So, on Sunday night, I trundled myself down to Deal. This took a great deal of time (ha ha, ho ho, oh, I’m such a wit…). I finally got to the train station at gone 9pm. Found the taxi office, which was warm, dry, and had a shagpile carpet with something alive in it, and got a taxi to the hotel.
The hotel was wonderful. There were two lovely runners from Ealing, Laura and Lyndsey there – and I managed to arrange to share a taxi with them the next morning before crashing into the bedroom, and into the bed. The room was clean, and lovely, the bed comfy, the bathroom with a shower (I didn’t bother – if there’d been a bath, I would have had a bath, knowing that after Tuesday, there wouldn’t be a chance for a bath until the stitches had healed somewhat), the room was warm, but right above the bar, so not very quiet until last orders. Still. It did the trick in every other aspect, and I’d love to stay there longer.
Monday, I was not in the mood for food (too full of pasta and late night cheesecake from the Gluten Free Bakery in Islington – I’d got takeaway. It was insanely good) – a bit of a mistake by the time I’d got to the race, but I disposed of half my porridge, drank coffee, managed to get everything packed into one suitcase and got myself down to the taxi with plenty of time to spare for checkout.
It was grey. Cool. Grim. Damp. But, being a Cakeathon, there was *so*much*cake*. We rocked up, managed to get in the queue just before a whole hen party from Tring Running Club (all in purple with tutus, including the chaps: very jolly), got our numbers and tags to be punched on each lap, and admire the cake. So. Much. Cake.
Then a trip to the loos (it really was a bit of a trek: the choice being the loos in the visitors centre or a bush – these are lovely small races, but they don’t have the budget for portaloos), a quick defrost in the visitors centre, back to the start for the briefing…and off.
I love this sort of race. Friendly. Relaxed. No massive pace. A nice out-and-back (with loop), which meant that for most of the race, you were waving at people going in the opposite direction, and, for the rest of the race, there was some lovely peace and quiet and solitude across the top of the loop. Just what I wanted. No marshalls, but you’re back at the aid station every lap – and you’d never be more than 2 miles away from it (and everyone is just so friendly that, if there were a problem, you’d get help pretty quickly from another runner).
I rather wished I’d brought N – by my third lap, I’d twigged that not only was there a decent road cycling loop, but also some mountain bike trails marked “challenging”. He’d have loved it. As it was, he made the penultimate trips to the storage locker. We nearly have all our things in our house now. Nearly.
Anyhow, on my way out on my third lap, fuelled with a handful of jelly babies (I can carry 10 at a time, it seems), I bumped into Maria, which was lovely! And I have a photo of her ringing the bell at the end of her race!
Because, at the end, you get your card punched – and ring the bell to signal that you’ve finished, and you’d like your time recorded. My third lap was very leisurely – I walked the hills, took pictures of people who were trying to take selfies in front of sign posts, and enjoyed squashing some slugs…because someone on the radio suggested going slug hunting this weekend. Apparently there’s more than normal because they didn’t hibernate over the winter, and they’re bigger than they would be, because they’ve been getting jiggy with it early in the season. What with all the socialising, meandering to the aid station, squashing slugs etc, I spent 2:09:01 doing the race (I had up to 6 hours), of which the Garmin reckoned 2:02 was spent moving. I considered a fourth lap, but decided I’d had about enough fun. Also, there was cake.
Finished off, got cake, got my wonderful medal, and goodie bag, had a cuppa tea in the visitors centre, mentally thanked Anna for bringing the race to everyone’s attention, and then worked out how to get to Deal station. Initially I thought I’d walk the three miles, but after 13 miles run the day after a day’s dancing, and with a suitcase, and it was cold and damp and windy, and there was no pavement on the A-whateveritis, I walked to the roundabout, thanked God for a phone signal suddenly appearing, and called a taxi. Fell asleep on the train in my stinky gear, failed to refuel remotely adequately until suppertime, and checked into the Travelodge in Euston ready for the disgustingly early start for Surgery on Tuesday. N joined me for supper (hurrah!) and to be able to look after me after the General Anaesthetic.
The Travelodge didn’t have a bath either. Rotten thing. I managed to get ketchup on the sheets after a late night trip to Burger King for chips. Revenge is tomato flavoured.