It was like any other early morning winter run. It started in the dark, I was soaking wet and tree branches lay broken on the ground, following the previous night’s strong winds. I was tired and I was worrying about the temperature. Was I wearing the right clothing and had I applied enough sunblock?
Wait, did I just say sunblock? Yes, for I had escaped the rain, sleet and snow of Scotland and was enjoying four fabulous weeks in Australia, where I was taking the opportunity to run in the sun.
Prior to arriving in Oz, I had looked for events and had been invited by the Victorian Road Runners to their New Year’s Eve run around Melbourne’s Royal Botanical Gardens, aka The Tan.
The Tan is the perfect run route, with distance markers, water fountains and toilets sprinkled (no pun intended) along the route. With a backdrop of Melbourne’s Central Business District and the Yarra River, it was the perfect setting for my first run in Oz. I couldn’t think of a place I’d rather be.
I wasn’t alone thinking this, as the Road Runners’ ranks were swelled with runners from all over the world, including Spain, Brazil and er, Tasmania. We were all made to feel extremely welcome and after a wonderfully pleasant 8k run, we were spoiled with champagne and croissants. It was a fantastic way to end a fantastic year.
With an early start, the heat wasn’t too oppressive and other than having a quick scare when I came across a broken water fountain, I felt I had run well. Well, considering I had spent two weeks eating Aussie burgers, complete with fried egg (protein and omega fats) and beetroot (the new running superfood), along with ice-cream while laying on beaches and soaking up the rays (now, that’s a #humblebrag).
Fast forward a few days to 2015 and the morning of the broken branches and soaking skin and it was a different story. By 7.30am it was 30 C and although I had intended to run another 8k, in the monthly Tan Time Trial, I realised a few kilometres in that I was struggling, not just with the heat, but also with the excess pounds I was slowly accumulating during this vacation. So I made a decision. Rather than slowing my pace to complete the 8k, I would quicken a little and try and complete the 4k run in a reasonable time, I didn’t break any records, but I was again happy with my burger fuelled time and was especially grateful for the regular water fountains.
I was also grateful to Victorian Road Runners for inviting me along to their runs and for presenting me with a club vest (my first ever running vest) which I would sport six days later in the Doha half marathon.
Six days after that and I’m back in the UK needing to kick start my marathon training. Oh, how I’d love to be still in the sun, but instead I will get out and join everyone else in some #winterrunning.