Tag Archives: Fun Run

My first and last half marathon at #RunMelbourne‬

I never been good at sport.  I was always picked last in teams and since childhood I have a battle with my weight.  Of course I love watching sport.  Love footy and of course soccer and can’t wait for the Olympics, but I was always hopeless actually playing sport.

One way I can compensate for that is by running (and a bit of gym weights).  I don’t have to worry about ‘letting the team down’.  But running on its own after a while becomes a bit boring, and that’s why ‘fun runs’ are a great way to have an aim and keep a focus.

I used to do a few in my single and childless days.  I even ran the Sydney to Surf once in Sydney.  But once I became a father the energy and time to run became less and my fitness suffered as a consequence.

I always promised myself that I would come back to it again one day, and as my son grew up and my partner didn’t need constant help, I went back to the running.  My comeback fun run was the City to Sea fun run last year (which I also wrote about). That was 14 Km. and I completed it fairly OK.  So I thought, should I try for a half marathon?  After all it is only 7 Km extra.

So I decided to enter the Half Marathon at RunMelbourne.  I got on the website and got the ‘beginner’ 1/2 Marathon training schedule, which started in April and followed (almost) to the letter.

As I trained I definitely got fitter, my waistline did decrease (a little, not as much as I hoped) and my weight stayed resolutely the same.  When I voiced my disappointment about this on twitter I was informed that I was replacing fat with muscle. Hopefully that is the case.

I felt I could do it.  However on the long runs (90 minutes plus) I did notice that I was struggling a bit at the end.  So I knew I had to pace myself.

So last Sunday arrived.  Woke up in darkness which for a Sunday morning as everyone else is in bed is a struggle.  Ate a couple of crumpets. Placed band aids on my nipples (after shaving the hair around them the night before – laugh all you like but it worked) got dressed in my gear and rode my bike to Federation Square.  Yes had to ride my bike because the first train would have arrived at my station forty five minutes after the start of the run.  Actually it was good as it gave me a good warm up.

From deserted inner suburban streets, immediately was into people in running gear once I reached Flinders St.  Parked my bike. Walked to the start in St Kilda Rd.  As with all runs, and especially this one, I always am at the back.  I am not interested in times.  So while the start was in front of the Floral Clock, I was basically on Princes Bridge (apologies for whoever is reading this and is not from Melbourne, but it is quite a distance away) so basically the start hooter goes, nothing happens for some minutes, then you start walking and finally can start running.

As with most fun runs I’ve been to, lots of people started running really quickly.  So either everyone was a really good runner, or more likely they get swept up by the enthusiasm at the start.  I knew that if I had any chance to finish the half marathon I had to pace myself really carefully, so as I was running at my comfortable pace many runners overtook me and I was left at the back with ten or so slow runners like me, and a couple of dads running with strollers.

Inevitably I caught up with some of them as they slowed down or started walking, but not that many.  Obviously, unlike 10Km or 14Km runs I’ve done before, the half marathon attracts a more serious, fitter runner.

I was enjoying myself.  I was running in my favourite city, with no traffic with other people and throughout the course there were people either playing music or DJs mixing disks on their consoles.

At the half way mark I was really going well.  I wasn’t right at the back any more and I felt great.  I felt like I could run for another 20 Km, but I knew better. I reached the 14Km mark and that signified the longest I ever ran before.  It went well for another kilometre or so, but I could feel slowly that my legs were really getting tired and my knees were hurting a bit.  Aerobically I was fine, it was my legs that were starting to feel it.

At the 17 Km mark I hit a bit of a wall.  I had to slow down but I resolutely didn’t want to stop.  I would shuffle to the end if necessary but not stop except for a drink station.  I did stop at the first one to drink some water, but I fund that starting again was difficult.  So I didn’t stop at any until the end of the run.  While before the Kilometres came fairly easily, now they felt like they were hugely apart.  Slight hills that I didn’t even noticed on the first lap, felt like huge mountains.  However the sight of people stopping made me more determined to continue.  As I saw the last kilometre sign I actually felt a bit better and started to pick up the tempo.  But also because I wanted it to finish as soon as I could.  I see the finish line.  I see the clock that say ‘two hours and thirty minutes’ but I didn’t care.  I finished. Mission accomplished.

