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“Sensational” weekend

15 October, 2013

On Friday hubby and I joined our friends M & R in Melbourne for hubby to run his first Melbourne marathon.

It started in their restaurant and them having a wine and while with them for the weekend the wine never stopped flowing and it wasn’t cheap wine either!

As we flew up to Melbourne we were separated on the plane and I blogged about how nervous I felt. As we joked about swapping wives while we queued for a taxi and sliding around on slippy leather seats it set the mood for the weekend and I tried to relax.

We dumped bags. I vetoed hubby from persistently wanting Yum Cha when Melbourne has so much more to offer the culinary palate.

We commenced a food crawling tour of Melbourne CBD that started on Friday and didn’t end until Monday morning.

We ate some incredible food. We ate some disappointing food. We critiqued. We compared how restaurateurs put a dollar value on the bum on the seat and how they move people along in good and bad ways.

We entered an Italian restaurant (Modina?) where we were told we had the table for just over an hour and a half. First up I ordered a latte. A deep rich Italian flavour (not so much to my taste).

The food was divine. I mean seriously heavenly. I chose familiar meat but how it came challenged my taste buds and I had no regrets. I even lightened up and had a wine.

We stopped in Coda for dessert and sampled deconstructed cheesecake and hubby had orgasmically delicious coffee and banana ice-cream in an “ice-cream sandwich”.

There was a full view of a quietly working kitchen here as we watched the place hum. It was wonderful to watch and share this restaurant. A definite favourite.

Finally calling it a night we headed back to the Stamford Plaza. My first impression had been to look up at the ceiling 16 floors above me.

As I stood outside our room on level 4 and looked down into the restaurant I again wondered at open balconies and people with a death wish.

A broken night’s sleep was had though and we had a day wandering around ahead of us. Where’s the coffee?!

Saturday morning we went the long way to the marathon expo going via The Quarter in Degraves St. This disappointed us after the superb food yesterday.

We noticed how we were sandwiched in. How they expected us to know the extensive menu in way too short a time. How once we finished we felt rushed to move on already.

At the expo we got our numbers, my race pack, hubby’s race pack and M’s, even though he wasn’t running due to a recovering injury.

Stupidly I wore my leather boots with a heel. Ordinarily super comfy they got hotter as the heat rose to 24 degrees and I knew I’d to get back to the hotel to get flat shoes on. We also needed to dump the bags that we’d gained.

More walking and we made our way to Ca de Vin. Here we tried to carb load hubby for his marathon run. A bit of drama with a glass of red wine getting thrown over my table setting was an interesting start to a delicious meal.

On our way back down Swanston Street we got caught up in Asian tourists taking pictures of the strangest scene ever. We stumbled on the Melbourne Zombie Shuffle!

Incredulously we watched as people dressed up with bad makeup, gruesome makeup, fantastic makeup and ham acting streamed slowly passed us.

When we finally moved on to find somewhere for dessert hubby got distracted and nearly castrated himself on a low, (I don’t know how you’d term it), path lining bollard, arty thing that lined the edge of the footpath that was inconveniently at crotch height.

We had a good laugh at his unfortunate predicament and his wide gaited stance as I worried if this might jeopardise his run the next morning.

We eventually found our way down to Southbank where we looked at all the restaurants offering the same desserts – lemon tart, sticky date pudding, chocolate pudding or cake and sorbets.

We eventually stopped at the end in Sake and had a rather poor excuse for dessert. Ah well. You can’t win them all.

Back to the hotel in our meandering way and a freshen up before heading to a very close by place where we had some more wine!

Here I had the most beautiful coffee yet, so I had two! We also sampled some nibbly food before calling it a night for what was to be followed by an early morning start.

As our weekend had progressed we were half convinced that after telling us he wouldn’t run the marathon that M would in fact run so we were delighted that he was dressed inappropriately for a run on Sunday morning.

I’d had another wakeful night sleep and being up at a 5.15am alarm call to get hubby started on his run did nothing to encourage me for my later start.

But we delivered him to the start line in good time along with over 8,000 other crazy people who run marathons. We had a prime spot and he was alert enough to even stick his tongue out at me for photos as he started.

He had set his Map My Run to update Facebook every 10 km so we knew it would be a while before we’d know how he was going.

We watched as runners all shapes and sizes ran through the start and then the next run, 10km, gathered. We stayed another little while until the half marathon runners got going and then it was time for some breakfast.

We indulged in a nearby pub, The Duke, and instead of an anaemic eggs benedict on english muffin the ham and egg were perched on a thick hash brown.

I had a light breakfast of porridge and then we made our way back to the MCG to watch the first marathon finishers arrive.

As runners started to spill into the MCG from the 10km we suddenly hear that the first half marathon runner has entered the stadium.

He sprints in so fast it’s as if the 10km runners are walking!! The speed and length if stride was incredible and the same thing happened when the marathon runners came through.

Standing ovations for such sensational effort was the go and we stayed standing as we watched a couple of people collapse on the final 50 metres and paramedics go out to others a bit further out the track.

One woman, who was less than 50 metres out was out cold completely. She was still in the recovery position as she was stretchered out through the finish points.

I would hate if that were me. I told M & R to carry me across the line to get a finish time if that was how I might finish up!

