2013 Melbourne City2Sea race report

Although I had previously mentioned that I wouldn’t participate in these stupidly long fun runs again.. lo and behold, here we find ourselves. My brother in law, the Jangulator, and I did this 14km fun run last year. He loved it. I hated it. He signed up again. I did not. He called me a pussy. I digressed. Signed up. And joined 14,000 other suckers..

Preparation: Due to a recent challenge set by housemate Dennis, I had been running quite a fair bit in recent months. But it was never more than 6 and a half clicks at a time; that I usually ran about 2 to 3 times a week. I still thought that anything over 10km was just too hard basket and I never had any intention of doing this 14km City2Sea. But Jangulator called me a pussy.. like a child, I was insulted.. So I checked my calendar to make sure I didn’t have anything on (these runs are always scheduled for Sunday mornings, thus wrecking your whole weekend). Fortunately, my schedule was clear… and I signed up. Aint nobody callin me a pussy. Next day, a message from a mate – 30th birthday drinks… The day before the run… Fuck. Oh well. Small hurdle. Press on. The fortnight leading up to the race I decided I wouldn’t drink. It took me all but three days to determine that this was a stupid idea. So I drank anyways. But. I never got proper pissed. Yeah. that should help.

Lead up: Strong. I continued with my challenge of running home sub 35. Smashed it in a controversial 34.43 (Dennis is yet to pay up the free meal). Chucked in a couple of 10k runs in anticipation of the extra distance. Didn’t drink… much. Felt pretty good. Followed a pre-race diet the days leading up to the race. You can find a whole bunch of crap online, regarding dieting before a big race. Carbo loading (eating a shit load of carbs in the days leading up for energy) and all the rest of it. I mostly never adhered to this rubbish. But this year I thought I’d at least give it a crack. Wouldn’t hurt I thought. The day before the race was indeed my mate’s 30th, which I chose to attend. I intended not to drink. But couldn’t help myself and ended up having a few beers anyway. What? Beer is a carb.. and then wisely, phantomed from the party before any real damage was done.

Race morning: Weather forecast was 22 and sunny. Last year, the heat killed me. So when I woke up to find the air crisp. I was quite relieved. We arrived nearly an hour early before the race started. Perfect. Time to get a good stretch in. And then with about 20min before the start.. it hit me. The sudden urge to take a shit. In runner’s circles you may have heard of the term “runner’s trot” – It’s basically a dire and urgent need to take a shit during long periods of strenuous physical activity, because of the amount of prolonged strain on your body. Here is an example:

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So in fear of becoming this poor, poor poor bastard. I quickly bolted for the loo. Crisis averted.

The start: As I never intended to run this year, until Jangulator called me a pussy, I unfortunately  had signed up late. The start is broken up into sections. Seeded and preferred runners go first (The hardcore runners who aim to win the damn thing and run sub 60 minutes). Then the red group next (serious casual runners aiming to run sub 80). Then finally, the general green group (runners/walkers who don’t really give a shit about time and just want to finish). This is the group I wanted to join. Its by far the best perve. Full of fit young females who generally take care of themselves, but aren’t hardcore fitness freaks. Unfortunately, the green start was full when I signed up and I had to join the red group (sub 80). This made me nervous. Although I had been running a fair bit recently. I would hardly call myself serious, and cracking 80 min for 14kms generally isn’t suited for the part time runner – full time smoker/drinker. But what could you do..
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St. Kilda road (km 1 – 4): Usually starting from the general pack, the first km is fairly slow as the crowd slowly dissipates and you are able to find open space. Not this year. Starting with the serious red fuckers, we pretty much started running as soon as we crossed the starting line. I have a pretty good steady pace heading down St. Kilda rd. Maybe this is going to be easier than I thought and all my pre-race nerves was unwarranted. I quickly notice though that the talent around me is.. terrible. Not a looker in sight. Just some hardcore, middle-aged runners. Nevertheless. I march on. Somewhere around the 3 km mark, I have an urge to take a leak. Not to worry. I’ll just block it out and hope it it goes away… It does not. Fuck.. Thankfully, theres portaloos just after the 4km mark. But I have to wait. And probably lose a minute or two.

