So, in case you missed the flood of pictures on Instagram you might want to know that last weekend I went to Tasmania and ran the 2014 Cadbury Half Marathon! Just as importantly I got to spend five incredible days in Hobart with Chris enjoying the sights, getting out on the water, and of course, eating delicious food! Warning: this post is long and full of photos. You can always skip the text and just enjoy the views if you don’t feel like reading tonight.
Rather than give you a detailed account of the race, which really is such a blur that all I can remember is starting out with some Jesse J blasting in my ears and ending with Amy Grant’s ‘Baby Baby’ (please don’t judge me), I thought I would share with you the highlights of our trip – and some valuable advice on where to fill a hungry tummy in Hobart.
Chris and I flew down on Friday morning (early – thanks for dropping us off Dad and Jess) and after a day spent napping, walking and nibbling on a light lunch, I decided that we should walk down to the harbour to get Chris some seafood for dinner. We wound up at Mures Lower Deck where Chris enjoyed the Fishermen’s Basket featuring fresh seafood harvested by Mures own boats. They even had an Amy friendly and delicious option in the form of curried pumpkin soup.
The next morning – pre race day! – I got up and went for a walk around some of the older suburbs of Hobart and discovered a glorious track graced by weeping willows on either side of a babbling stream. So peaceful. We headed down to the Salamanca Markets and Chris lived out a fantasy breakfast of Beef and Chili German Sausage. After some more wandering I returned to Rendezvous Lounge Café for a champion’s carbohydrate-loading breakfast of gluten free toast with piles of jam and a cappuccino. I have to recommend this café for their abundance of gluten free breakfast options and their huge slices of gluten free toast! I didn’t really believe the waitress when she brought the plate over and had to double check – it is seriously as big as normal bread! Apparently it is available from the Salamanca Bakehouse (right next door to the café). After breakfast we wandered back through the markets and found ourselves some handmade pottery mugs emblazoned with our names! Perfect for our evening cups of tea…or maybe hot chocolate in winter…
Dinner that night was spectacular. We booked a table at the extremely popular Cultura Espresso Bar and Restaurant and were delighted with our choice. After appetizers of Warmed Olives with Rosemary (for me) and Prawn and Chorizo Ciabatta (Chris) we were already feeling well nourished, and our mains of Roasted Vegetable Risotto (for me – this included roast potato!) and Rigatoni Carbonara (Chris) left us so full that there was no room for dessert! We will definitely be returning to Cultura on our next trip.
Sunday morning found us getting up super early (thank you darling) and walking the quiet streets of Hobart in the pre-dawn light. Out of the shadows others emerged wearing fluoro and spandex and sneakers as markers of their inclusion in the crazy tribe known as ‘Runners’. Once the sun crept over the mountains and washed over the lake we were lined up at the start and the gun went off. I love racing this course (despite the hideous hill at the end) and this year I gave myself permission to just enjoy racing, feel the strength that has finally come back after years of battling with fatigue and breathing problems, and just run for the joy of it. I loved the tickle of the wind across my face, the transition from road to pavement to gravel and back again, the contrasting view of ultra-modern MONA and the quaint houses of Claremont that gather near the water’s edge and creep up into the hills, and the feeling of being alone with my goal but among a crowd of people who were out here in pursuit of the same end point. I cheered other runners who passed me and the ones I passed on my way back to the finish line and each clap gave me strength to just put one foot in front of the other, and repeat.
Seeing Chris at the finishing line was a burst of brilliant sun and on that final surge my feet felt light as a feather. I crossed in 2:21:38 – a near match for last year’s 2:20:47, and 12 minutes faster than my 2013 Gold Coast Half Marathon in July! I was ecstatic. So very grateful to everyone who helped me through training, let me sleep, washed my running clothes when I forgot, and especially to Chris who waited for me at the finish line and is better than any medal and my Mum who handed on support crew duties so that we could have a solo holiday.
We headed out for breakfast after the race because I was STARVING! We returned to the scene of yesterday’s breakfast and I had a plate of poached eggs and toast and a big cappuccino. Chris earned his big breakfast and the bacon-induced sighs that came across the table were signs of enjoyment for sure.
For dinner on Sunday I wanted to take Chris somewhere fancy to say thank you for coming to Tasmania with me, and being my support crew. We headed back to Mures, but this time we ascended the stairs to Mures Upper Deck. Starched linen table cloths, sparkling glass, and a view of the harbour were ingredients that got our night off to a sweet start. We drank a bottle of my favourite wine (Frogmore Creek Chardonnay) and dined on Line Caught Blue Eye Trevalla (Chris) and a strange sounding mix of Lemon Mashed Potatoes and Greek Salad for me. My vision for dessert was a big ole pile of ice cream and it came to fruition: I had a scoop of ginger and a scoop of English toffee while Chris went for rocky road and milk chocolate. I have to get the ice cream maker out again before summer ends.
I was super excited for Monday because we had a whole day of indulgence lined up. We started with a slow breakfast and then made our way to massages, which my tired legs needed, and then after a quick sushi lunch we hopped on a harbour cruise. I have to give credit to my wonderful boyfriend again because this was his idea and it was fantastic! The captain (Mick from Follow the Yellow Boat Road) and our small band of tourists (only about eight of us in total) headed down the Derwent River taking in the sheer dolomite cliffs and sandy coves with hungry eyes. The water was a little choppy so the ride was like an awesome roller coaster in the middle of the sea. We passed a little cave in the cliffs where a man has made his home for the past couple of months and saw his washing hanging out in the breeze, then our captain motored us down to check out the salmon farms and we even glimpsed a seal! Before returning to the harbour we saw the Iron Pot Lighthouse. A great afternoon and an experience I will never forget.
Dinner on our last night had to be something special and Chris and I both felt like a little more Italian. After some quick searching we happened upon Ristorante Da Angelo. This family owned restaurant, where the pasta is still made by hand, is tucked away in the inner suburbs of Hobart and worth the walk from wherever you are staying. And I definitely recommend walking there because the food is so good that you might lick your place clean and need the waddle…er…walk back to your hotel to help you digest the feast. They even had gluten free pizza and gluten free pasta, so you just know I had to try both of them. We will be back next year for sure.
Tuesday morning was a quick breakfast and a rush to the airport and now here we are back home. I had a great trip and I am so grateful for the opportunity to travel and experience our great country, especially with my special someone. Hobart, we can’t wait to see you again.