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Insanity Prevails at the Mother’s Day Classic!

10 May 2009

10 May 2009

Insanity Prevails at the Mother’s Day Classic!

On a cool, crisp Canberra morning the TriHards smashed their own personal best records in two events of the Mother’s Day Classic. The Immoral Support Crew (with her moral supporters) achieved a personal best (without stopping for a single toilet break or coffee) in the 5km event, and the Cyborg dispelled rumours of his insanity by completing the 10km event in his own personal best time (despite following hallucinations and having odd conversations with the voices in his head).


Following an excellent time in their 5km training run on the Thursday after the Lake Macquarie event, Mr GPS turned to the Cyborg and said, “That was a good time! Now, you know, I’m expecting a sub-50 minute result for the Mother’s Day Classic.”

So the Cyborg’s goal was set: a sub 50 minute time for the 10km run in the Mother’s Day Classic.

Less than a week later, in the car on the way home from a harrowing experience in the Blue Mountains at the hands of the Wild Endurance, Mr GPS (during his wakeful periods) said to the Cyborg “An event like that takes about two weeks to recover. You’re insane for wanting to do the Mother’s Day Classic!”

So the Cyborg’s goal was changed. A better time than other 10km runs entered so far. And perhaps an appointment with a psychologist, or counsellor of some form. Insanity and madness were words being bandied about by people around the Cyborg far too often of late.

The Mother’s Day Classic is a national event, growing in popularity, with runs (and walks) in many of the cities around Australia and some regional centres. Canberra can boast the longest run at 10km, around the blue-green algae of Lake Burley Griffin along a course which happens to be the same course that the TriHards run on a weekly basis (though, only doing one 5km lap). The event is to raise funds, and awareness of Breast Cancer, and many runners wear bibs in memory of loved ones who succumbed to the disease. The Canberra event has a nice, friendly atmosphere, and everyone seems to be in it for a nice run, or walk around the lake.

The Canberra version had a choice of three events: the 10km run, 5km run or 5km walk. With many of the TriHards still recovering from the Wild Endurance, the team could only cover the 10km (Cyborg) run, and 5km walk (the Immoral Support Crew and her moral support crew).

Cool, clear Canberra Morning
It was a very picturesque morning. A pity a lot of sweaty runners were about to spoil the view!

Mother’s Day Morn was a clear, crisp Canberra morning, with bright sunshine casting away some early frosts; it was nice weather for a run; certainly not hot, and not too cold (so long as you stayed away from the shadows...)

10km Run: 8:30

After performing their little aerobic workout, all of the runners assembled at the start line, and the packed field started at 8:30 precisely; beeps could be heard going off like a machine gun, as hundreds of timing chips passed over the start pad. The Cyborg had calculated that to achieve his goal of 55 minutes, he’d have to run each kilometre in a time of 5:30, so he’d started his stopwatch as he crossed the pads.

And he set off well! Not having Mr GPS, or even Jack to pace the Cyborg from the start, he set out at his own unsustainable pace.

Perhaps he was insane. Perhaps just being up so early with only one coffee under his belt had made him delirious. Perhaps he was still affected by the fatigue of the Wild Endurnace, but within just 500 metres of the start, the Cyborg’s legs started talking to him. This was far too early for any sort of runner’s delirium; the legs were unresponsive, and protesting; not really hurting, just feeling flat; exhibiting passive aggressive behaviour by running, as asked, but not really trying... Somewhere deep inside the dark recesses of his mind, the voice of Scotty (No, that would be the original, Scottish Scotty, not the new English Scotty) came to the fore, "I canno do anymore Capt’n; they’re just too damaged, you’re getting all she can give."

Checking his trusty watch-which will remain unnamed (see, here’s a great opportunity for name dropping a brand, where we could mention the brand name, and perhaps some other functions of the watch, casually, in our article, to make it sound really attractive to our readers...) to notice that only 4:40 had elapsed - he was a full 50 seconds ahead of schedule! As he crossed on to the King’s Avenue Bridge, the Cyborg’s heart pumped hard (which, could have been measured if he had’ve had one of those flash watches with a heart rate monitor) with enthusiasm, and his tired legs kicked into gear once more. Ducking, weaving and dodging, the Cyborg made his way across the bridge.

By the two kilometre mark the Cyborg was still well under time, now up to 9:20, which was maintaining the incredible pace of 4:40 per kilometre. But this was not to last, and reason began to form in the Cyborg’s mind once more, as he looked around for a bunny.

