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Bondi Barefoot Softsand: more than just Conquering my DNF

26/05/2009

Last year I swore I will never run in the sand again because I realized I am not made to run in the sand.  I registered a 10KMs and did a DNF.

This year, weeks before the run, with a better attitude I thought of conquering the sands again, and run a route that thought it won its victory over me.  I did register to do this run but of the shorter distance, 4KM over a choice with the Sydney Marathon Clinic at Smithfield.  Thinking I shoudl go back and beat that DNF, and at least try, quitters are never winner you see.  And I am not a quitter, be it in running or in real life.  It is not kind of perfectly battling my DNF since I am doing a shorter distance, at least I’d still go and finish a race on the same course.

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Start

This race too, I went alone.  No Woodies as everyone decided to run in Smithfield, and no supporters.   Its is like going to a battle alone, braving something that beat me before! ok stop, its getting too cheesy.  After 3 transfers of public transpo, I arrived early at 815 at the registration.  I got my singlet, white and blue different from the red and black for the 10KM runners, got marked just how they do it with triathletes, however just on the arm instead of bibs and I was 107.

I did my stretching, and warm up jog on the promenade. 10 minutes before the gunshot, i walked to the start as we were starting ahead of the 10KM runners.  As usual, I positioned myself at the end bit of the pack.  I just came here to finish a race and not win it isnt it?

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Towards the turn-around

Gunshot.

Mental note: Run on youor own pace, run on the footprints of the runner ahead of you to make it easier.

I am running on barefoot this time.  Last year I did run with my Nike Free part of the distance and on barefoot.  Running with shoes is harder and damages your foot with blisters from sand rubbing against your feet.

5 minutes later or so, I found myself puffed already.  Like running on a hill continously.  Some think that running on sand at the beach is easy.  Nope, not this one.  Its not where the water meets the sand part.  Its the sand closest to the promenade.  The soft powdery, cold, uncompacted sand.  Where your steps sink to the sand.  It has been raining the past week but i am surprised to see that the sand is still dry and uneroded.  I did pass number of runners ahead of me at least.   I was feeling tired and sweaty already from running it seem foever reaching each end point of the the track.

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Female Bolters

Then I stuffed.  4 Kms says 4 laps.  So I was on my 2.5rd lap, 27.14 minutes later, lap in terms of how I understand road running.  there’d always be a turnaround point which is not a lap but a lap is when you come back from the start and do another loop. I realized they mean lap in different terms here in the beach.  I saw myself who is only running in white and blue singlet and another one, amongst the red and black.  I looked from my shoulder back, and saw all of the white and blue singlet runners are already done and finished in the race! *swear, beep, beep, &^*@!*

Now I did not want to embarass myself, confuse the offiating volunteers by running against the flow of teh runners, so i told myself run the whole lot and deal with it later.  I was already frustrated and mentally disappointed with myself for having a different thinking of “lap” I could already have finished the race, I’m tired.  To cut the epic short, I crossed the finish line after 6 KMs at 40:59 minutes.  Gawd! because of that it made me look like I am the second slowest runner for a 4 KMs! I did more than what the race is, and I wasn’t willing to do the 10 Kms.

After all the 10Km runners were done running the bolt was held.  This is 70m sprints on the same soft sand course.  I entered myself. Never have done this before.  Well nothing is lost when i loose as there is no extra fee to join.  Its not even humiliating myself, well at least I tried!  So there were 24 female runners on the sprints.  We were divided 12 per go. I was eliminated on the first amongst other 5 runners.  It was fun.  I finished the female’s bolt and went back to the city.

By the way, the money raised in this event is for the use of the Bondi Life saver’s.  Where Bondi is one of the beaches where big number of people get drowned every year in NSW.

Monday, I emailed the secretariat and the organizer on stuffing up my times for my confusion.  I knew, they would know the splits since they had the timing mats whenever we do cross the mats, so it could not even be called cheating.  Plus as a well versed runner will say, in running the only competitor you have is yourself.  I knew it was my mistake for running more but i also know that they could have been a record. (Yes I sound desperate for wanting to have my 4KM time recorded on their sheets! not my 6KM which makes me look bloody sloooow).

However, I am not sure why, but none of them replied to my email. Not even a courtesy email of confirmation reply or a reply of negativity to say it is not possible that they do not know how to fiddle with IT and data so they’ll leave the results as it is and leave my time slow as it remains.   I called the secretariat’s number, no answer so i emailed the event’s organizer of the North Bondi Surf Club today hoping at least he replies.  I’ll give up if he doesn’t.  I’ll take that as No they do not know how to make that happen.  Its a first time to get such reaction to a organized running event.  Compared to a big marathon event like Canberra which I emailed a few times on my registration who emailed me back in hours time, to a Sri Chinmoy Event for not able to run because of an injury and they did refund/carry my payment over the next race, which I think are more bigger events, and last week a mate, Brendan, emailing the SMH organizers for stuffing up the mixed team winners which put Woodstock mix in 4th instead of 2nd instead.

Pros: Difficulty-8, scenery-9, enough water, enough medical standby, lots of free fitness magazines
Cons: No baggage area, Not enough instructions/volunteers, expensive

Anyway, I am done with my ranting, Life is not always a PB :), but then at least I am not scared of the sand anymore.  I probably do one again, i doubt doing a Bondi again since I am disapointed with how the organizers react to my email, (I’ll edit this comment not until they email me back!! – okey they emailed me a day after explaining that they are doing their work as voluntary so the are using their spare time to reply).  Maybe I’ll do the Manly instead.  Manly Soft sand will be on June 7, wich is a 1.6, 9 and a half marathon event.  I swear the half marathon would feel like a full marathon! But not this year, as a group of Woodstock will be driving up South West Rocks on that weekend for the River Mcleay Marathon running festival.  Its the Queen’s birthday, and its a long weekend.  I hope it not flooded anymore after two weeks.

Event: Bondi Barefoot Soft sand
Distance: 4Km
Time: 27.11 (5th age category), 40.59 6KM time
Resolved 4KM results
Location: North Bondi, NSW, Australia

Winners
10 KM Results
4 KM Results
Bolt Results

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