How to run the Adelaide City Bay Fun Run
What could be more iconic than running the City Bay 12km ‘Fun Run’ in Adelaide?
This race was first run in November 1973 and since this date; the start line has changed along with the finish line and other event distances such as the 3km, 6km and half marathon have been added. But wasn’t hasn’t changed is the events purpose to raise funds for South Australia Athletics and to encourage one and all to run for fun.
For me there are a few reasons why I support the City-Bay; community, the chance to run on closed roads and history; my Dad ran the City-Bay fun run since its beginnings until retiring his running shoes in 2017 at the age of 73.
To run any cities fun run along closed roads is a privilege; the freedom to have the roads to yourself is pure joy and you notice things you wouldn’t necessarily see if you were driving or even walking.
Going (half) the distance
This year I was motivated to run the City Bay half marathon as a lead up to my next ultra-endurance race, Yurrebilla 56km. The half marathon distance was the ideal distance a week out from Yurrrebilla plus working for a trail retail store who also stocks road shoes what better way to promote our range of shoes and community than to put a team together. This year the team was aptly named ‘BKT-Trail Goes Road’.
When you transition from road to trails your running psyche changes; your human soul, mind and spirit opens to the world around you and the freedom felt when running on the trails is liberating. You wonder why it took you so long to find the peace and expansiveness of nature.
At the same time, you start hating on the road; it’s too hard on the body, it’s boring, its loud and it’s frustrating especially when it comes to the stop start of traffic lights. But what we forget about is the performance benefits of the flat and straight road has on your running; this gain is often quickly overlooked.
- Makes for a much more consistent run with little to no obstacles
- More convenient than the trails as you can run straight outside your door
- Is more fast paced ideal for speed interval training
- Ensures the body is working in greater harmony to propel you forward
- Helps maintain form and technique
- Allows the mind to zone out
- Works the big muscle groups
Since upping the milage of the road each week my love for this terrain has grown. The benefits outweigh the so-called negatives and from here on, I will champion the benefits of road running to help performance on the trails.
You can’t have one without the other.
Getting to the guts of it
How many of you suffer pre-race nerves? You know what I am talking about…prior to leaving the house you have rushed to the toilet a handful of times and even before you get to the start line you have had to make a mad dash to the public toilet or random port-a-loo.
There is something about race/run anxiety that makes you need to poop; I guess this where the term ‘runners trots’ comes from, but this more so refers to the need to get to a bathroom stat during or after a run.
Whether before, during or after the need to rush to the toilet can not only be frustrating and inconvenient but embarrassing too; despite your efforts sometimes the need is too great. Yep, welcome to the honest and open conversation about running and poop.
During this year’s City Bay half marathon, I suffered gut discomfort before and during the event, something that could have easily derailed my race, but I did my best to push through; thank goodness for mindfulness. After sizing up a bush around 14km in I found a more respectable alternative; a service station where I rushed in to use the toilet. Phew saved by a BP.
People who run long distances are more likely to suffer runners trots and can have several symptoms during a race. The longer the distance you run, the worse these symptoms could become which include:
- Belly cramps
- Fecal incontinence, or being unable to control bowel movements
- Urge to poop
- Bloody stool
Experts say the body’s reaction to running and dealing with runner’s trots is more of a physiological phenomenon caused by factors including:
- The up and down motion of running, which can jostle the bowels
- The diversion of blood flow from the intestines to other muscles during a run
- Pre-race anxiety or general stress
- Nutrition (like high-fibre and high-fat foods, sweeteners, or caffeine)
Whatever the reason, any runner will know it’s sometimes difficult to manage and can greatly affect your pace and race.
As I raced, I looked inwards to try and understand what my body was doing; how I was feeling and was I going to make it to the end without a natural disaster happening; happy to say I did make it and despite losing time to a toilet stop, I was able to run a half marathon personal best.
During the race and even after I was trying to process why my guts reacted in such a way and what the cause was; as noted above we know that several different changes happen to your system when your feet hit the pavement; vibrations, reduced blood flow to your colon all of which can be cause of diarrhoea to name a few of the reasons.
I was careful to reduce my fibre intake from earlier on the week and the morning of the race to eat foods that have proven to work in the past, crumpets with vegemite for example. I may never get to the bottom of way my guts reacted in such a way, but I can look to:
- Avoid or limit artificial sweeteners, or any foods known to cause loose stools or flatulence for several days prior to a race or hard work out
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
- Avoid eating at least two hours prior to exercise. This will allow for enough time for food to empty your stomach
- Avoid the intake of caffeinated products and warm fluids close to race time
- Plan out for restroom breaks if I develop the urgency while running again and always carry some toilet paper for those ‘just in case’ moments
- Try an over-the-counter antidiarrheal agent such as Imodium
- Get a consultation with a nutritionist who specialises in the care of athletes to discuss further
Just call me a runner
I am neither a road nor trail runner, I am a runner. I am a plant-based individual who benefits physically and mentally from putting one foot in front of the other whether that be a 5km Parkrun or 100km endurance event.
I run to how I am feeling on the day, and should I experience a session that does not meet my expectations, I will not be down on myself instead I will congratulate myself on being accountable to my plan and continuing to show up to grow beyond what I think is possible.
I am a runner. A planted runner. And I just completed the City Bay Fun Run Half Marathon and loved every moment of it (except for the bit that were hard but even then, I moved through the pain like a champion).