Several Buses Arrive at Once

We all know the saying, and for people like me who still don’t own a car and are well accustomed to the joys of public transport, you really do wait an age for all the buses to then rock up altogether. 

The same can be said about my writing. While I’m pretty good at keeping the pace consistent on my runs, I am not so good at keeping the regularity of posts consistent on this blog. And that’s because, just like those buses, everything seemed to arrive at once, leaving much less time to ramble.

Famous scenes from the Great Ocean Road

Having spent my first two months in Sydney seemingly drifting along with few commitments in the diary, my mind was free to overthink about what was yet to happen: a job, my first #runeverystateandterritory race, a twelve-month plan… Don’t get me wrong, I nailed a lot of life administration in those first few weeks, but still I felt on edge because a set routine was not yet in place. 

It was at that point, of course, that I suddenly went from too much time to think to no time to think.

We’ll start with Melbourne.

At the end of my previous post – now gathering dust in the WordPress archive – I was eagerly anticipating a long weekend in this eclectic city. Here, intricate, Victorian-style homes in quaint leafy suburbs are juxtaposed with grungy, graffiti-lined alleyways where the hip hop for their hot caffeine hit, with the Central Business District (CBD) being only a short ride away from the seaside. It was also a good job that I was advised to pack for all seasons because, yes, Melbourne really does experience sun, heat, showers, wind, cloud, cold and more in a single day. As a typical weather-worried Brit I was going insane trying to come to terms with such outrageous conditions.

That aside, the state of Victoria was the first for me to tick off from my not-yet-trending #runeverystateandterritory challenge. The race in question was Sole Motive’s Run the Rock, an undulating 13.5km trail loop at the stunning Hanging Rock Reserve. 

Sunrises are beautiful but usually too early

The eagle-eyed among you will know that this was not on my original race list in March. Partly because I didn’t want to wait until October to run in Victoria, and partly because I’d since undertaken some more thorough race research, I decided to tweak my #runeverystateandterritory arrangements. So, FYI, here’s the revised race schedule (including those that have passed):

  • VIC – Run the Rock 13.5k (Saturday 30 March 2019)
  • ACT – Australian Running Festival 5k (Saturday 13 April 2019)
  • SA – Adelaide Marathon Festival 10k (Sunday 26 May 2019)
  • QLD – Gold Coast Marathon (Sunday 7 July 2019)
  • NT – Australian Outback Marathon (Sunday 27 July 2019)
  • NSW – Sydney Half Marathon (Sunday 15 September 2019)
  • WA – Perth Running Festival 10k (Sunday 6 October 2019)
  • NZ (North) – Auckland Half Marathon (Sunday 20 October 2019)
  • NZ (South) – Queenstown Marathon (Sunday 16 November 2019)
  • TAS – Grapest 5k Run (Saturday 23 November 2019)

Now that that’s settled, we’ll return to Run the Rock.

The race wasn’t due to set off until 9:30 am, but in order to actually make it to the rural start line it was necessary for me to catch a bus (you see, it’s always a bus) at the unsavoury time of 6:15 am. 

This meant setting a morning alarm that was far too early for anyone, let alone someone who enjoys a lie in as much as I do. Adding to that challenge was the cold that faced me on arrival at Hanging Rock (as in, 4 degrees Celsius – pretty sure I came to Australia to escape such temperatures?). I braved this with the other runners for about two hours before I could, at last, get the legs going and start to feel my extremities again. 

Toes adequately resuscitated and one kilometre in the bank, it then became clear that I was third female in the pack! I had no real goal for this race other than to do as well as I could, knowing that I couldn’t exactly achieve a PB since 13.5k wasn’t (believe it or not) a distance that I’d raced before. But as soon as a top-three spot seemed plausible I had to aim for that. 

Third place, then second, then third – then first. Now it was all about maintaining that leading place – which I did! 

Hanging out at Hanging Rock

The chilly wait for the bus back to Melbourne was made much more amenable thanks to the two medals around my neck, the second being a first place token awarded to me in a special micro-ceremony. Happy days! 

Race number one complete, the remainder of my Victorian excursion was spent cruising up the gorgeous Great Ocean Road, catching up with a fab former colleague, cracking up at the Melbourne Comedy Festival and fuelling up on the most delicious, goodness-garnished vegan pancakes I think I’ll ever taste:

See what I mean?

But then what happens the day after my return to Sydney? I have not one but two job interviews within the space of a few hours. Having somehow managed to peel out of activewear and piece together an interview-worthy outfit – make-up on my face for the first time in too long – I got through them in a daze. 

Fast-forward seven days and I was employed once more in a full-time contract role as Content and Communications Manager at a digital marketing agency, seated at a shiny office Mac and ready to set a new round of two-factor authenticated passwords. I instantly felt so fortunate, as a job of this kind was not something I thought I’d have achieved on the unpopular Working Holiday Visa.  

Of course, I did (and still do) have apprehensions about returning to the desk full-time, especially after spending so long talking myself out of it. The hours can be long, the commute isn’t ideal and my free time has taken a massive hit, which isn’t great when you’re determined to stay energised for all the exercise that you schedule into the week. I’m an active person who at least needs a standing desk in her life, but for fear of sounding grumpy I will instead thankful for this opportunity and the financial support that it will give me for my next round of races and travel.

THAT bridge – now part of the daily commute!

Conscious that I’ve probably now lost your attention, and because free time is no longer what it used to be, I’ll save the run-down (ha) on my #runeverystateandterritory trips to Canberra and Adelaide for another post. Or two.  

Did I mention that I’m also training for two marathons in July? And a third in November?

And other races in between…

Whilst trying to build this blog and develop my art…

And keep on top of laundry? Ha.

All the buses really did turn up at once.  

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