Albert Park Lake (km 4 – 10): Last year, this was the section that hit me the hardest. This year was no different. There’s no shade around the lake, and this is when the sun gets to you the most. So you try and look for other distractions to get you through.. Hmmmm there’s a good looking ass. Finally! A girl that doesn’t look like Linda Hamilton in Terminator 2. This bunny should get me through the next few km.. Or maybe not. You’re a little too quick for my liking. Why are you going so fast?.. fuck. I struggle to keep up and back off.. No worries babe. I’ll see you at the finish.

Fitzroy st and Beacy pde (km 10 – 14): As you run down Fitzroy st, you know you’re well over halfway and almost home. But this just makes it harder. By this stage, your legs are jelly and you’re basically just running on fumes. This is when your mind starts to turn on you. Each km marker seems ridicuolously far and surely, they’ve made some sort of mistake.. Fuck. where the fuck is the marker??? surely ive ran over a km since the last mark? You guys have fucked up. Why are you fucking with me????..                             Yes! drinks station! I grab 2 cups of water and a cup of gatorade. I completely miss and end up wearing it instead. Fuck. Fuck this. Why the fuck did you sign up for this shit? Because he called you a pussy? You are a pussy. You’re a fucking idiot 2.0. You need to die. I hope you become 3.0. Idiot!.. This inner battle continues for the remainder of the race.

But as you finally hit the 13k marker, you realise you’re home.. Yes! 2.0 you are a fucking legend. Fuck the haters. I never doubted you for a second. After the race, I’m going to get you liquored up. You deserve it. I’m sorry I ever doubted you. You are by far superior to 1.0..
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The finish: With about 500m to go, I see 3 girls running together. Naturally.. I speed up and focus on my running technique. I’m absolutely struggling at this stage and this kills me.. you idiot… I cross the line in an official 79.55. I cracked the 80. Better than half the male field in my age bracket. Also beating last year’s time by over 5 minutes. I quickly grab my medal. Grab 2 drinks. Light up a dart. Head to the pub. Drink until I cant feel feelings anymore. And promise myself, that I will never ever do this, ever the fuck again.

Yeah. I’m a pussy. What of it?

They called him Kelly

Today marks my dad’s 62nd birthday. Tonight, the family’s going out to celebrate with some fine food and some exceptional bottle(s) of wine. Because this is how he rolls.

Except, he wont actually be here to partake in the celebration. He suffered a heart attack four and a half years ago and passed away, and sadly wont be joining us. But this is what we do, and this is how he would’ve wanted it. Some fine dining, accompanied with some fine wining. He has always been boss like that. He enjoyed the decadent, finer things in life, no matter what. No matter the consequence. Or repercussions. A good time always took precedence. It’s probably where I get it from. If he went out with a grand. He’s spending 2.

But I could never ever possibly understand how he was wired. The man was cut from the old school. He was a philanthropist. A wheeler and dealer. A playboy. A schmoozer. Hard as nails. Smart as a whip. Charismatic as fuck. Think Don Draper mixed with Tony Montana. Throw in a bit of Michael Corleone, a little Jake the Muss.. And you’re probably not even close. He could be at Crown being wined and dined by Lloyd Williams one night. And be kicking it ghetto with a bunch of mates the next. People loved him. People hated him. He wore his heart on his sleeve. Loved life. Loved his family. And really, didn’t care for much else.

He was by no means a model citizen. I’m fairly certain he was never in contention for father of the year.. sure, he had a couple of nods for father of the week. Maybe even throw in a couple of father of the months.. but he loved his family dearly, and did everything (and I do mean everything) to show us the best things in life and give us what we wanted.

Case in point, our family trip to America in 1990.. it wasn’t so much the trip. I mean plenty of families have taken trips overseas. But on that trip there was one moment that showed me, at what lengths dad would go to, to give us what we wanted, and exactly what type of man he was. Being seven, I definitely didn’t appreciate it at the time. It was only recently that I fully understand the magnitude of the moment.

