I left the house at 5:35AM. The sun was just starting to rise. I ran down the steep hill to Lane Cove National Park. I was meeting George for a ride to the Sydney Striders Sunday run. As I got to the park George spotted me from across the street and waved his arms. It was only a short drive to the start of the run but not knowing the area I was glad I had the ride.
We soon arrived at another park about 5k away. There were already about 30 people there. They had a table set up with a cash box, maps, plastic map protectors and some GU’s. It was the honor system. You paid your $4 and grabbed the maps and a GU it you wanted it. Another guy named George was the organizer for this run. He explained the course to everyone. There would be the standard 30k run but there was also the option to cut it short at about 23k. He also told us that the difficulty level (hilly) was rated at a 4. They use a 5 point scale. George then wished them well and off went the 6:00AM group. This first group had about 30 people in it. It was a little difficult trying to calculate the paces from km to miles. I was not sure what paces everyone was running but George (the guy that I have been running with, the one that gave me the ride) said that I should wait until the 6:10AM group started. The first group ran at around 10 minutes per mile. He said that the 6:20AM group was FAST. There was also another group that ran 10 – 15 k that started at 7:00AM.
More people started to arrive. George (the organizer) then went over the same information and the 6:10AM group was off. It was not 300 yards before we hit the first hill. There were about 12 of us running in this wave. My watch indicated that even with the hills we were running at a mid 8 minute per mile pace. The hills made this a tough run. There were a group of girls out front and they were pushing the pace. I was running at my conversational pace for much of the run except when the hills hit. You could hear everyone’s breathing become labored. These hills were hard. Our group stayed together for about the first 6 miles and then it started to spread out – this is when we started to overtake much of the 6:00AM group. At this point one of the girls up front decided to push the pace and left the group.
We continued on and soon we were Bush running. These were not technical and the pace remained high. At just past the half way point we entered into Lane Cove National Park and back on the road. I had run these roads all week. Someone mentioned that they had a 10k race the past weekend in the park. I had discussed this with someone earlier. Once again, this is very hilly. I mentioned that a 10k race on this course would ‘eat my lunch’. The girl on my left laughed and said “What?” I repeated that the hills would eat my lunch. She asked what does that mean. I thought about it for a moment and said that I was not exactly sure where the saying comes from but that it meant that it would be difficult. I said that it means that it would take advantage of me – maybe, I am speculating here but like a bully taking your lunch or lunch money. She thought that was funny.
I then commented that they had just as many odd sayings. She asked, “Like what?” I threw the zinger “Bob’s you uncle” at her. I said I understanding the meaning in context but what was its origin? They use the phrase to mean like – “you put this with that and tie it in a knot – Bob’s your uncle.” I take it to mean something like “there you have.” One of the guys in the group said that it meant ‘comfortable’ because like everyone has an Uncle Bob. I guess it is like running – you just put one foot in front of the other and Bob’s your uncle.
Anyway, we were at about mile 14 of the 30k (sorry about mixing units of measure – mile 14 of about 18.6). We soon left Lane Cove and then started back on some more Bush. This was a more technical area. We passed a few more people that were part of the earlier group. Fatigue was starting to set in. We had dropped several of our group and several had cut the 30k short. This was really a challenging course.
On one of the technical areas of the Bush I took a spill. I was trying to keep up with one of the guys. I could hang easily on the road but in the Bush he pulled away. As far as falls go this was about the best I could hope for – my foot caught a rock, I turned my ankle and I went down on my palms. My hands hit soft sand. Only my hands touched down and I jumped up quick without missing a step. I did not even have a mark on me! No harm no foul.
By the time we wrapped up the run we were all haggard. I have run (and even raced) this distances before – but, oh the hills. We finished up the 30k (my gps had the run closer to 19 miles) in 2:56. It was very challenging to say the least.
We got back to the park and George (the organizer of this run) had set up cold drinks and snacks for everyone. There was lots of fruit and candies and cakes. There were also a lot of sodas. I took advantage of the diet cokes and tin tams. I got my fill while chatting with the runners. I left the park with George and asked if I could be dropped off closer to my sister’s house. I really did not want to walk up the steep hill on Fullers Road.
With this challenging 30k it capped off a solid week of running. While not my highest volume I did hit 100k (62 miles) for the week.