I’ve got a lot to say at the moment… I can’t believe over three days without internet access. I got online today and was completely blown away by all the congratulations comments on my last post. Aw shucks, guys. Thanks heaps.
I basically uploaded my last post then ran out the door to the airport Friday morning. Got there nice and early and had a relaxed flight up to Sydney. Got a cab to my sister’s place then headed out to Newtown for some shopping. Woohoo – got to love bargains. I went to Tree of Life (which has a branch in Melbs but in Ringwood – I told the woman it was easier for me to go to Sydney than Ringwood). Got two scrummy pencil skirts to try on – one in pinstripe and one in black – both marked down. I thought I’d try them both on then decide but, the shopwoman walked past the change rooms and said there was 50% off anything already marked down. Yay! I got both. Plus another dress. While I waited to be served, I saw a lovely flowery summer dress. Perfect for when my sister and I play ladies on the back deck. Then I thought again – 2 skirts and dress were enough shopping.
I looked through heaps of shops, at heaps of funky clothes, then went back and got my flowery dress. There were so many things I wanted to buy and one gorgeous, gorgeous jacket I regret not buying – can’t remember the shop but it was a red, felty jacket with pom poms.
Friday night I went out with my sister and her boyfriend for some scrummy Thai food. Heaven.
Saturday morning I got out of bed and could hardly walk. The pain in my leg kept moving from my butt to my knee and down the quad. We headed down to my sister’s favourite local cafe for a long leisurely brunch with her old bosses and I over-caffineated myself on the huge mugs of coffee, as well as stuffing myself on a massive bowl of porridge.
Because my sister was still getting over the flu, she sent me off on my own to the Paddington market. And boy, am I the stupidest person in the world or what? I’d not packed any flat shoes except my runners so, because my leg was sore, I’d worn my sister’s slip-on shoes to brunch. Without thinking, I headed off for an arvo of shopping still wearing her shoes. An hour or so later, I’d become a very sad and sore-footed Kathryn. Talk about crotchety – I wanted to kill everyone at the market, I wanted to go home, I wanted band-aids for my extremely blistered feet.
I caught the bus back to my sister’s place and it stopped, as though ordained by the hand of a higher being, outside the Skecher shop. I’ve wanted a pair of Skecher shoes forever… well at least a year, but either haven’t had the money or the time to shop for them or whatever. I walked in tired and sad and unable to go on; I walked out the happiest (and spiffiest shoed) girl in the world. Those shoes turned my frown upside down!
When I got back to my sister’s place, I hurled her slip-ons at her and told her never to let me wear her shoes again (she is a size smaller in the the foot than me which doesn’t help) then I curled up for a nap wearing my ipod because they were watching football.
Ha, get this: about 6 months or more ago, my other sister, Anita, gave my sister, Lynne, her ipod mini because she got a Nano. On Saturday, I had to show Lynne how to charge it. She’d not used it at all in the six months because she couldn’t work that out. I mocked her mercilessly!
So, Saturday night. Party Time. I had to meet all the girly-girls at Circular Quay. I showered and made up and dressed then headed to the big street for a cab. Getting the cab was too easy. Then the cab driver told me he didn’t know how to get to Circular Quay. I’m like – dude, big place, middle of the city, lots of ferries???? He tried to call someone for directions (the real cab driver I reckon, who was having a night off and got his just-off-the-boat friend to take over). Then I rang my sister who tried to give directions but the cabbie couldn’t follow them. Her boyfriend was in the background, yelling ‘get out of the cab and get another one’. I finally made it and got to meet the Sydney (and surrounding districts) bloggers.
Oh my god. What can I say? What a gorgeous, stunning and absolutely lovely bunch of girls. I wished they all lived in Melbourne! And I wish I’d had more time to chat to everyone. The night seemed to pass in a rush. I took no photos but there are many floating around (and I’ll link them up when I unlazy myself – just ignore my belly rolls).
I got up Sunday morning and my leg felt fine. Woohoo! I’d not admitted it to myself, but I’d had a bit of a cloud over my holiday because of my leg – there’d been the possibility in the back of my head that it would back enough that I wouldn’t be able to start the race let alone finish! Saturday afternoon, I’d been limping just getting from the couch to the toilet… so 14 km looked doubtful.
I’d planned out my route to the race with my sister, a mere 6 blocks down the street. It couldnt’ be easier. Ha! We didn’t realise that once I got the start there’d be a zillion people lined up already and I’d have NO chance of getting through them. Hyde Park had been blocked off and I had to the back of the start line to dump my bag. I wandered around like a lost kitten, trying to work out what to do, asking the volunteers and getting different answers. Then the announcement came over saying to get your gear onto the trucks because they were about to depart!