Growing up, I was obsessed with Michael Jordan. And I do mean obsessed. T-shirts. Jumpers. Trackies. Jackets. Hats. Shoes. Socks. Posters. Bed linen. You name it. If it was red, white and black, and had the number 23?… then I was rocking the fuck out of it. So you would’ve imagined the joy of a 7 year old boy, going to Chicago to watch his idol play basketball. This isn’t even the insightful thing. I recently re-read one of my many books (12 in total) on Michael Jordan. The author wrote of how, at the time, Jordan was coming into the peak of his fame. And how the old Chicago Bulls stadium had become a fortress of security to protect its main star attraction. First, you needed tickets to get into the stadium. Then needed passes to get to the court. Another pass to get to the basement. Another to get through the media area.. And finally, a pass to get to the area outside the locker room, where only family and team officials were allowed.

And yet that’s exactly where we found ourselves after the game. The locker room area.. Players. Coaches. Team officials. Cheerleaders. Refs. Beat reporters. Wags.. and…  an Asian family from Melbourne?? I still recall telling Jordan’s dad that I flew all the way from Australia to watch his son play. I didn’t get to meet the man himself. But this was good enough. And something I will never forget.. be it, how many stairs I fall down.. Which begs the question. How was dad able to get us into this area? Who fucking knows? But this is what he does. This is what he did. Network. Shit talk. Meet the right people. Grease the right palms. Take names. Cash cheques. Basically, get shit done.. I can barely get into most clubs in Melbourne. He’s overseas, sneaking his family into high security, restricted access areas.

I’ve always wanted to ask him how he did it. How he got us in there. Ever since I had read about it, it always intrigued me how he was able to get his family into that highly secured area. But It was too late. He was gone. And I will never know. I didn’t appreciate the moment until many many years after the fact, much like him.. I didn’t really appreciate dad and the things he did, until after he was gone. Most of the time, growing up and especially in my teens, I just found him over bearing, high maintenance, overly strict, and at times, just straight out annoying. It’s probably the time he’s been gone, the last half of my twenties, when I should’ve appreciated him the most.. and heeded his advice on things like, taking names and cashing cheques.

Even at the time of his passing, I can’t recall a real sadness. He was overseas at the time, and when I got the phone call, my reaction, can only be described as.. artificial. A asinine hollywood reaction. It took time to really sink in, and Its in the last few years, that I have felt a deep seeded sadness for him not being around anymore. Sadness knowing, that he will never get to meet my wife (whoever the fuck she may be). Know my family. Hold his grandchildren. Watch them grow. A deep seeded sadness that he will never ever be able to tell me… how the fuck he got us into the locker rooms of Chicago Stadium! So yeah, I miss him heaps.

But yeah, probs not as much as my mum. Recently, I came out of a relationship that barely lasted a month. But I was devastated. I couldn’t sleep. Coudn’t eat. Couldn’t function. Had the Xx on repeat. Yeah, I know how stupid that sounds. And looking back now, in context is absolutely absurd. I’m fairly certain, if my dad was still here, and had heard about this ridiculousness, he would’ve bitchslapped the stupid out of me. But it happened. I was devo. And that was only a month. Now imagine losing someone after 30 plus years?? I certainly fucking can’t. I cant begin to fathom what mum has been through. I honestly don’t even want to think about it…

However, it has been over 4 years now since he passed. And I’d like to think we’ve all moved on.. So this is what we do. We eat. We drink. We share stories. We celebrate. My brother’s favourite  story of dad? The time dad replied “fuck you” to the kid at the maccas drive thru, after the kid gave him his meal and asked him if there was anything else he wanted… Baller.

So happy birthday old boy. This one is for you. Tonight we wine and dine and celebrate your life. Tonight I pour a bottle of top shelf cab sav on the ground for you (when I say top shelf, I mean 20buck chuck. And when I say on the ground, I mean down my throat). I look forward to the time we meet again in the next life, and you can finally impart with me how you got us into Michael Jordan’s locker room. But for now, that can wait..

Right now, I’m going to go give mum a hug. Im sure she is needing it.

And why was he affectionately known by a blonde, white girl’s name? Well… Michael – Mi-Kel (filo accent) – Kelly. Yep. Yeah you’re as bemused as I am. It’s a filo thing. And could not be explained even I tried it. I also have a cousin named Wowee and an uncle named Bong. Go figure…

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R.I.P
08.11.51 – 15.02.09