Sunday, September 17, 2006

Run, run as fast as you can

While he was at work one day, Paul got in contact with me to say that, oh by–the-way, he had signed me up for an organised 5 mile run. I was a little annoyed at the prospect of this for several reasons: 
 1.   I had no idea how long 5 miles actually was
 2.   When was I going to find the time to train?
 3.   What about some input from myself into these decisions? 
Too bad, he had already paid the money and I was signed up. 

Paul then found out about a nearby running group that I could train with, organised by a sports shop named Fleet Feet. The group was specifically for women and trained on a Tuesday evening. He assured me that it was a very casual group and beginners were welcome. Paul was training with a triathlon group on Tuesday evenings but we were able to get Lisa to babysit one night and I trekked down to participate. I was a little shocked when I found out that there was a choice of a 3 mile 4 mile or 5 mile run. Walking did not seem to be an option. Running with others enabled me to keep a pace and I was surprised to complete a 3 mile run without being overly stretched. This surprised me as the last time I had run was since taking part in the International Womens Day run in Brisbane when newly pregnant with Nicolas. A lack of time, rainy weather and hot weather all provided excuses not to make it back to train. I did however, manage to get out for a few runs by myself. 

August 17th was the night of the run: the Nike Run Hit Remix. Paul hadn’t been feeling too well in the previous week and I would have been happy if he told me he couldn’t do the run (providing me with an excuse to pike). No such luck. We had organised Kate to babysit the boys and caught a taxi downtown.

The run itself didn’t begin until 9pm, so we spent our waiting time checking out the numerous stalls set up to provide runner sustenance (smoothies, after run snacks) and enticement to all athletes and wannabes (sports wear, burgers, ribs and beer!). The event was extremely well organised and had staging locations for people who run a 7 minute mile, 8 minute mile, etc. Not knowing how long it would take to run a mile, we chose the 10 minute mile location to start. We met Chris, one of Paul’s colleagues and some of his friends, who were amongst the 10,000 participants.

Each mile of the run was marked by a performing band. This really added to the atmosphere, and the pace as people altered their stride to the beat of the music. This was particularly noticeable when running under the convention centre with the sounds of a Japanese Taiko drumming band reverberating around the walls at a quickening pace.  A dark underground section was enlivened with lights, flying sparkles and trance tracks. I have never been to a run where everyone was in such great spirits. I have also never been to a run that took place at night and where all participants (over the age of 21) were entitled to a beer at the finish! An office building, in line with the final length of the run, had organised for its windows to spell out a giant ‘RUN!’ providing added incentive to finish.  

I was taken back to my uni days (college) with such performers as Digital Underground and Young MC  and cover bands playing early 90’s tracks. The main attraction was De la Soul playing a concert post-run. It was such an enjoyable experience – we really want to do it again next year. 

Paul completed the Chicago Triathlon on August 27th and is now in training for the Chicago Half Marathon on October 1st.

Photo: Anne and Paul crossing the finishing line. Photo courtesy of 

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