Now is probably a good time to mention the practice of chasing the bunny. The Cyborg is well known for his spirit, and enthusiasm, and equally well known for his lack of pacing ability. Left to his own devices, he’d run flat out for the first 2km, fall in a heap, rest for a minute, then repeat until completing the event. Sure, he’d probably complete the race in around the same time, but it’s awfully undistinguished to fall over in a race - then there’s the matter of having to constantly overtake and be passed by the same people. Normally, this problem would be overcome by just pacing himself with another TriHard, however as there were no other TriHards in this event, the Cyborg had to pick a bunny.

The Cyborg caught onto this concept in watching the greyhounds chasing a motorised rabbit around a track. He would pick a runner going at a decent pace, something he could maintain for a while, and chase them. Of course, this can be a bit distracting or unnerving for the runner chosen as the bunny, but he does try to maintain his distance. So, should you find yourself in a race, with a sweaty, balding man panting behind you, do not fear. It’s not an exhausted yet excited stalker. It’s the exhausted yet excited Cyborg.

Bunny 1: PriceWaterhouse

PriceWaterHouse Pace Setter
He got a shirt!

The Cyborg found a PriceWaterhouse Coopers bunny to follow for a while. (See, his company gave him a shirt, with the name and logo on, and now the name is being spread virally around the net through a vague reference in a race report in some dark little corner of the internet). The pace was quite good, but just a little too slow for the Cyborg’s comfort. So, after approximately 1km, the Cyborg moved onto another (unbranded) bunny who overtook PriceWaterhouse Coopers.

Bunny 2: Pinky

There was indeed a lot of pink involved in the Mother’s Day Classic, and many competitors wore as much pink as they could. The Cyborg latched onto a bunny with a hot pink shirt; and she proved to be a very good pace-setter (and easy to spot!), having quite a good pace which occasionally turned quite brisk (though, this may well have been on the odd occasion she noticed a sweaty, balding man running behind her). At any rate, this moderation of pace helped carry the Cyborg on until the four kilometre mark, where he foolishly thought he could take on some water.

Given it was just a short race, the Cyborg dispensed with any idea of carrying a bladder pack or drink bottle, knowing that there would be drink stations provided. As he approached the drink station around the 4km mark, he grabbed a cup from one of the volunteers and proceeded to attempt to drink it as he ran; coming to the realisation along the way that those long distance runners you see in the "real" running events, throwing a cup of water in their face are not in fact trying to cool themselves down. It’s just improving their chances of getting a mouthful of water as they run! The Cyborg did manage to get some water in as he ran though, which promptly sunk to his stomach and began to magically turn to lead...

Nevertheless, he pushed on, and climbed the little hill behind Regatta Point. Work being undertaken on the normal walking path had forced the route behind Regatta Point, which involved climbing what would normally be a small incline, particularly when compared to the inclines undertaken the week before at the Wild Endurance. But to the Cyborg’s tired legs and blistered feet, this suddenly seemed like being back in the Blue Mountains, struggling up the hill. However, it was a small incline, and he was through the pain and cruising downhill, with only a slight cramp in his stomach, and onto the windy path back to the start/finish line.

Crowds cheered and clapped as the Cyborg ran through the channel; he had no idea the TriHards were that popular! (Until he noticed so many eyes looking beyond him). At a water station just beyond the halfway mark he slowed to a walk to take his water on board. His time at the halfway mark was a bit over 23 minutes (if he had one of those really cool watches, he may have been able to see the seconds in the blur of speed), so he knew he was still easily on track to attain the 55 minute mark, and could afford to take a bit of time to get some water in.

Follow the White Rabbit!

With water down, it was time for the refreshed Cyborg to resume running; setting off once more at his own unsustainable pace. Fortunately, as he slowed behind another runner on the Kings Avenue Bridge, a new bunny became apparent. Her pace was almost the standard training pace, and she kept it even throughout. The Cyborg diligently followed, trying to maintain an appropriate distance, as they crossed the bridge, then back down behind the gallery.

As they passed the 7km mark, the Cyborg’s legs began talking once more, and this time most of his body was in agreement: it was time to put on some pace. He’d run slow enough for long enough, surely now he could put on a burst. But, the Cyborg’s cunning mind refused; insisting, “No, no, wait for the final stretch. Wait for the 9km mark!” and he continued on behind the white rabbit, who began to slow going onto the Commonwealth Avenue bridge. The Cyborg pushed past the bunny, confident in his ability to maintain his own pace for the rest of the race, and gave way to a lady pushing a jogging pram as she overtook him.

Tired, with his legs, and particularly blistered feet, starting to scream, he pushed over the bridge, and would have listened to the buskers spurring the runners on through use of their music, but for his MP3 player blaring in his ears.

He’d reached the 9km mark. It was time for the final push to the finish. Up the hill behind Regatta Point... The legs did not respond very well to being whipped now; and that funny little sense of fatigue which had plagued his legs at the start began to run through his entire body. Yet he pushed on, what goes up must come down, after all.

