In Which I Get VERY Hot and VERY Sweaty
(This bit is about our trip down and what we did the day before the race. If you just want race stuff, scroll down. I don’t mind. *sigh*)
Saturday 13th July
The night before we’d dropped Indy off at Susan and Ironman Tonys house to cat sit for the weekend. Hannah has just got a kitten called Nahla, who decided to chase Indy around their house, growl at him and pretty much bully him a bit. Wouldn’t be so bad, but she’s 10 weeks old and he’s massive compared to her! They got on better by the end of the weekend though, so don’t be worrying or phoning the RSPCA or anything.
Our train left at 6:50am and at about 7:50am I went to the buffet car and got a drink and a bacon sandwich each for me and Sarah. (Because I’m a good husband.) It only took a little over three hours to get to London and it was bloody hot when we got there. Straight out of Kings Cross Station, down to the tube, bought tickets, onto the tube where is was STUPIDLY hot, off the tube, up the escalator, over the road, into the hotel, check in please! (Think I might begin a career as a travel writer.)
“Sorry Sir, you can’t check in for another three hours.”
We left our bags in a luggage room in the hotel and then made our way to Starbucks to come up with a plan. As the tube was so so sweaty, we went for a walk along the Thames to see what we could see. Over the river we could see the London Eye, but at £20 each decided not to have a go. We walked along to St. Pauls Cathedral and went for a nosy. There was a street sign (St. Pauls Walk, I think…) with a bloke posing on it, shouting to his wife.
“Use the viewfinder. Look through the viewfinder. USE THE VIEWFINDER!!”
Bet he doesn’t buy his wife a drink and a bacon sandwich.
We crossed the Millennium bridge to the south side of the river, and made our way under London Bridge (wasn’t falling down), passed the Belfast Battleship thing, passed a girl doing a sort of Kate Bush dance recital (looked like a mental) and up to Tower Bridge, which we walked across back to the north side of the river and had a shufty at the Tower of London.
We were both very hot and a little bothered by the amount of people so decided to tube it back to the hotel instead of walking. Arrived back at the hotel just before checking in time, got our room key then went to our room where Sarah managed to pull the curtain off it’s rail.
After chilling out (literally, had the air-con as cold as it’d go) we set off again in the direction of Piccadilly Circus via the tube. (I love the tube, it’s brilliant. It’s like a puzzle and transport all in one, plus you get to go underground and get on fast trains and who doesn’t like that?!)
We wandered around for a bit taking in the sights then went to Pizza Express for some food. After some lovely pizza and ice cream we walked up to the Queens theater where we had tickets to see Les Miserables. I had a beer, Sarah had a Pimms. At the interval, we both had another ice cream. Both really enjoyed the show, the actors must’ve been boiling because we were hot just sitting there watching. Afterwards Sarah bought the Les Mis CD and we made our way back to the hotel, and an earlyish night.
Sunday 14th July
Got up and got my kit ready. I was a lot less nervous about this run than I normally am, which I put down to not thinking I’d be running a PB. What with 25’000 other runners and 30 degree heat, I wasn’t going to push it. I ate a flapjack whilst we walked to the tube. (Yay, tube!)
The race was starting quite near to where we went last night, so found our way there easily. We then followed the crowd to where the entrance to the run was advertised. After going through the baggage drop (didn’t have a bag, except Sar… I didn’t have a bag.) we made our way along The Mall which ended in Buckingham palace. (The road ended before the Palace. You don’t go through it. Probably get told off if you tried.)
The crowd surged to the right, and so did we. (So does Prince Phillip) Made our way alongside the park and to the start of the race which was packed. We arranged a meet up point for afterwards, then Sarah went and sat in the park (for a nice relaxing hour or so) while I lined up. (For a nice hour or so of running and sweating.) Think I can see now who had the better idea.
Race time was scheduled to began at 9:35am but with the amount of people I didn’t expect to start til after 10. (10am, not 10 people.)
Up on a balcony was a bloke with a microphone that kept talking about stuff but I wasn’t really paying attention, I was more bothered about trying to find a place to stand in the line up that was out of the direct sunlight. He then introduced Katrina (from Katrina and the Waves, most famous for ‘Walking On Sunshine’ and ‘Love Shine A Light’ and… that’s it I think.) The music started, and Katrina started singing a song that I had never heard before, and judging by peoples reactions, NO ONE had ever heard before. I was texting Sarah while I was waiting and she text me saying she’s Googled the song from the title (Sun Street. Anyone?) and it was a Top 30 hit 30 years ago. I think it also explains why Katrina was met with utter utter silence, when halfway through the song she shouted ‘SING IT!’
