While many others back home were doing the Nike Human Race 10km along with several other countries in the world, or some who were enjoying our Malaysia independence day festivities, I was down to do the City to Surf 12km run, from Perth City to City Beach.
Although this was not at all associated to the Nike Human Race, with over 36,000 participants, exceeding last year's turnout by more than 6 thousand, I think this could very well be called a HUMAN race too.
Last year's timing was 53:26 (average 4:27 per km) with heavy showers and strong winds. I aimed to clock at least under 52 minutes this year (average 4:20 per km), considering the weather was much better... slight winds with clouds, not too hot.
Li-Ann dropped me off at the city at 7.15am. Darling, you aren't missing out again next year! The half marathon runners were just about to start. I don't like the route for the half marathon as it goes through the trails of Kings Park.
I ate an expired Powerbar (sis, they are ALL expired now. Hope they don't cause me any stomach problems in my races hehheh) with Powerade drink. Did about 12 minutes of warm up jogs around the Central Park foyer at my office tower.
Went upstairs to my floor to use the bathroom before I head out to the starting line. Met Jiun, Susan and Vicky from my division. Jiun has been getting himself psyched up for this run since the beginning of this year. He didn't compete last year due to sore shins. Peter and Alex from main audit came to have a chat. I haven't seen them run before, so this would be interesting.
8am line-up... I gave my bag to the clothing bus. It was a lot more organized this year, where they had different buses for different categories. 8.15am was the start... Olympic gold medalist Cathy Freeman were among us, doing a celebrity appearance. I doubt she was lining up at the front though.
I was meant to start in the B Category - 48 to 58 minutes, but I found many others (i.e. C Category - over 58 minutes) in the A Category - under 48 minutes compound, so I followed suit. Less traffic to get through at the start.
True enough, I clocked the first km in 4:25, still required a bit of crisscrossing between the crowd, but much better than last year. Right after the first km, we had to climb a hill at Edward Street, but surprisingly I was still able to clock a fast 2nd km in 4:12. I overtook Jiun at this point, and passed Peter shortly after.
My legs felt like ironed pistons as I somehow powered through the next few kms. 3rd, 4th and 5th kms were done in 4:02, 4:03, 4:02 respectively. I told myself not to get too excited as the hills were just about to come. I clocked the 6th km in 4:27. We haven't come to the hill yet, so I thought maybe the first 5 markers were under distanced.
Then, we came to the FAMOUS Underwood Avenue hill right before the 7th km mark. I looked downwards at my feet, just watching them go, distracting myself from the steep slope up ahead. I clocked 4:26 for the 7th km, giving 29:37 so far, still under 4:15 per km average pace.
We passed by the 4km runners at this point, they have yet to start. They cheered us as we passed. 8th and 9th km were back on FAST and FLAT ground, so back to the usual pace, 4:07 and 4:10 respectively.
Up until now, I haven't marked any runner as my pacer. I guess I'm a type of runner who runs very much on my own, by my watch. There was a steady built up of slope after this. I clocked the 10th km 4:15, giving 42:09 so far. I did a mental calculation, that in order for me to go under 51 minutes (and hence, surpassing my target by a WHOLE minute), I have to clock at least 4:25 per km for the next 2 kms.
The uphill seemed to go on forever. My 11th km was 4:28. I thought my chances of breaking 51 minutes were slim... BUT right after that, it was down slope all the way! I opened my strides, still can't sprint very fast though... endurance runner mah... clocked the final km in 3:48 - my FASTEST 1KM SPLIT EVER, giving total time of 50:25 (average 4:12 per km), whole 3 minutes faster than last year... I WAS STOKED!
I met Alex right after that, he didn't time himself but I think we finished about the same time. Went to collect my bag at the clothing bus drop off, was delighted to find it with ease and not take 30 minutes like last year!
Few other work people I met after that - Peter, Joe who arrived late and had to catch his breathe for 10 minutes before starting, Jiun who wasn't too happy with his time (hope this spurs you on harder for next year, mate!). I also met Jordan, whom I used to swim with and is now working with WHK Horwarth... Natasha who improved by nearly an hour compared to last year's walk, well done!
There were many corporate marquees set up... BHP Billiton, Royal Perth Hospital, Western Power... Come on, KPMG! Could have at least organized a team with T-shirts and all! Even middle tier accounting firms like WHK Horwath and BDO Kendalls had their own team AND paid for their members' entry fees!
I finally caught up with Jasmine, Michael, Bernice, Su Yen and Cheryl at the UWA meeting area. We stayed a while for the prize presentation... the men's winner finished in 35 minutes (under 3 minute per km!) and the women's winner finished in 42 minutes (3.5 minutes per km!). Cathy Freeman lined up in the walking category but her competitive spirit made her run until about 4kms to go, where she legs started to hurt. She finished in about 80 minutes.
And then, John picked us up, all squeezed into Su Yen's car, with Li-Ann joining us for lunch at Taka's in the city later. Thanks guys, for the transportation, really appreciate it!
Overall, I really enjoyed this year's run. The organizing was much better... perhaps the fine weather helped too. So... sub 50 minutes next year?