On the downhill side, the Cyborg’s feet paid tribute to their experience in the Wild Endurance of the week before. The blisters on his heels which only hurt on downhill stretches began to kick in once more, despite the copious amounts of padding and tape applied to them! So he pushed faster down the hill, hoping to get the pain over and done with, then passed around the bend, and across the little bridge. Nearly there! Nearly there!

The pads beeped as the Cyborg crossed the line with a time of 51:55, well below his targeted time; and fell in a sweaty heap. Fortunately, the Immoral Support Crew was there with her support crew to look down on the battered, soggy mess in the grass! Not only had he made it in under the planned time, but he’d achieved his secondary goal of arriving in time to see the Moral Support Crew start her walk!

Fortunately, the organisers of the event put on free massages to the weary runners, and a queue formed quickly! Many thanks go to the TAFE student who worked the knots out of the Cyborg’s aching calves and legs, such that he may carry his own weight to the sausage sizzle, then all-important coffee stand!

Cyborg and Immoral Support Crew at the finish line
Cyborg and the Immoral Support Crew at the finish line.

Less than an hour later, the Immoral Support Crew had returned; with her support crew from their Sunday walk around the lake. At the time the Cyborg was attempting to frame the finish line in his camera, and didn’t even see them cross the line!

Five Km Walk

It was Mothers Day Morning!

The Immoral Support Crew with her support Crew
They look very fresh after the walk!

Visions of Sleep-ins and Breakfast in bed danced through the Trihards Immoral Supporter’s head... Alas, it was not meant to be! She was up not long after the Cyborg left at some ungodly hour, dispatched her offspring to Nan’s, and was ready to be picked up and meet the other more moral support crew at Lake Burley Griffin for the Mothers Day Classic 5km walk! They found all their safety pins to don their pink bibs, did a small warm up by discussing the latest gossip, and they were right to go!

As she and the crew were about to head down to the Starting Line when there came a streak of light, with a white TriHards cap on, through the finish line! The Cyborg completed his 10km walk in record time, just to see the Immoral Support Crew off! After congratulating him on his feat they left him sweaty and misshapen, and wondering what state they would find him in when they finished!

After lining up and hearing the Deputy Prime Minister’s speech, and looking around for her minders in pink, they set off at 9.35am after the 5km runners.

Walking is a much more civilised approach to exercise. There is none of the traumatic impact on the knees and other joints caused by running, nor that terrible coating of sweat over the body (ladies perspire); and it is much more social, affording participants the opportunity to catch up on the latest gossip and goings on without the interruptions of tiny voices and llittle hands grabbing at their hems (and that’s just their spouses). After all, what better way to celebrate Mother’s Day than walking and talking with some good friends?

Thankfully they were closer to the front of the pack when it started because that gives a better chance of not coming in at the back of the pack at the end! However there was no fear, the Immoral Support Crew and her more moral support team made excellent time, passing several other participants who had stopped for a toilet break or a coffee halfway through the walk, commenting as they passed, “Well we aren’t that slack at least!”

Then when they came down the final leg they encountered the Cyborg! He had recovered! And managed to run back to walk the final leg with them! Then, after a brief chat telling them about his massage, he ran ahead to obtain photo finishes of them. As they approached the finish line the clock read 59:05 and they decided to complete the walk in an hour and ran the final few metres to finish in 59 minutes and 20 seconds, (give or take!)

They headed off to receive their medals and showbags from the organisers of the classic, then found Cyborg trying to take photos of, who knows what, at the finish line, (he missed them finishing!) All in all it was another great Sunday morning goss session and exercise for a good cause. They will be doing it again next year! And have planned to enter the Canberra Times walk in September.

Achievements of the day:

  1. Actually haveing the guts to start the race after doing the Wild Endurance the week before!
  2. Managing to complete the race, without popping any of the blisters from the week before (okay, one big one did break, but that was whilst removing the strapping tape!).
  3. Completing the race in under 55 minutes.

Notes for Next time:

  1. When doing a race which is two laps of something, it’s probably a good idea to pay attention to the terrain on the first lap!
  2. Following from 1, it’s also a good idea to put on the final burst on a nice, flat section rather than trying to it uphill!
  3. If you only have enough milk for a coffee xor breakfast (yes, I know, xor is not grammatically correct, but it is logically correct!), have brekky and the coffee black!

Event Stats

Date: 10 May, 2009
Location: Lake Burley Griffin, Canberra
TriHards: Cyborg, Immoral Support Crew
Results 10km Run 5km Walk
  51:55 59:20
Placement (Cyborg): 183/590 Overall, 103/184 male, 46/69 category
Event website: Mother’s Day Classic Site