Total running since March - about 3 hours (not all at once), brain surgery, riding me bike!
Saturday's Race Preparation:
Tour de France Prologue Live on ITV3. Thanks for the bloggy reminder cfsmtb!
England vs. Portugal match. Managed to limit myself to a single Tim Taylor Strong Pale Ale during the game.
Renae's birthday party at Green & Red
Mexican Restaurant and Tequila Bar, moving to nearby Tea Bar. Self-control disappeared (must've been the heat.. uh huh.. the heat..). A bunch of margaritas (strong and not the blended ice ones like back home), an odd tequila shot+champagne "slammer" thing, mmm bourbon, Mal's vodka martini.. and I was still in better shape than Jobbo ;) It got a little interesting here with bouncers, police, an unhappy Shaun and with the race in mind.. we bailed for the train. Of course, we missed the train and had to take the night bus. Met Mei-Ling on her way home!
It was 3am and we'd made it back to Ealing, now loaded with chips ("crisps" for the poms), powerade and icecream. With this kind of preparation.. how could I fail?!?! :D
Sunday Race Day:
7am and I'm in for a bit of a shakey rise. Into the shower and out again for a coffee and piece of toast.
I taped my nipples up with Elastoplast but I think the tape fell off before I'd even started because I still ended up with some bad chaffing.
Desperate for a crap but the loo was occupied so I left. Ealing Broadway's toilets were locked so jumped onto the next train. The toilets at Piccadilly maccas were out of paper (runners were hanging around here already, obviously with similar ideas).. Finally found the race portaloos (there must've been a hundred of 'em). Ahhh.. Lucky I made it too because the place was rammed after another 30min.
Dropped my bag off with the bird at the correct numbered bay, wandered a bit and pinned my number on (below the "Speedy" and snail image on my appropriate t-shirt). The place was filling up and I stood back to watch people shuffle towards the start (10min walk away). Chatted to a guy from Houston, Texas. I had shorts without any pockets and my watch had died, so I was carrying my phone around for timing. He spotted it and made some comment, showing off his Garmin wrist-mounted GPS. He then pointed out some skydivers and we noted the poor PA setup (surely they could afford more speaker stacks with 30,000 x £29??). Also the silly route to the start which went by the toilets and caused a bit of a blockage ('scuse the pun). Silly me put the Lucozade bottle in my bag and which meant for the next hour or so I had no fluids. Walking and waiting in the sun with a hangover wasn't doing me any good..
So anyway, there were about a million people on Piccadilly (Okay, the commentator said 30,000). It was mental!! Never seens so many people.
I was in the middle of the pack when the start gun went (9.35am) and everyone cheered and started clapping runners as they ran towards us on the other side of the road.
Watching runners go past in the opposite direction on Piccadilly, I waited.. and waited.. and walked.. and waited.. At some point I turned around to look behind me and found that I was at the back of the field!!! WTF?! How did everyone get by? We're not even running yet and there was still tonnes of people waiting to go over the start line. I started shuffling forward and finally went around the U-turn and started my warmup jog over the start line (10.05am).
I was passing lots of people and getting stuck behind big groups. There was definately no clear path guarantee. Even before 1k was done, people were walking.
At the 2k mark (I guess) I saw a water stop and grabbed a Lucozade. They're crap and I should've got water but it's what the guy was holding out and I badly needed a drink (other than tequila). I was in quite a good mood now, pootling along, smiling at the guys in dog suits, horse suits, bear suits, princess costumes or nodding to the people cheering us on. It wasn't "really" a race.. :)
I think I hit 4k at 23min which is about 6min slower than what I'd done 4k in during a BRW tri. BFW (that's a TISM reference for Carl). It was damn hot! Every time we went under a bridge or under buildings you could hear the crowd of runners sigh with relief at a little shade. When we'd come out the other side it was a large scale groan as we were punished again. I was running with phone in one hand and bottle in the other and hugged the curb in order to use the most tree shade I could find. It was always possible with the amount of dodging necessary. You wouldn't use this race to set any PBs unless you were at the front from the gun.
Somewhere around here we ran past a steel drum band and they were playing YMCA so, of course, I had to do the dance as I ran past. I wasn't the only one. Loads of people at this stage were looking pretty wrecked and walking. There was also an enormous amount of empty water bottles lying in the gutters and skittering across the road as people dropped and kicked them.
Over the bridge I got my hopes up seeing one of those big, blue, air-filled start/finish "bridges". It even said 10K on it! Unfortunately, people were doing a u-turn and continuing the run which meant it obviously wasn't the finish.. damn! I was struggling now. The dehydration and 30+ heat were doing their best to shut me down.. I was getting cold flushes which is odd when it feels like your feet are on fire in your shoes..
8K mark.. I was still passing lots of people and actually upped the pace a bit here - probably mostly a case of wanting to get it over and done with than anything else!
9K mark.. the MC was hyping the crowd up to support the runners. There were tonnes of people lining the roads here. When you have 30K runners, you are bound to have some famiy members or friends watching. They did their bit, a few yelling out "Go Speedy" and I'd acknowledge them with a wave or smile. Then back to the grimmacing.
