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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Adelaide Running Festival - 24 August 2014 - 21K

I've been to Adelaide more times than any other city in Australia, but as I have always been driven around in a car, taking part in their Running Festival last month was my very first time hoofing it around its landmarks.  And, might I add, at an hour way, way before 11 am.

But by the graces of low mileage redemption on Cathay Pacific, a red eye flight and a potentially long weekend, I cobbled together enough points and hours to make it worth my while to fly to the fifth largest city in the continent. Along the way, I managed to persuade my Shiraz-imbibing, uber cool radiologist cousin Evelyn to slog the half marathon with me.  She'd never participated in a marathon before and there she was, ready and raring to go. All 21 kilometers.  Starting at 7.50 a.m.  On a Sunday. gotta love 'em. 

Early morning rays on the Adelaide Oval

I have to say that Evelyn was way more excited than me about starting and ending the race at this new-ish city landmark called the Adelaide Oval.  Apparently, this stadium is the place for football, rugby, and cricket matches.  As if it needed extra street cred, it is also the venue for the postponed Rolling Stones concert, now re-scheduled to give their fans some long-awaited satisfaction on 25 October, 2014. 

So when we started the race, the sun was shining, the sky was blue, the birds were chirping (maybe... I wasn't 100% sure as I had Elvis rumbling in my ears.)  But at around the 2k mark, we encountered this dense fog (which we initially thought was whipped-up dust from the hospital construction site along our route) that lasted for the next 6 kilometers or so.  Gave off quite the surreal English countryside Mr. Darcy-marching-through-the-moor vibe too.

Running alongside North Adelaide Golf Course at the 12k mark

The very pretty River Torrens

Aside from one section in the half-marathon route that took us through a well-manicured suburb near the tony North Adelaide Golf Course, we didn't have to double back much which is always a welcome respite.  Like I said, the mist lifted after an hour, and we got to run by the famed River Torrens, past the Rowing Club, Botanic Gardens and of course, my favourite attraction in any city, the zoo (in Adelaide, it's Australia's second oldest and features two relatively active pandas, Wang Wang and Funi.)

Wang Wang (or Funi.)

The only decent running shot of me all year.  Taken around the 19K mark.  My feet were killing me by then.
My running buddy Evelyn

We bought these gels from a pro bike shop, thinking we'd need some extra boost in our energy levels during our run, but they tasted so incredibly foul that we tossed them away.  Not recommended AT ALL.

Overall, the route was good, the weather fantastic, and the organizers peppy.  The only one who wasn't quite up to the race was me, and it showed.  I came in almost dead last amongst my set, and whilst I could blame it on my shoes (I didn't wear the ones I normally raced in, and my toes and arches paid for that oversight dearly,) it had more to do with the fact that I wasn't prepared, physically and mentally.  After running so many 10k races, working through more than twice the distance in Adelaide was, to state the very obvious, damn hard work

But of course, just like in all my previous races, all that teeth-gnashing, profuse sweating, and the semi-delirious walking limp I'd developed for 21 kilometers faded away like ants near a puddle of bleach the moment I crossed the finish line and collected my next pastel-coloured medal.  Heck, I was already looking forward to my next challenge:

The Safra Singapore Bay Run (10K) & Army Half Marathon to be held on the following weekend.


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