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Cyborg Breaks the Five Minute Barrier!

11 September 2014

11 September 2014

Cyborg Breaks the Five Minute Barrier!

Taking advantage of the early-bird entry for the Canberra Times Fun Run provided me with a number of benefits: firstly, the discounted price (always handy!) Secondly, I scored a low bib number (if you can’t rank low in the race, score a low bib number!) Finally, and most importantly, it meant I had all of the Canberra winter months to put on enough fat to get me through the 14 kilometres.

The 14km version of the run was added in 2013. I had entered that one, but was viciously attacked by the ground during the Back Yamma the week prior, resulting in a cracked rib so would risk serious injury (from the Immoral Support Crew) should I attempt to run. The course varies slightly from the standard 10km with the addition of a loop of Parliament House, providing some nice views of the Parliamentary Triangle.

Canberra turned on a fine spring day for a run; clear skies, and the combination of a slowly thawing city and a cool breeze ensured the runners wouldn’t get too hot. I spotted Junior at the start-I’m starting to think that there can’t be a running event without Junior in Canberra. We had a brief chat, before heading into the starting corral and waiting for the starting gun - followed by a nice walk to the start line.

But once we crossed that line, it was on, and I moved up to my warm up pace.

Even though the 14km field was smaller than the standard fun run field, there was still quite a crowd. So the first kilometre or so of the race involved ducking and weaving through the crowd - which I actually kind of enjoy, as it adds some variation to the running and makes it less monotonous.

Then, around the 1.5km mark, something very interesting happened. I put on a burst of speed through a gap in a line of runners, and found myself in the eye of the storm. I had come to a region where everyone was running at close to my pace; it was a very strange sensation - kind of like that weird moment when you’re waiting to turn at traffic lights, and you notice that your indicators have synced up with the car in front of you. But such synchronicity does not last, and I found myself running through the other side of the storm.

I was running quite strongly, and feeling good as I passed the drink station at around 3.5km. It was then that the grey ghost latched on to me, running beside me. A little unnerved, I began to push up the pace on the slight incline heading up towards State Circle, yet it remained with me, like a grey shadow, matching my every move.

Canberra Times Fun Run 14km course

I left myself fall down State Circle, my pace quickening, and lost the shadow, only to find myself in a forest of beards. I thought such beards were only found on single-speed mountain bikers but no, here, in a running event, I found myself surrounded by full, lush facial hair. This brazen display of hairiness inspired me to do as my hair does, and flee as fast as I could - save that in this case fleeing involved running up the incline to Kings Avenue.

And I paid a toll for this run, for once I reached Kings Avenue, I found myself once more accompanied by the Grey Ghost. And this is also where the course varies from the traditional 10km course - as we turned on to Queen Victoria Terrace. From there, it’s a slight incline to Federation Mall, which is a slightly steeper climb up to Parliament Drive. It was here that I began to push harder once more in a bid to outrun my shadow.

But it was not to be. Halfway around Parliament House, as I was lost in the thought that I had never even considered putting Body Glide on my armpits, which were now starting to chafe, when the Grey Ghost returned, this time running slightly faster than me. Not to be outdone, I increased my speed. After all, it was pretty much all downhill from here!

So, back down Federation Mall we ran, around Queen Victoria Terrace and onto King George Terrace, from where could see the finish line - about 2.5km away - which was very heartening. Seeing the 10km lead runners, looking fresh, fit and healthy wasn’t quite so heartening. Even more disheartening was being overtaken by them, still running with a bounce in their step. I was awfully tempted to trip some, but that’s just not in the spirit of the race (besides, then I’d probably have to jump them as they fell over, and that would be far too much work).

From there, the course was back to standard, across the King’s Avenue bridge, then down along the lake side to Rond Terrace where there’s a sting in the tail of the race, with a final short climb up a grassy hill to the finish line; where I pushed hard and dropped my shadow once more.

I generally set three goals for any event: an aspirational goal (highly unlikely, and I’d never, ever tell anyone I’d aimed for it, but that’s the goal I’d really like to achieve) - for this event 1:10. My realistic goal (as in, I’d be delighted to achieve it, and would probably tell people that’s what I’m going for) was 1:15, and my training goal (as in: “No way did I even do anywhere near enough training for this!” which was just to finish - after all, all of my training runs were actually half the distance of the event).

I’m pleased to say that this time I actually beat my aspiration goal, coming in at 1:09:30. This was probably largely due to the Grey Ghost chasing me throughout the entire race. After all, who wants to be beaten by a little girl?

I’d like to thank the organisers of the race, and (of course) all the volunteers on the day! There were drinks ready within falling distance of the finishing arch - which is always very, very handy. And buses ready and waiting to take entrants back to Woden - which was much better than having to run back! (Even if it is a bus full of sweaty runners!)

Race Stats

Date: 7 September 2014
Location: Canberra
Rating: (1) Walk in the Park
TriHard Time Bib Number Cat Position Overal Position
Cyborg 1:09:30 54 76/137 320/917
Junior 1:27:15 128 130/137 776/917
Event website: Canberra Times Fun Run site