10K mark.. Finish line in sight! I'd grabbed a bottle of water and tipped it over my baked head. The finish line wasn't one of those blue things after all. There were ambulances trying to get through the crowds, MCs hyping people up, cheering and clapping, people directing runners. I crossed and check my phone - 11.05. 60min on the dot. I was pretty please considering my prep and, well, it has to be said, previous loathing for running. Besides I've peppered this with loads of excuses already, do you really want more? :)
After the line, all I wanted was shade. There was one tree. London (at least this bit) is not built for sun - there are no verandahs, no masses of trees, no aircons..
There was a guy collapsed in a corner being attended to by paramedics. I walked on, desperate for shade and water. I wondered if my heart might actually stop working? I found a tiny corner behind a pillar and sat down in a pool of my own sweat and the water I was pouring on myself. I'd arranged to meet Mal in Trafalgar Square but I called her now and said I was opposite 55 Whitehall, dying and might not be there soon.
Eventually, I figured my dead legs would start to cramp if I didn't walk so I headed off. Turns out I was only a couple of hundred metres from Traf. Sq. anyway. Mal spotted me and asked if I wanted a drink.. Um.. let me think about that.. YEESS, PLEASE!!!! We headed back to the portaloo/bag area. My legs were trashed and it felt odd to walk. I kept bumping into people as I rocked side-to-side. It's now three days later and it still feels odd walking down stairs. We picked up my stuff and the finishers pack, which included a medal.. awww! :)
Sat outside EAT. and drank iced coffee watching the hordes disperse. Eventually got onto a train and headed home. Spoke to Sara after the race (she's the girl I worked with at Peregrine who I entered this race with). She'd run with a friend for an Alzheimers-related charity and they'd come in a 1h30m and sounded glad that it was over. She later told me two people had died during the race :S That might have been the marathon though? She also said something about me beating her because I was Aussie and used to the heat. Well to that I'd have to say that England has changed me. It was crazy hot out there. Maybe it was the running rather than cycling or maybe it was the amount of concrete or the direct contact with the tarmac? Whatever.. have I said it enough? It was HOT!
Spent the rest of the day on the couch with Mal, only moving to get more water and only leaving once to get pizza and Subway (yes, both!).
I'm just getting over the dehydration today..
On Monday I found out that Ian (guy from work) had done the 10k in 40:44. This was not only a great time, it meant that I'd guessed his finish time right in the charity draw he was running and so I was the winner of two tickets to see The Comedy Store Players at Shakespeares Globe. Sweet! Everyone's a winner baby that's no lie! :D
In Other News:
Set a new PB commute record for the work-to-home trip. Finally went sub-30 chasing down a roadie.
This morning had an argument with some fsckstick in a Porsche Cayenne. He cut me off, indicating 'as' he turned the corner. I avoided him and he did see me though, because he stopped before I hit his stupid car and beeped at me. I told him what I thought of his driving. I'd gone around him and he came after me. I stopped up the road turned around again and flipped him off. He said something about killing me as I delivered a not-so-subtle barrage of abuse. He took off, not turning after all. He was probably worried I was going to insert my $300 bike into his £3000 paint job.
I'd had a nice night last night though so I was totally chilled about 50m up the road. Stolly is visiting for a couple of days after flying from the States. He'll be heading off on a Contiki soon and then Thailand, Singapore and back to Melbourne. A bunch of us had dinner and brews in Walpole park.. at least until some wino decide to join our party. "Spewy" Sheila must've had one too many though as she called in sick today.. slacker!
How much more exciting is Le Tour without Lance Domination and with a nice big drug scandal knocking a stack of the top names!?!?! Schweet!!
That's enough feckin' typing for now. I spanked a (cuttin' off tosser of a) roadie on the way home (not THAT kind of spanking!) and my eyes are hanging out of my head.. did I mention the heat yet?
When the docs were fiddling with your brain, they obviously removed a bit ;-P Congrats dude on 1) getting to the start line 2) running and 3) finishing the race, despite the self-handicapping. Good Stuff Hipshtar!!
PS Basso and Ullrich have been caught up in a race rigging conspiracy for the TdF. Aliens hired by WADA have also abucted Ullrich's dog (or is it Basso's??) for testing and research....
Stu, next time you have a run in with one of those porsche "i think im better than everyone else" cayenne's, kick it for me or even better rip off one of its 500 quid mirrors, i hate those cars. And well done on finishing the race alive dude!
You spanked a tosser. That's quite a euphemism.
loony: I'm really enjoying this year's messed up Tour - so much more interesting than the last couple of years! Go the aliens!!
Tezz: Cheers mate and no worries with the mirrors - I have wide bars for a reason ya know :)
TimC: I said no jokes man, sheesh! Spank is such a cool word - been using it a bit recently. Better than cained and flogged and whipped.
Awesome RR dude! I felt like I was racing it, only slower than I would race it ;) :P
Tam: My adoring fans deserve as much of me as I can provide so I simply elected to stay on the course for as long as possible.. ;)