Mr Smith goes for a bit of a run around Melbourne and finishes at one of the most iconic stadiums in the world, and gets changed in it…

After a brilliant week in Sydney, including some runs around parts of the harbour front (brilliant place to run, even if hot!), I had arrived in Melbourne.  After a fairly relaxed evening of good fun and a couple of glasses of wine, it was time for an early night.
An early night on a Saturday, my first night in a new town?  Yes.  The reason being that I had an early start the following morning for my first 10k run in 15 years or so!  I knew I had to prepare reasonably well for it and I had done as much training as I could, without compromising other parts of my life.
When I went to bed I checked the weather forecast and gulped.  It was meant to be bright and sunny and about 20c at 7.30am, the time of the run.  Obviously nothing I could do about that but I did think it would be a bit too warm!
After sleeping really well on my first night at The Cullen, I got up, got ready and headed out.   It was with some relief to see the sun but the temperature was a lot lower, nearer 7c when I left the hotel.  It was going to warm up though.
I decided to walk in for the run as a warm up, just over 2 miles.  It was good as I got closer to the start as I could see more and more people going and could feel the atmosphere building.
At this point I should probably say why I was doing it.   This is part of a trade for a future cycling event, (I am trying to prepare to do a half marathon) and when I was looking for things to do when travelling I spotted the run and thought why not.  The approach to runs is that any I do need to be in places that I think are iconic or of interest to me.  For me, this could not get more iconic Melbourne.  The run was through some parts of town I knew, around the botanic gardens and started and finished at the MCG, possibly one of the most iconic cricket grounds in the world.
So as I approached the stadium the nerves started to kick in.  I found my changing area and got ready.  When I say changing area, I mean part of the stadium to change in.  It was really good to be inside the ground and it helped relax me.
We all headed off to the start and lined up, waiting to go.  I positioned myself in the slower of the 2 groups but tried to get towards the front.  I was expecting a time in excess of 55 minutes.
By the time of the start the temperature was perfect and no wind.  This was definitely as good as it is likely to get for running.
The gun went and wave 1 went off.  Then it was our turn.  I was off and made a steady start to the run.  The road was wide with lots of room, but sadly some people, who obviously do not have a clue about running, had positioned themselves at the front and were proving to be something of a road block, a very wide one!  It was not until after the first 1km or so that I managed to get round the people that were in the wrong place and I started running properly.  I may not know a great deal about running, but I know that if I was that slow and going to obstruct others I would position myself so that I would not get in anyone’s way.
The intention was to do negative splits on the two 5km’s, with the first one slower than the other.  The last thing I wanted to do was run out of energy, but I wanted to make sure that I had none left at the end of the run.  I had my headphones in and an app telling me my pace so I knew all the way round how I was doing.
It was so nice running round the city, taking in the sights and scenes and feeling the adrenalin from doing it.  I was feeling a lot better than I thought I would and from 6k on I made a decision to up the pace.  I managed to do this without any trouble until we got closer to the end, when it got a bit more crowded, but I still managed to accelerate for the final km.
I sprinted, as much as I could, up the slope towards the finish and crossed the line.  I hit stop on the watch and had a time of 54:13.  Sadly the activity did not save correctly and as such I had to go with the official time which was 54:34.  Still a lot faster than I could have hoped for.  I was absolutely delighted.
I was also tracking the activity on my phone, so not all was lost, but I was not able to stop it immediately after I had finished.  The activity below shows those details so if you happen to look bear in mind this is not as accurate as my normal GPS and should have been stopped a bit earlier.
I headed back in to the stadium to cool down, stretch and change, but also to sit and take in the sights of being in the MCG and using it as a changing room, a slightly odd but very good experience.
I had my medal and goodie bag and after a nice relax I walked back to the hotel, a good warm down.  I had to get back as I had to go for lunch, but that is another story 🙂  On my way back though I walked past the end of the half marathon that was also being run (plus a full marathon) and watched the first few runners finish.  I watched with a bit of envy given the speed they were running at the end of a half marathon.
What a great experience and start to the stay in Melbourne.  At the time of writing this I have completed one more 10k, quicker and colder than Melbourne and have more planned along with 2 half marathons, gulp!  I think something has taken me over as 6 months ago I would not even think about it!

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