Afterwards I went to the Commonwealth Bank tent and got myself a free muffin and coffee.  Again apart from my legs I didn’t feel to badly.  So walked back to my bike and debated whether to take the train back home.  Decided, perhaps foolishly, to ride home.  It was a hard slog and I had to get off the bike and walk the hills.

At home my partner and my son were still in bed.  Had a shower and got back to bed myself.  The feeling of relief permeated my whole body.  And as I was lying there I ticked mentally the things I wanted to try in life.  I finished a half marathon.  But that’s it. I got fitter.  Running has made me more relaxed. But only 14Km or 10Km fun runs from now on.

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Hey Guys..anyone want to donate to a charity while I run?

I you read the previous post you know that I am training for the City2Sea Fun Run.

Part of running this (apart from proving to myself I can still be relatively fit, even if overweight) is to raise money of the charity of my choice.  It is sort of part of the Movember thing, but instead of growing a moustache I am running (much to the relief of my family).

The charity I have chosen is the Mental Illness Fellowship of Victoria.  This organisation is Victoria’s leading membership based not-for-profit organisation working with people with mental illness, their families and friends to improve their well being.

Mental Illness Fellowship Victoria

So this is a brazen request to donate some money.  But how can I do this I hear you cry?  I may have never met you!  Have no fear.

The people at the City2Sea have organised everything.  Once I registered for the run I was given a little website where people can donate with cards B-Pay and all these new modern fangled things – http://www.mycause.com.au/mycause/raise_money/fundraise.php?id=49127.

This will also give you a receipt so you can claim a deduction come tax time.

So please anything will be appreciated!

Yours in exertion.



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City2Sea fun run. My chance to re-live my past and raise some money for charity as well.

Maintaining fitness for me has been always a bit of a battle.  From being a fat child, then a fat teenager I managed to be thin and fit for my early adulthood, until having a child and being caught up in the day to day activities and preoccupation of life made me abandon the strict regime of pears, apples and brown rice and exercise that involved running, going to the gym and a ‘abs only’ session of Fridays followed by more gym and a swim.

My body is very happy to gain weight but it is very reticent in losing it.  So I have been watching my weight and going to the gym but the results were somewhat disappointing.

So when I saw on the Sunday Age that they were organising the Melbourne version of Sydney’s City to Surf (now termed in a mobile text sort of way ‘City2Surf’) with a ‘City2Sea’ my thoughts went to when I did the City to Surf a long time ago.  In 1992 in fact.

Me (on the right) and my friend Phil at the completion of the City to Surf at Bondi. 16 August 1992

That event still remains in my mind as one of the happiest things I did in my life. I trained for it, I flew to Sydney and it was my first big fun run with heaps of runners, jazz bands and people watching runners on footpaths. The other thing is that I always had unhappy of memories of Sydney as being the city of ‘first impact’  after I migrated to Australia.  But participating in this fun run  therapeutically  changed the perception I had about the city forever.  Interestingly I also experienced one of my happiest event of my life occurred in Sydney 14 years later when Australia qualified for the World Cup in after three decades of bitter disappointments.

In those early 90’s days as I stated I was super fit and the thinnest I have ever been.  But that was almost 20 years ago.  How would I go now in advanced middle age being 50? with some extra weight to boot?

But I am giving it a go.  Probably unwisely I decided to follow the City2Sea suggestion for training at the ‘intermediate’ level thinking that going tom the gym twice a week, running for half an hour on Sundays and riding my bike to work every day would have got me in good stead.  However it has proven to be somewhat harder than i though.  Some stages (like running up hills, or running for 80 minutes) are a reminder that perhaps my body is not like it used to be.  But it has given me the impetus of  exercising and so far I have lost 4Kg.

This fun run has also given me an opportunity to raise some money for charity.  I decided to raise some funds for the Mental Illness Fellowship of Victoria.   I don’t have any mental illness myself, but I have experienced fairly intense periods of unexplained anxiety in the past, so I had a brief glimpse of perhaps how people who do have mental illness can feel (and much worse that what I have experienced) and if I just felt unsettled and unhappy for those brief periods, I couldn’t imagine how dreadful it would be to be like that but worse for ever.  A disease that is unseen and hard to diagnose as well.

So… if there are any readers of this blog that would like to help out you can donate through this website.  http://www.mycause.com.au/RunforMentalHealth

As my training progresses I will keep in touch with this blog.  Wish me luck!

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