1. There are as many body shapes and sizes, and as many running styles, as there are runners. There are also as many reasons for doing a fun run as there are runners: some run for charities, some are sponsored by their employer or school, others run to honour a departed loved one, others again make it a fun family event. At the end of the day, we all run for someone. Including those who, like me, run for themselves.
2. Waiting for something to start -- something that you have no control over -- without a mobile phone, without pen or paper, without a book, or any other kind of distraction is incredibly freeing. Just standing around waiting, alone. In a sea of over 17,000 people (of whom you perhaps know five).
3. In a sea of over 17,000 people, the universe will ensure you cross paths at least two of the five people you know, and you'll recognise a further half-dozen acquaintances in the distance. The stories and memories this will evoke will be uncanny.
4. Not pondering the inadequacy of your preparation as you line up to start will make you feel strangely zen-like. Your confidence that you will run the whole distance, possibly even beating your last run time (but who cares), and that you will not need to stop to walk will be borne out. On a side note, including a boogie to Greased Lightening in a warm-up is an excellent idea.
5. Not repeating past mistakes like going out with old friends the night before the run to celebrate your engagement (such that your glass is never empty, you eat too many rich courses, then barf out the car window on the way home) is a very good idea. Also, remembering that, unlike last time you do not need to get on a plane to Adelaide right after your run and stay up 'til midnight unpacking and sorting brochures for your week of work appointments, is also a nice feeling. Musing that your common sense and work ethic have evolved (in a good way) will make you feel even more strangely zen-like.
6. The first kilometre is always the hardest. It it will, to your surprise, include steep inclines that you hadn't factored in to your meagre training. But an uphill will usually be followed by a downhill. And a lot of people will pass you on the downhill.
7. Some people really can tweet while running. Although why...
8. It's OK to call in the resources that you were saving for a tough time when you actually need to use them. Specifically, if you had planned for M.I.A.'s Paper Planes to get you to the finish line, but then you find you need it to give you a boost around the half-way mark, then fiddling with your iPod to make it happen is actually rather worthwhile. Likewise resources you hadn't anticipated: who knew that Brandi Carlile's music provides a great running soundtrack? Consider this validation of your laziness in not setting up a running playlist. Things do not always pan out the way you plan, including any self-flaggelatory tendencies.
9. Even if you have advised your husband to stay at home with your little 'un, to save them standing around in the freezing cold too dangerously close to nap time, you will still scan the families accumulated around the finish line to see if your people are there.
10. Getting home to gorgeous cup of coffee, a hot shower, and your jammies at midday is nothing short of bliss.
The back of the medal -- which all participants received -- reads: Remember this moment. You've earned it. Nice, eh?
PS Thanks to Jen for the motivation to do this run. The preparation didn't exactly work out as I'd anticipated/hoped but the learnings were not lost!