A few weeks ago, it was the Walt Disney World Half marathon, I wasn’t running it but I was following some friends who were on Facebook when all of a sudden it was announced that the race was cancelled. Lightning was forecast en route and so they had to call things off. The next morning, I logged online to find my friends out waving banners and cheering – even though the official race had been cancelled people, especially those doing the Goofy and Dopey challenges where you run a half marathon and then the full the next day were running the distance round the paths of hotel resorts making sure they earned their medals. I was sitting on my sofa in tears!
I think it’s fair to say that since I got here, fitness has not exactly been a major part of my life. Beer drinking- yes. Eating my own rapidly increasing body weight in chicken schnitzel – yes. Whining a lot about the fact that my clothes don’t fit culminating in a full on sobbing snot fest with my trainer (who every week tries to encourage me not to do any of the above) – yep, done that too. But actually getting back into the routine of running a long way not so much. However, seeing all these people running 21km in circles just to get the shiny shiny bling flicked a switch in my brain. I went upstairs, entered the Gold Coast Half Marathon in July (including booking flights and hotels) and made a resolution that that Wednesday I would go check out the Girls Run Sydney running club.
As the name suggests Girls Run Sydney is a female running club that meets at 7pm Wednesday night in the Domain in Sydney which is a huge park that overlooks Sydney Harbour. It’s about a 20 minute walk from my house so easy to get to. I knew they did a 3.5m course or a 7km course and I knew I’d get round 3.5km even if it wasn’t going to be pretty. I walk a lot round the Domain and the Botanical Gardens that it’s attached to so I also figured that if I lost then I’d at least know where I was so even if they shot off into the distance I’d be fine, I could get myself home. To my surprise, they didn’t disappear leading to the over excited proclamation in my head that ‘OMG – this is the BEST running club for anyone trying to build up their confidence and fitness’…..
Why Helen, you ask……?
Because they do their 7km in four sections. You run roughly 1.7km and then they stop and wait for everyone to catch up and have a photo (see above!). Then they run back to where they started. Then they run down to the Opera House (roughly another 1.7km), stop and then run back. I’ve been to running clubs in Sydney when I lived here before where as soon as someone said go, I didn’t see anyone again until the finish line! This was brilliant. Pacewise – I could keep up with them on the flat – and even crank out the odd word of polite conversation which means I’d estimate the pace is no faster than 10kph as that’s when I start to gasp. I’d lose it a bit on the hills but, because of the short circuits I could always see someone in front of me who I vaguely recognised and then catch up with the group at the next stopping point or the odd traffic light. Now admittedly, the night I went was a big group – and there were lots of newbies so maybe if it was a smaller group the gaps might get bigger – but even so, the host runner (I think her name was Maura that night – sorry if I got that wrong) went back and collected any stragglers.
Now some of you might be reading this and thinking – but I want to go fast or build up my distance. Well there’s nothing stopping you sprinting the sectors and treating each of them like speed training – everyone seemed to be going at their own speed. It also seems that a lot of the runners meet up at weekends for much longer runs – they have teams in most of the major Sydney running events – and nearby events like the Gold Coast half (so I might have someone to meet for a beer afterwards if I’m lucky) so you could work on your distances on the weekends runs that help people build up for those. If you want to find out more about them, they have a Facebook page here which just confirms the run is happening and shows you exactly where to meet.
I was super inspired and determined to go back the next week – and then got laryngitis and completely lost my voice (I could literally only squeak, The Boyfriend thought it was paradise) and it took me two weeks to feel fully recovered. I’m off on hols this week – thank heavens, I really need a break – so it will be two weeks before I get to go back but I absolutely will go again when I return. It’s already in my diary. As is my training schedule for the half marathon.
Before the half though I have a nice event to do. On Saturday Feb 25th I’m doing the Rainbow Run which is part of the LGBT Mardi Gras celebrations here. It sounds really good fun. It’s a 6km run policed by drag queens with water guns. The idea is that you’re given a colour to wear so that the field is all the colours of the rainbow flag – I’m in the yellow team which means I get to run in my normal WISH shirt – but I feel there’s going to be an added tutu and the running tiara is going to get some yellow ribbons. If you’re running it (and happen to spot this post) come say hi – I’ll look something like the below but sans pom poms. If you like the sound of it, I think entries are still open here.
So it looks like my running mojo is back – I even bought myself a TomTom sports watch similar to the one I loved so much when I reviewed it all those months ago (it’s now been out so long I got it supercheap!). Yesterday I did 7km round the park – and I only had to walk a few bits (which considering the beating my lungs took recently I can deal with). Now, if we can just get the fitness blogging mojo back we’ll all be happy!!!!