My alarm went off at 6am. I had no idea where I was or why my alarm would be sounding so early on a Sunday. Then everything slowly fell into place as I thought back to the previous week when I received this message from Kelly.
“How would you like to walk over the Harbour Bridge while you’re here next Sunday?”
She'd thoughtfully included a link to the Sydney Running Festival site.
“I will give it some thought, I’m a bit hopeless with heights,” I replied.
“It’s the Harbour Bridge,” said Kelly. “It’s six lanes wide with a train track and a bike path one side and a walking path the other, you can’t be that bad with heights can you?”
“Possibly,” I said.
Next I know she’s shouted me my entry fee and I received a confirmation email with my bib number and the dates for my race kit collection. Today was THE day. Better get up.
I checked the Pocket Weather app on my phone for an update on the day ahead, Sydney was supposed to receive 30mms of rain.
The walk uphill to Kelly and Alistair’s was a good warm up, so was the walk from their house to the train station. Kelly’s Mum and Dad met us at Milson’s Point and we made our way down to the start. The bridge looked very high from down there and I was eyeing off Ashley’s pram as a preferred mode of transport.
“Are you carrying that as an extra burden or do you actually need all that gear?” Asked Kelly’s Mum smiling as she looked at my backpack.
I guess it depends how you define the word “need.” But no, I don’t suppose I needed it all. Still it weighed me down so should we have experienced an unexpected gust of wind I’d have been steady as a rock, a rock with snacks and sufficient clothing to survive a particularly severe cold snap.
Walking across the Sydney Harbour Bridge is an experience I’d never had and one I’m not likely to forget. It was great to have shared the moment with good friends and been there for Ashley's first ever 'race'.
With the bridge closed to traffic it was a sight to behold, lucky it was a fun run because no one was in any great rush. Hash tag “Blackmores Sydney Running Festival” was getting more of a workout than its entrants!
We all received a medal having crossed the finish line at the Opera House, I would post a photo but mine is in transit back to Tasmania in my Kathmandu cereal bowl but more on that tomorrow.
After two warm ups, THE walk and an extended warm down en route to the train station I was, without a shadow of a doubt, cactus. So much so as I sit here now running through the day I actually can’t recall how I got from the bus back to my Airbnb sanctuary. Oh yes I can, Kelly and Alistair dropped me here on their way to take Ashley to her swimming lesson. I fully intended to go along but was slightly concerned I might end up nodding off and I’m not old enough for that to be acceptable yet.
I jumped onto my bed and wrote for an hour sitting cross legged and then realised I couldn’t move. I might not be old enough to fall asleep in public but it seemed I was more than of age for my legs to decide they wouldn’t be co-operating further unless they received some attention. I went for a hot shower immediately, the water pressure forced my muscles to calm down and my body promptly announced that now that it was feeling a little better it would also like to be fed. Fortunately just down the road (as in a mere two hundred metres) was a little shopping village of specialty stores were I could buy my lunch.
It had rained lightly during the bridge walk but the afternoon was a different story and the level of precipitation at 4pm was not conducive to my hiking twenty five minutes back up the hill, so Kelly came to get me. Pizza was on the menu that evening and we were joined by two of their friends, Lucy and Tom. It was the perfect way to end a big day! We lounged about telling stories, laughing and enjoying great wine thanks to wine connoisseur Alistair who had us guess what we were sampling. This was both educating and rewarding because the wines were top notch. That reminds me, I did mean to write them all down.
Tip: The Sydney Harbour Bridge has six lanes of road traffic on its main roadway, two lanes of road traffic (formerly two tram tracks) and a footpath on its eastern side, oh and two railway tracks and a bicycle path along its western side. So, if you’re afraid of heights, pick the one day of the year they close the bridge to traffic and walk right down the centre of the six lanes. You have no idea how high you are and get to just enjoy the view!