“Katrina, do you fancy doing a bit of a sing song to get the crowd going?”
“Yeah! I’ve got JUST the song!”
“I think I know the one you’re gonna say, with it being as warm as it is, and seeing everyone WALKING ON the street in the SUNSHINE…!”
“That’s the one! Say it with me!”
Whispers to colleague “See if Banarama are available, will you?”
Katrina (and she waves)
Anyway, after a while of waiting the run began (Katrina sang ‘Love Shines A Light’, and then ‘Walking On Sunshine.’ I think ALL her songs have either the word ‘sun’ or ‘shine’ in them. Not checked, so don’t go telling people that.)
The race was started in waves, to ease congestion on the route, and so I didn’t get going til about 10:20. Straight down Piccadilly and passed the Ritz we went, before turning right and then left a bit. The amount of people running meant that, no matter how well it was organised, there were places where the roads weren’t wide enough for all the runners so most people (including me) had to walk in quite a few places til it thinned out.
It was hot.
Luckily there were about 3 or 4 water stations on route so didn’t have to go long before getting a drink. I tried to keep my water rationed as much as I could, then pouring what was left in the bottle over my head before the next water station, where I got a full bottle. Seemed to work quite well, as I stayed hydrated throughout the race.
Loads of people were eager to run off and over take other runners, which I fully understand, but what I don’t understand is those runners that overtake you, get in front of you, then slow to a walk RIGHT IN FRONT OF WHERE YOU ARE RUNNING. If you’re going to walk, move to the side of the road, not to in front of me. I saw about five people get tripped due to over eagerness of over taking too. Serves them right, don’t force your way through the pack, wait for an opening. You aren’t an elite. (And… breathe…)
Saw St. Pauls Cathedral and Tower Bridge (shouldn’t’ve bothered walking on to see them yesterday) and then I was on my way back to where the run began (and where Sarah was sunning herself in the park.) The crowds on the route were fantastic, there was hardly any part of it that wasn’t lined with cheering families. (Not that people without a family aren’t allowed to cheer. I’m sure they cheer just as well. Again, not researched this.)
Another water station came into view, and I was sweating enough to fill every single empty water bottle that lined the streets of London. Again, I’d made sure I’d kept a bit of water in my bottle to pour over my head before taking a bottle. I looked to the water station and it was manned (boyed?) by Scouts and Cubs, all about 9-10 years old.
AHA! Said a voice in my head. (And not just because they’d be another 80’s band better than Katrina and the Waves.)
AHA! I wonder if I can get a few boys to soak my sweaty body with water! (NEVER thought I’d think or type that. I wonder if it’ll come up in the ‘What people searched for to find my blog’ thing at some point?)
Anyway, I reached for a bottle of water with my left hand, and as I stretched I put my right arm underneath the outstretched hand and threw all the water I had left over a child that had given up his Sunday morning to help out charities and thousands of runners, with no gain for himself.
He was drenched.
Straight away, the retaliation came. He threw water at me, as did the next waterboy, and the next. It was brilliant, and cooled me down fantastically. JUST what you need in 30 degree heat. (If you were a runner at the back of the race and the water station had run out of water when you got there, blame the Scouts.)
Tate Modern passed on the other side of the river, as did the London Eye, then we went passed Big Ben and the houses of Parliament. (Where, the next day, myself and Sarah walked by. There was a loud mouth American tour guide and Sarah said we should tag along. I said he might be crap, which was then verified by someone in his group pointing at the Houses of Parliament and saying ‘Is that where the Queen lives?’ The tour guide looked up, thought for a second, then said ‘Yeah, yeah it is.’ Idiot.)
I could hear the cheers of the announcers at the end of the run. I looked to my right, and could see where it finished. Once around this round-a-bout, passed Westminster Abbey and I was done. Except, no. Once passed Westminster Abbey, down a road and back up that road, THEN round the round-a-bout and finished.
01:07:28 – My second slowest 10k yet, but as I never tried to get going because of the crowds and the heat, that was fine with me.
I got a bottle of water and a bottle of Gatorade and made my way to the baggage bays where the medals were. Sarah called me and said she was near the palace, so I told her to wait where she was and I’m make my way up. I picked up my medal and then jogged up the Mall to where she was watching the changing of the guards (or something.)
We then made our way back to where the run started and walked along the same route that I had run just over an hour before. We found a Burger King and I filled up on unhealthy post race food which tasted wonderful.
Afterwards we got back to the hotel where I showered and changed and Sarah had a nap. (Must’ve been hard work, sitting in a park.)
The afternoon was spent pretty much going around the touristy bits of London that we hadn’t seen yet, plus a beer for me and a Pimms for Sarah. She’d earned it.