Time for me to get ready for my 5.7 km piddly run and I stripped off to my running gear. As I left the MCG for the start line the heavens opened with cold solid raindrops and a breeze.

My heart sank for hubby out on the road who had been running exactly on his target times and as I contemplated whether I would cry off running myself I had to stick with my desire to prove myself (to myself).

I arrived at the start. Had a nervous pee. Got my music ready. Got my Map My Run ready. Sent a last minute tweet to the UK crew that were following hubby’s progress and sucked in my determination.

My feet were sodden. My clothes drenched. The sky grey. Suddenly an announcement that due to flooding our route would be shortened.

While they rearranged our track we were told we’d be running 3km. A bit of a brain readjustment had to happen for me.

My aim had been to push myself to fully run the 5.7km without a walking break. It would have been the furthest I’d run in years and that was my only goal, “just keep running”.

With the 3km now being the target and rain still tipping down I resolved to run that fully. I’d trained up to 2.8km in walk/run style so knew with certainty I could do this.

First up was a hill and I’d to suck it up on the way up and try not to surge forward on the way down. Then we had a level gravel/sand run along the river bank.

Turn sharply and up a wooden ramp before another level run before dropping around a loop to run under the MCG and enter the grounds.

I’m still running and there is a slower runner in front of me and I don’t pay any attention to the people in the grounds around me. I take to the grass and finish in 20 minutes.

I am so pleased with my time though and even happier that my medal still says 5.7km runner! Time to find my friends and brother and watch hubby coming in.

M & R jumped a small gate keeping them separate from our finishing area to wait with me and my brother and his partner found us and we were talking when hubby finally came into the MCG grounds.

We laughed so hard when we could see him air drumming and doing actions like the choir in Muse’s song Survival from the 2012 Olympics.

He had programmed his iPhone playlist to be an hour and 10 minutes long, the speed he wanted to run his 4 x 10km marathon in, and Survival was the last track to give him that surge onwards.

He’d gone back a couple of songs near his finish to come in to Muse playing and he finished to it. Exactly at the time he had hoped for.

We couldn’t see the big screens but I bet the camera man had been watching hubby as he came in waving his arms wildly about him in such a strange fashion. As it was the compere announced his name!

Hubby came through the finish timers and we lost sight of him. Turns out he collapsed in tears and then struggled to get to his feet again. My brother greeted him first from their vantage point and we then greeted him above the exit tunnel.

He sneakily managed to get a marathon medal for M and gave us a massive wink as he took “his” medal from another person giving out medals!

Right so. Recovery time! We walked at hubby’s pace to the hotel where my brother left us to get hubby sorted and I’d be seeing them the next night.

He was put straight into a hot spa on the hotel roof and I went to shower and change. I grabbed hubby’s clothes and we got him moving again slowly.

Time to resume the gastronomic journey!! We went to Chinchin and shared starters and a celebratory beer (which went straight to hubby’s head) before we went onto the wine.

When we didn’t order more food and we didn’t want a coffee straight away we were then being given the heave ho signals.

Our waiter gave us the bill and when hubby saw him pointedly looking at us unhurriedly drinking our wine was decidedly ticked off when we then ordered wine!

This almost started hubby from being totally rude so we bodily got him out of there after some drama over a bottle of water.

We made our way to Coda and I kid you not, less than 5 minutes after it opened we got the last table. Oh my Lord! They didn’t disappoint!!

We had Morton Bay bugs. Steak tartare, tuna tartare, sticky beef, duck and followed up by sumptuous desserts of handmade aero, honeycomb icecream, mandarin icecream as we licked plates clean.

Coda staff were so friendly, the kitchen so professional and not once did we feel like they were giving us the push to leave.

It was back to the hotel for what was supposed to be an early night but again, wine was shared, coffee was drunk and hubby relived his marathon run.

At 1am I was awake again and so I put up some of the more agonising shots of hubby finishing his run. Finally at 3am I fell asleep.

Monday morning loomed with hubby snoring next to me and we ended up having a rather nice breakfast in the hotel before I said my goodbyes as I headed to Brunswick to begin my own marathon.

We got to Flinders station and instead of heading in a straight line to Brunswick we got the train which was cancelled due to a fatality on the tracks.

I tried to remain calm as the excess time we were meant to have for a bite to eat was being eaten into but we made it in plenty of time for me to get my first tattoo.

It was to be a long day in the chair and I was definitely glad for it to be finally finished 5 hours later. Talking and laughing definitely helped me through the pain but there were times when we both fell silent as Steve Cross worked his magic.

Glad to have the needles put away it was time to make my way into the city and then on to Box Hill.

I knew there was a choice of tram or train but couldn’t figure out how to get on the tram so went for the train!

It was a very sleepy finish to my day finally at 11pm when the sofa bed was made up for me. I lay on my left side and don’t think I moved until 5.45am. Finally! Sleep!!

Going to the airport was an anti-climax. Slowly returning back to reality but thankfully also the rest of the week off work.

Ok. I think you’ve probably had to read enough for now. It’s taken me all day to get this written and there is so much more I want to say!

Anyway. It was an amazing weekend with friends. There were achievements and mementos brought home from a trip I hope never to forget!

So looking forward to our crazy trip to Paris together!

Pip

P

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