Yikes. I panicked and got upset. I morphed from a lost kitten into a headless chook! Then someone told me I could go through the park. I ran around and got to the trucks but realised I needed a special plastic bag so followed everyone else into the basement of a building. Got my bag and some pins for my race number then had to work out how to tie my gear into the bag without dropping the pins – I had no pockets and didn’t want to sit anything down because people swarmed around like mad bees around me.
I ran and knotted up my bag at the same time then got my stuff onto a truck just before it closed up (there was another truck that didn’t leave until later but I didn’t realise that at the time).
Once I was pinned and de-geared, I could relax and warm up a little. Well as much as you can with 2 inches of personal space. Once I’d spent about 2.3 seconds relaxing, I decided every other person of the 63,000 + crowd was there with friends and I was the only loser on my own. I searched the crowd for other loners but every time I spotted one, their friends would join them. I switched on my ipod and decided I didn’t care. I’m tough and strong and I don’t need anyone else. And yes, I know heaps of people were there alone but I like to sook sometimes.
Finally we started and I shuffled slowly down the street. Very slowly. When the crowd cleared a bit, I broke into a slow jog. I figured better to jog slowly than to stuff my leg. When we got out of the tunnel, I looked for my sister watching from the overpass. I waved but she didn’t see me so I yelled her name and she looked down and yelled and waved. Ha – I’d told her to take her camera so she could have got a photo and she reckoned she’d never see me in the crowd. I was right and she was wrong… ha ha.
The race passed in a bit of a blur. I remember:
- passing a band playing Paradise City (that cracked me up)
- some little girls selling cupcakes on the side of the street (I was so tempted)
- finally hitting the first drink station, hitting a hill when I thought we were only 3 km into the run
- thinking, shit if that hill hasn’t even been mentioned, then Heartbreak Hill is going to KILL me (luckily it was Heartbreak Hill and we were closer to the 7 km mark but I’d missed all the km markers along the way)
- thinking I’d reached the top of Heartbreak Hill only to turn a bend and see it kept going… more than once
- the stunning views over Sydney and the sun gleaming off the water
- the first sight of Bondi
- the sad moment when I realised I had no hope of finishing the run in the time I wanted
- the little boy selling lemonade
- getting sore legs and a dodgy belly around the 11 km mark but knowing I’d finish no matter what – I just kept telling myself that I walk 4.5 km to work without thinking anything of it so I could do 3 km to finish
- getting to the 1 km and running
- seeing the finish line and sprinting
Afterwards, I just wanted to get out of Bondi and away from people. I got my bag and other stuff and, after a few bum steers, found the buses out there. I was back at my sister’s by 12.30 then got showered and changed and went out shopping. I have no idea of my race time — I got my time card at the finish line but was too befuddled to work it out.
My sister took me to her massage place in the afternoon. I’m not sure if it was a good thing. I’d felt tired but okay after the race. The woman pushed on a spot on my lower back and I got the most incredible pain in my leg that didn’t go away for hours. I don’t know if it would have been better to leave it alone or if she just bought out some soreness that would have surfaced later. My legs are okay today so who knows?
So anyway, now for stupid thing #989 of my trip. Sunday night, after dinner, I headed out to the airport. I couldn’t wait to get home and sleep in my own bed. Sydney was great and I’d had a fantastic, if mostly laid back, time but my sister and her boyfriend both had hacking coughs and nowhere is ever as good to sleep as home. I went to the electronic checkin at Virgin and keyed my reference number. The machine told me to go see a real person. I wandered to the service desk without thinking too much about it. The woman entered my details and told me I was indeed booked on the 8.15 pm flight BUT THE NEXT NIGHT!!!!
I have no idea how that happened. I screwed up, I guess. I hadn’t printed out my confirmation email, just wrote it in my diary and hadn’t thought about it again. So I had to pay extra to change my flight and thought I had an extra hour or so wait. Then she called me back. She’d stuffed up – I couldn’t rebook. Every single flight out of Sydney was full. I nearly cried.
I went to the Jetstar counter to see if they had a flight but their last flight to Melbourne had left already. So I schlepped my bags over to Qantas. They had a seat but it would cost $280 + taxes. I took a cab back to my sister’s place.
So I flew out at 9.15 this morning instead. I love home. Home is where my bed is. But I’m glad I went. I’m glad I ran. I feel like I should be hitting the gym today because it seems like the run was so long ago now. I’m especially glad I met all the wonderful bloggers (and thanks Mary for organising dinner). I think I’ll have an early night tonight then back into it — with no running this week — tomorrow.