Bridge to Brisbane

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

So on Sunday I conquered another milestone by running the Bridge to Brisbane. The 10km distance wasn't the issue at all, obviously after completing a half marathon, it was the mental side of getting up the bridge.

B2B 2011 - care of The Courier Mail
A little bit of background on the Sir Leo Hielscher Bridges (previously known as the Gateway Bridge when there was only one bridge). The bridge/s pass over the only access point to Brisbane for large vessels and the site was chosen due to its proximity to the port, industrial areas and the airport. These factors gave the bridge its unique shape.  The bridge had to have a clearance from the high water mark of 55m for shipping navigation but less than 80m (including light poles and signs) for aviation navigation.  Added to these requirements was that the maximum grade on the bridge for vehicle traffic requirements was 5.27% and you've got a limited window on which to design your structure.   In the end at their highest point the bridges are 64.5m above the Brisbane River and span approximately 1.63km.

The start of the race was at 6:10 which meant that DH and I had a fairly early start.  Our alarm went of at about 4am and then we got up and got ourselves ready. At about 4:30am Heidi (a fellow 12WBTer) arrive for our car pooling journey to the race. A bit more scratching around, putting on catering bracelets, race bibs and other stuff and we were off.

Thankfully we left with plenty of time to spare as getting the car park proved to take a while. After finally getting the car parked we had the 800m walk to the starting area.  The hill up from the railway station was just what we needed to start to warm us up and get the blood pumping. As we made it to the starting area I heard the 6:00am start for the wheelies and then the Marshall started calling the red and blue runners into place. Not long after greens were being called. Even though we all had yellow bibs we squished in towards the end of the greens.

After what seemed like an eternity we slowly progressed to the starting line. Over the mats, push the buttons on the watch and off we go. Steven and Heidi took off up the slope at a pretty good speed, but I decided I needed to keep my own pace on that upward slope as it was still playing with my mind. I ended up surprising myself as I made it to the top of the bridge and hit the 1km mark in 7:00.6 minutes.  Then came the fun down hill run. I managed to position myself behind two mums with running prams and had my first clear run with any dodging and weaving, until their pace got too much for me around the 2.5km mark

As we continued on to Kingsford Smith Drive the running became easier.  I was doing less dodging of walkers that shouldn't have even been in the running pack (vent number 1) but then I managed to roll my ankle on the train track. Around the same time I also saw a couple of other runner trip on the roadside barriers and some of those falls must have really hurt. As I continued on towards the 5km (vent number 2 coming) I started to get frustrated by interval runners. I know that some people can't keep a steady pace and need to use intervals, but FFS not go from an all out run/spring to almost a dead halt.  It makes it very hard for the person behind you to get out of the way and not slam into you! At least with the straight walkers you could pick your line and weave around them.

The 5km mark saw the start of the protest line. At first I thought it was an anti-carbon tax demonstration. The first sign had something about the majority of our greenhouse gases come from cattle - at this stage I must have missed the vegan slogan at the end. Then came people dressed in animal suits with signs about becoming vegan to reduce your carbon footprint by up to 95%. On the plus side it gave me something to take my mind off things as I continued to dodge people and I also got a giggle at one of the running mascots tackling one of the demonstration animals.

Not to long later and the Inner City ByPass comes into sight. Down the on ramp we go and then the up hill slog starts.  I'm not a person to stop for water breaks on a 10km run but while concentrating on the hill I was a little slow to realise the was one coming up and it was time to head away from the mayhem and head to the right.  All of a sudden I get water in my eye from a hose that's been put on spray over the track - not happy Jan. Apart from not expecting it, it just added to the slipperiness around the drinks station. OK vent number 3 over.

Up the hill I continued and it was at the top of the hill that I saw a young boy, probably only 8 or 9 running along with another adult male.  The guy wasn't his dad but he was helping and encouraging him all the way even though his own face was red and his was obviously hurting big time.  I threw out some words of encouragement from the heart as I couldn't even imagine running all that way at such a young age.

My watch said I'd completed the race in 1:05:07 (and run an extra 270m) and my official time was 1:04:50.  I was aiming for 1:07 so I was over the moon.  I'd run the GC 10km in 1:10:28 and that was flat.  What an improvement! 

After a quick phone call I located Heidi but Steven was lost in the crowd.  The two of us walked around towards the Athlete's Foot stand where I organised to have Steven to ring me when he turned up and the next thing you know we've bumped into a couple of other 12WBTer's.  After all of that effort it was time for a chin wag, a coffee and breakfast.
The 12WBT Crew - Me, Kath, Sharon and Heidi

I finally found Steven to discover that he'd managed to get under the 60 minute mark.  I think his official time was 59:00 so he is a very happy camper.  Heidi also smashed it by running 59:52. Kath ran what I believe to be a BP too of 1:01:03 and her husband Paul annihilated it in 41 minutes! All in all the perfect way to start out round 3 of the 12WBT.

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