Unlike back home where the papers are all abuzz with celebrities running (Deepika Padukone and Rahul Bose for the Sunfeast World 10K run, Gul Panag and others at the Mumbai Marathon) where that's all one gets to see - i.e. pics of celebs encouraging one to run and after the run, pics of them having taken off - this was different. When the flyers in my goody-bag said Adam Gilchrist was the Community Ambassador for our bank, I did not expect to actually see him there. Surprise, surprise! He was there, standing behind the sunscreen stands, chatting to people. Walk up to him and ask for a picture, he obliges like he's there just for you! Of course, it helped that nobody was mobbing him at the stands.
Even though I started off by talking about 'Gilly', that was not quite the highlight of today's run. Well, the highlight of Bridge2Brisbane was charity for Autism, among others. For me, the brightest moment was the dash across the finishing line. To simply realize that I had run the entire 5km without stopping, on an empty stomach, was exhilarating! I was not sure I could do it. I was unprepared, insofar as my gear and bag were not in order, I woke up a good half hour late this morning, the coffee spilled in the microwave and I was late. So late that I made it to the Square, just as the rest of them had paid for their coffee and were about to head off as soon as I arrived. However, that was to be the end of my bad moments.
Arrived well in time for the run, had enough time to slap on some sunscreen at the Sunwise station, a quick piccie with the Aussie cricketer and plenty of time for warm-up or relaxation, whatever one chose to do. I chose to take pictures and gawk at the multitude of colours and people around me, of course.
The original plan involved running the 5k in 30 minutes. Considering that I had had beer and champagne yesterday, no breakkie this morning and no bananas in my bag, I changed my plans. Plan B was to run the 5k in 40 minutes. Plan C was to run the usual 3.5k and walk a while before taking off again. The first 1k was the hardest. I overheard someone at the finish saying, "I saw the 1k sign and thought "Fuck, that's all?"". That was exactly how I felt. The sun did not help. Hunger definitely did not help. I gulped some water and kept pushing myself. I could do it, I could do atleast 3k. The orange pacer balloons for 30 minutes was ahead of me. Way ahead but I could see it from the far end, the while 40 minutes balloons were behind me. I meant to keep it that way, till the end.
At the 3k mark, I nearly gave up. The weather had lifted up a bit and gotten better soon after the start. Around the 3k mark, the road got steeper and the sun came up over our heads again. The cap was not helping. Water was not helping. The only solace was the electrolyte at the 2.5k mark. "Don't stop, keep going", I repeated to myself. In my head, I could hear my husband saying, "Run slow if you must but don't stop". That was it... a slow run... almost 200 metres of walk...
The people running past me was too much motivation to not run. I broke into a jog and picked up speed again. The large red sign that screamed, "Congratulations! Only 1k to go!" was a thrill to sight. There was going to be no slowing down anymore. Just before the last 300 metres, there was a volunteer holding a large placard that said 'Reduce Speed'. I almost did. I knew it was the right thing to do, one has to reduce speed. Nobody cared. We had neared the ending, we have to make it to the finish line, that was all was in everyone's minds. People started to pick up speed.
That was it, I could hold it no longer. My legs found life of their own and I dashed. Ran like my life was at stake. In just under 35 minutes, I had made it. Not too bad, not too bad. I could not stop right away, of course, after that mad rush of adrenalin. It was totally worth pushing myself. My best run so far.
The water stations, the spray tents, fruits and breakkie at the finish were a blessing. We picked up another tee that said that we had finished the B2B, returned our timing chips and grabbed the free copy of Sunday Mail. At the train station, everyone seemed to have run the B2B. So much excitement among the kids. I was beat, I wish I had their energy. I could not wait to get home and jump into the shower. Warm water. Paradise found.