Monday, September 22, 2008

Tocktacular Wobbly Walk

Sunday just gone was South Australia's most popular, single sports event that people do rather than watch: the City-to-Bay Fun Run.

Having done the 'run' bit a couple of times now, I decided to walk the twelve kilometres instead with karate mates Naomi and Sarah. Naomi's son has been the recipient of a cochlear ear implant that has changed his life and we thought that our entry fees and some donations could be best flung in the direction of the Cora Barclay Centre. We were three forty-year old women wanting to do something good that was good for us.

Plus none of us were too shabby on the fitness front, so we'd be able to have a few laughs on the way in full knowledge that none of us would struggle to make it. We'd all grab our free copy of the Sunday Fail at the finish line, then meet up at the sponsor tent, eat our free bacon sarnie and swallow a pint of full fat Farmers Union Iced Coffee - no nasty calories in food earned by charitable efforts. (It's like eating an orange before a KitKat - the good has already cancelled out the bad. In 'Kath-Land' at least).

It was sunny and my guts were churning with nerves and excitement - pathetic isn't it, to be nervous at a mere walk where no prizes were on offer, no sheep stations on the line or lucrative job offers to be fought for but there you have it; my insides were jiggling about like a disgraced rugby player before a press conference. 'It's for the Cora Barclay Centre', I reminded myself, breathing in deeply, s-l-o-w-l-y. 'It's not about YOU, it's about being part of a community event, getting into the spirit of the thing, helping to raise money for a worthy cause. It's for the KIDS.'

At King William Street, near the rows of porta-loos already in demand by runners regretting their early morning coffees, we stationed ourselves about halfway in the scrum of walkers - right next to a fully clad Batman, as it happened.

He had the grey leggings, the cape, the face mask and, just to make sure he really was incognito, some sunglasses under his head covering. Perhaps the knee high, black woollen socks stretched up to his thighs were a bit of overkill and not likely to make striding along for a couple of hours in 22C sunshine a doddle. There's a lot to be said for the batmobile and living in a cave. He nodded in agreement and was about to ask me for my phone number before Sarah looked directly at me and silently arched one eyebrow in that manner recognised by intelligent females the world over as: "We're here for a reason, not to encourage stalkers."

The Dark Knight was immediately forgotten when the starting gun cracked. We surged forward without a moment to lose, every second counts.........and about fifteen minutes and fifteen thousand people later, we finally crossed the starting line, part of a chattering, moving ocean of adidas, safety-pinned numbers and "Tsk cha-cha tsk cha-cha" iPods.

For the first ten minutes or so, I was happy to walk with the two girls as we got into stride and was treated to an impromptu tour of some of Adelaide's unappreciated Art Deco buildings as explained by Sarah, an architect. Laboratory Technician Naomi and Dunno-yet me did our best to look up and admire the buildings under discussion, which was going well until I trod on the back of an old bloke's sneaker, thus transforming his shoe into a receptacle with about as much athletic support as a Croc. Still, he was an old bugger and easy to shove against the edge of the gutter as I strode by.

And it was about here - not quite the two kilometre mark, that my competitive streak kicked in. Really kicked in. I'm not proud of it but clearly my Read family genetics took over - be it Monopoly, beach cricket, tennis or wall papering, we tend to play to WIN at all costs, even if you end up getting donged on the head with the monopoly bank for your efforts.

Chopper Read had taken over Kath Plugger Lockett one hundred percent. It was Game ON, no mercy, go hard or go home, best foot forward, nose to the grindstone, backs to the wall, shoulder to the wheel, head down bum up....... The girls - bless their karate, butt kickin' black-belted hearts - just weren't cutting it on the power walking front. They just weren't putting their full hearts, souls and arses into the job. Too many months on the treadmill had given me a backside that swung to and fro like a ship's hammock and it was creating a momentum I was powerless to discourage.

So much for mateship, laughs and sisterhood: "You know what guys - I'm going to have a real crack at this. It's been a shiteous couple of months and I need to blow off the cobwebs." And with that, I was off. I can only imagine how big a wanker I looked. Arms pumping, hips wiggling like a superannuated cross dresser and steps longer than a pole vaulter's but without the symmetry or skill. I was going to make the most of this friggin walk thingy. I was going to finish it early, finish it well and cross it off my 'to do' list.

Instead of enjoying the Oompah band on ANZAC highway, I scowled as the amaterish, soft-bellied six-kilometre klutzes joined the event and was immediately swamped by prams, old ladies testing out their hip replacements and school kids clutching balloons. Selfish buggers, ruining it for fit folk like myself, up for a challenge, ready to give their all, do their best, show 'em what we're made of.

