Last weekend I participated in City 2 Sea, a 15km run from... you guessed it... the city to the sea! Andy and I did this run back in 2013, when it was 14km and started at the Arts Centre on St. Kilda road. For whatever reason the race organisers extended the race by a kilometer and this year it started at the MCG.
Now, back in my pre-pregnancy days a 15km race would not have been a huge deal. Not that I am some sort of amazing runner, but I did get out and run a few times a week, and have done a few half and full marathons. While pregnant I stopped running altogether after the first trimester, and wasn't able to start running again until about two months after Ella was born. I stupidly thought that signing up for this race, four and a half months after giving birth, would be good motivation to get back into shape. Quite an attainable goal, I thought to myself. Unfortunately it didn't quite work out like that! Not only has it taken me longer to get back into shape physically (and I am no where near where I used to be), but I don't actually feel like I have the time to go running anymore. During the day I am obviously with Ella (and I don't have one of those cool jogging prams... maybe I should get one?!) and in the evenings Andy and I sort of alternate who gets to go out and do exercise. This is one of the things I really miss about our pre-baby lives: being able to exercise together. Andy and I both like running, swimming, cycling and yoga (ok, I like yoga and Andy would grudgingly join me sometimes) so it was nice to do those things together. Now we do go on walks with Ella together but anything else is on our own really.
Anyway, back to the race. Andy and Ella came with me to the start and then drove down to St. Kilda to meet me at the end. Pre-race I had these lovely images of running to the finish line, and then spotting Andy and Ella cheering me on, Ella's face lighting up when she saw me, and then having a burst of energy to finish the race. HAHAHA. The reality was a bit different...
We arrived at the MCG at 8am to meet Adam, Charlotte, and Charlotte's brother Luke. I, of course, had to use the toilet before starting. The toilet lines were pretty much the longest I have ever seen at the start of a race. It was ridiculous. I waited in line for about 40 minutes and there were still over 20 people in front of me to use two toilets. I'm not sure why there weren't more toilets, or why they didn't some in the MCG. This was a huge mistake on the race organisers, in my opinion. Having to go to the bathroom while you are running is the worst! Especially if you have just had a baby. Everyone from my start group had started before I go the chance to go, so I panicked and left the toilet queue and started my run, hoping to find a toilet on the way. What a mistake! About 200 metres in I seriously thought I was going to have an accident, and thankfully there was an empty cafe that I ducked into to use their toilet. I'm sure the girl working there thought that hoards of runners were going to start streaming in after me, but luckily no one followed me in. After that I felt much better and was able to settle into a nice, steady pace.
I had my phone with me but hadn't put together a specific playlist, which is always a pre-race mistake. I just had my whole library on shuffle which meant I was constantly flipping past songs that were too slow, or I just wasn't "feeling" on my run. The course was good, nice and flat, and the weather was cool in the morning, about 14 degrees and cloudy, pretty much perfect for a run. I just didn't have a great time. The whole bathroom thing was a terrible start, and it meant that I didn't even get to start the run with my friends and was running alone the whole time. The longest run I'd done in "training" was 7km, which wasn't even halfway, so I think in my mind I kept questioning what the heck I was doing! I did have a loose plan which I stuck to of walking at each drink station, every 3.5km, and for the last 4km I walked about 100m every kilometer. That sort of kept me going, because I only ever had to run 900m at a time and at that point my legs were starting to tire.
As I ran down Fitzroy street towards the finish I pictured Andy and Ella waiting for me and searched for them through the crowds. However traffic and parking was so horrible that Andy only arrived in St. Kilda just before I completed the run, and didn't have time to get to the finish line. So that was a pretty big letdown! When I found them after the race, Ella was cranky as she was now hungry and the milk we had for her was too cold, so we left quickly and walked 20 minutes back to the car with an unhappy baby. Andy had to carry her the whole time so that she wouldn't cry. Once we got back to the car we realized that she'd had a huge poo and that was probably why she was so upset. We changed her in the back of the car (always a fun place to change a baby) and then left the busyness of St. Kilda to find a quiet cafe to feed Ella and ourselves.
Basically, this was one of my worst races ever, mainly due to things that were my fault: Not training properly, not having a good music playlist, not having a plan of how to warm Ella's milk. I do blame the toilet situation on the race organisers though!
Once we got to the cafe it was like a huge relief to just be in a calm, quiet environment with Ella. We are realising more and more that lots of the things we used to love doing are just not as fun with a baby. I know that it will only be like this for a short period of time though, and things like this will get better as she gets older. However, it is times like these that I feel the absence of close family - I know either of our parents would have happily watched Ella and the race so that we could have both run it stress-free. It really is a different experience being new parent expats, and I find myself again questioning why we chose this life, and how much easier things would be if we had just stayed in the UK or gone to Canada! But, there is no point in dwelling on this, and of course we need to enjoy the time we have here in Melbourne - just maybe at a slower pace while Ella is still small!
|Charlotte, Adam and me at the finish|