Strewth, Griffin and this charming partner Patricia, Speedy Geoff and Aki. It clouded over and hypothermia threatened to give us a group discount as we sought to share around our warm clothes. After the presentations (no barrel draws again!) we took a couple of photos, bade Lucky Legs and Wombatface a reluctant farewell, and wandered over to The Deck for the essential java jolt. With Mr CJ and Mr Strewth rounding out our party, I found another Sunday Telegraph insert for CJ to examine the results, and the waitperson once again offered to get Aki "your usual"!

We dispersed, Aki and I walking through the edge of Floriade (somewhere between Strawberry Fields and Brown Sugar) into Civic. Before my bus home came, I ducked into the Korean Grocery Store to check it out. I love exploring and finding new products at Asian grocery stores, and they all differ enormously. This is a very small three aisle basement shop, with Korean products on the left and Japanese on the right. Since the Japanese store at Kingston closed down, I am always on the lookout for other good providores. I found a bowl of Korean noodles which had almost no fibre and very low fat. Woo Hoo! They also had a range of Asian ice creams, and I bought a red bean ice (I love bean paste and lotus seed paste) which according to it's nutritional panel had no fibre and only trace (0.1g) fat. It made me think that I will try to include as much 'real food' in my diet other than FortiJuice as I can and see how I go. Even if it mean a couple of days without running so I can go out for dinner with friends.

On arriving home I received a call from the Perfect Running Buddy who had suggested another trot together this afternoon. He came over soon after, and I was able to show him just some of the magic bushland trails of Black Mountain Nature Park on my doorstep. He was as enchanted as I was with the bush, and before we knew it we had run for nearly an hour (58:49) and covered around 11k. The time had passed seamlessly though, running with him is always so easy. Note to Self: Must run with PRB more when I return from Newcastle.

A coffee to complete the afternoon, and I got stuck into the washing and attempting to work out what to pack (bike, helmet, 3 pairs of running shoes, bike shoes . .. .) for Newcastle. Still working on it. I'm looking forward to Newcastle now, and Fitzroy Falls even more!

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