Which was dung, in my case. Morally, at least. I ducked, dived, weaved and even skipped along the footpaths and traffic islands to get past the slow, the fat, the clueless and the gimmicky. If there was someone ahead who was older, larger, younger, thinner, taller, smaller or pushing any kind of device with wheels, I was going to pass them and pass them with a trail of fire blazing from my Brooks' heels. "Excuse me, excuse me, sorry, excuse me....." There was NO WAY a semi-sane (I'm being kind) bloke wearing a chicken suit was going to out walk me; let alone a sheila pulling behind a Coopers Ale cart, clearly more interested in draining her tinnie than keeping an eye on the stop watch.

Instead of conversation, jokes and time to appreciate the atmosphere with my mates, I saw nothing but lumbering arses in front me, mocking my naivete in not surging to the front of the starting line and daring me to break on past them, only to see another blockage of blubbery butt cheeks barely held in check with lycra* and far too much jovial chit chat and taking in of scenery.

I kept on, and on, powering to the end in one hour, thirty minutes. A smidgen less than 7.5km per hour speed. No prizes, no fans running out to shake my sweaty hands, no announcing calling out, 'Here comes Kath Lockett and she's thrashed Premier Mike Rann, leaving him sobbing back on the roundabout by KFC!'

My bacon sarnie and iced coffee reward was eaten alone and I felt like an even bigger arsehole than the one I'd earned via treadmill training. I can only apologise to Naomi and Sarah, and assure them that they both looked fit, fabulous and fun-filled whereas I was just a blowhard beeyotch connected to a bloody big pair of buttocks.

*A word to the wise - those uber expensive Skins-style leggings look stupid on everyone. Including world class swimmers. Even though I personally won the Wanker Award yesterday anyone who wears these either has too much money or imagines themselves to be a serious athlete and may, if they continue to wear them, be given my crown.


River said...

Congratulations on finishing. I've never done the walk myself, although I have walked long distances before. None have ever been measured, but I'd say walking from Central Market back to Toorak Gardens pulling a shopping trolley of meat and veg would be a similar effort. Even if I did stop several times to "admire the scenery". Couldn't do it now though, my knees would give up I think.

Casey said...

You have me cracking up with your competitive story. Congrats to you for pushing through though. I'm so lazy, I get winded walking to the mail box.

Baino said...

I once went into the City to Surf and died a slow death on heartbreak hill so never again . . .I'd have been one of the blubbery bums you swore at on the way through.

the rows of porta-loos already in demand by runners regretting their early morning coffees - hehehe

Used to have a mug that read "Coffee Gets you Going" oh in more way than one!

anabels said...

Those Skins type compression leggings are the athletic equivilent of Crocs. They look like arse but tehy are soooo comfortable and your legs feel far less trashed after training if you wear them!

I have largely given up trying to do those kinds of events *with* people. I know my own weakness for going hard. So i always arrnage to meet up at the end!

And that is a very respectable time for walking the distance!

squib said...

Fun Run. A wonderful example of a rhyming oxymoron


River said...

Just read back to check your time. You did much better than several of my co-workers, well done!

Naomi said...

you crack me up - no apology necessary girl!

You needed to blow the cobwebs out big time and we were really happy for you that you did kick arse and get a damn good time!

For what it was worth, coming in about 15 minutes behind you, we too were dealing with lycra disasters in front of us on several occasions and more than a few damn prams as well.

Mind you, moi, Mrs 15 minutes behind you, was the only one of the 3 of us that fronted at training last night lol : - )

Deep Kick Girl said...

I don't care how you did it... I'm just proud of you for doing it. Well done. I know how tough it is and your time is bloody impressive (coming from someone who took more than twice as long to complete the City to Surf).

Terence McDanger said...

I used to hitch a lift from one side of the pool table to the other and once did my hamstring rolling over in bed, but I'd like tot hink I could now handle a real run some day having got myself in some sort of shape.

Besides little brother is running marathons these days and I can't be having that!

And erm, I , uh, tagged you...


franzy said...

You want a 'wanker'. Stand back and let a pro show you how:

I can't let this little piece of twisted imagery slip by

"I felt like an even bigger arsehole than the one I'd earned via treadmill training"

Unless your treadmill is either a) much more severely damaged than you are letting on or b) really really kinky, I would propose that you're talking about arses, rather than holes ...