A quick trip to Melbourne
Saturday morning saw me up (not too early) to triple check I had everything in my bag and soon on the way to the airport. Thinking about the following day’s race, I was already feeling my excitement rising as inexorably as global sea levels. But this excitement was tempered by a minor dose of uncertainty about how the weekend was going to play out (kind of like Donald Trump’s campaign manager before every weekend).
The uncertainty came from the fact that I was travelling over as part of a larger group of runners who were all running the Melbourne Marathon. Now I have stated in several posts how much I appreciate the Solemates Running Group, but am still fairly new and many of the guys going over I hadn’t even met yet. So I started learning names at the airport with slightly more success than Rod Culleton learning to run a business (sorry again Wendy).
The flight over is shorter and more pleasant than an episode of X-factor. If I had been on the other side of the plane I could have looked out the window when we turned west and should have been able to verify Alan Jones’ assertion that the Great Barrier Reef is in perfect health (because apparently we don’t need to be close enough to see properly to make decisions like this anymore), but instead I just watched something on my iPad and we were soon touching down at terminal four in Melbourne.
Will had organised a maxitaxi to pick us all up so we piled in and set off towards the city. The ride in had more shenanigans and dodgy comments than… actually no, I was tempted to make another Trump joke here, but I wouldn’t want to even laughingly suggest his comments are normal or acceptable. So I’ll just say we had some laughs in the taxi with Soley the Bear getting plenty of attention. Soon enough we arrived in the CBD and four of the girls got out at their hotel. This left me to continue on the MCG with Will and Kate (not the British Royals- a different Will and Kate), where we registered for the race and I picked up my race number. We also dropped past the tent where we collect our race gifts- a shirt and a gym towel. There were a number of other marquees set up around the concourse, but they were mainly selling shoes and since we had come over without Imelda Marcos we didn’t need to spend long here. This was a good thing as I was starting to develop some kind of pre-emptive chafe just from thinking about too much running (I didn’t know this was possible before today).
We headed to our hotel nearby to see if they were ready for us to check in. We were a little early, but Kate’s room was ready so we dropped our bags there and went looking for lunch. We found a sushi place nearby and were pretty impressed with the price and quality of what was on offer. Seriously with all the talk of ACCC inquiry in petrol pricing in Tasmania, someone should seriously look into the sushi pricing as well. The other girls had settled in at Young and Jackson's so we wandered over to say hi. Seeing just how much of a good time they were having we decided we weren’t quite ready to start celebrating that early so we left quicker than Hanson can make an idiot out of herself talking about the Governor of Tasmania.
Will was pretty keen to scope out the start line for a meeting place for the all-important pre-race group photos, so we headed off for a walk along the Yarra to pick a spot. Once back at the hotel I began laying all my running gear out for the next morning. I thought I had come fairly well prepared, then I looked across the room to where Will looked to be channelling Steven Dank or Walter White. Yeah, as far as running goes, I’m still as low tech as the Coalition’s version of the NBN.
We went down to the pool with Jarrod and Kate for a bit of a swim but didn’t last long. The water was warm enough, but the powerful wind (that I am sure is not in any way connected to climate change) was threatening to pick us up and deposit us in the land of Oz- and bringing a fearsome windchill with it. The debate on whether to move inside lasted about as long as any rational debate (ie one excluding the ACL or our elected representatives) on Marriage Equality and was won as predictably, so we were soon back inside in the spa.
We had a great evening chatting and laughing, with much discussion of the next day’s run. There was some talk of an early night, but Kate decided we needed to go downstairs for a drink at the bar first. Being the only one of us that I knew of to have won an official half marathon event, no one was arguing so we headed down to the nicely furnished bar for a bit. This didn’t bother me too much, as I have actually stopped trying to go to bed too early before a major event since I don’t sleep much anyway. I think it is probably more important to get a couple of good nights’ sleep in the days leading up to the event.
It seems I’m not the only person that doesn’t sleep the night before an event. When I woke up in the morning and checked our messenger groupchat, it was peppered with photos, memes and comments from just about every hour of the night (a surprising number seemed to feature Wendy's hairbrush).
I looked out the window with some trepidation. The forecast from the previous day had not been good. I was worried about the expected 50km/h winds- you don’t want to run the majority of a marathon with the wind pushing against you harder than Tony Abbott pushing against Turnbull’s leadership. It wasn’t quite as fearsome as I was expecting, but it was far from calm either. Couldn’t do anything about it though.
Will and I had hoped to drop our bags at the MCG on the way to the start of the race and thought we had left with plenty of time to achieve this. I could not have been more wrong if I was Barnaby Joyce correcting Hansard after misleading parliament. The line to drop bags off was stretched for over a hundred metres. Luckily for us, Mumma Bear came to the rescue again, dropping our bags in after the start of the race and then rushing back to be ready for her event.
The race itself was amazing and I have written about it in full detail in a separate post so I won’t go back over it.
Mumma Bear arrived with champagne, beer and bananas (which seemed a perfectly logical shopping list) shortly after we got back upstairs and it was picnic time. We started getting texts from Cam, Simon and Elaine who had just arrived at the airport and the memes began in full. We decided to wait until the others got to the hotel before grabbing dinner- this proved longer than expected due to the fact that they went to the wrong hotel (in their defence, why would you assume of the two possible options we would be in the one right next to the MCG?).
We had managed to book three rooms close by on the same floor, but it seemed that mine and Will’s was unanimously decided to be the one we would congregate in, so we settled in for some pizzas and a few wines, hastily shoving all of our gear under the beds- so much for laying out my stuff in preparation for tomorrow.