Yet another week of ice lolly based diet (those pesky fruit pastille lollies are a major downfall at the moment…..oh, and the revels…………….lets faceit , just junk food) and no exercise this week.
My sister was on her taper week, ready and raring to go for her first formal 10k. She looked scarily prepared! She had food, maps, a spare sat nav, post codes, running clothes, smart travel clothes, race information and even spare cable ties. Oh, and a comprehensive weather forecast.
I came with ………………a bag of clothes and the knowledge Kerry would get me to where I needed to be at any point in plenty of time and perfectly prepared. That is why I was running back to my house at 7am to get a raincoat. Sunday was definitely going to rain. Kerry had been secretly praying for rain all week to practise her running in as she had managed to avoid this condition so far and wanted to make sure she was prepared. To be honest, she was that enthusiastic and single minded that I would have followed her up the road spraying her with the hose if she had asked me. Fortunately she didn’t.
Anyway, I had had a bad nights sleep as, ever prepared, I started trying to check in online at 9pm the night before I had to get up at 6am to pack and meet Kerry and Paul. I tried for about 3 hours, phoned the helpline (only open between 8 and 6pm!), re booted my computer (twice) and tried a variety of entry routes onto the flybe website.
Turned out the site was down so after a restless and worried night – how to explain to Kerry that the only job I had was one I had left until 10 hours before leaving, thinking what if we couldn’t board, what if we were late, what if I cant sleep (found that one out!) and eventually pretty much only dozed until the alarm went off unreasonably early!
My brother in law kindly took us to the airport and we arrived in plenty of time to look round the one duty free shop and buy some ridiculously priced water.
I fell asleep on the flight and only managed to wake up as the wheels hit the ground (don’t worry – they were still attached to the plane – we were landing safely)
We went to pick up our hire car and I jokingly asked if they had anything bigger. I therefore got an automatic, giant sized (exaggeration) Peugeot. My sat nav spent some time confused and tried to get us to our Belfast accommodation via the toll charging Severn bridge and a ferry journey (estimated time for the actually only 15 minute journey = 17 hours and 27 minutes) We got this sorted out and I managed to drive relatively safely to the All Seasons Bed and Breakfast for the 4th and final time – it was lush as always and Theodore gave us a small discount to help with funding the charity challenge which was lovely
Kerry and I went to the Bobbin Café and ate Irish Stew (her) and soup of the day (me) with amazingly lush wheaten bread. It was hot (the weather and the food)
We went on an open top bus tour of Belfast and enjoyed a fabulously interesting historical hour and a half. We felt humbled by the history of the troubles and by the privilege of being allowed a glimpse of the murals and the story they told – we both agreed to feeling a little uncomfortable at the feeling of almost “prying” into peoples private lives but appreciated being allowed the opportunity to experience a really moving journey.
We were a touch sombre at the end of the trip as we walked around the city centre and then we came upon a group of amazing musicians playing sax, violin and trumpet and creating haunting and beautiful renditions of classic songs.
We made our way slowly back to the bed and breakfast making a stop to buy supplies for a small evening carpet picnic. We bought Marks and Spencer essentially. Kerry with her protein and carb balanced pre race food and me with 12 cheese and onion sausage roll things and around 25 mini plum tomatoes. Think I am going wrong somethere! We had a great time just watching TV and chilling. It was hot.
Have I said it was hot? I am just remarking on this as my very own mobile travel forcaster had encouraged me to be prepared and bring a raincoat. Just saying.
The next morning, in true Kerry and Dee style we set off around 72 hours early. Not really – we were early and would have been earlier except my fone had not charged so I had to wait for it for my runkeeper to work. We got to Newry in plenty of time to get lost, have a very controlled panic, find the registration tent (bizarrely located after a drive over an open field with no other cars and that definitely did not look like a parking venue (which it apparently was), and visit the toilet (twice), stretch, relax, stretch and relax again.
We met the most awesome people!!! It was a ladies only run of around 300 people and they were the most lovely people. We met an awesome lady who is going to try and advertise Luca’s cause for us which is amazing.
We got on the bus to be taken to the formal start – last bus leaves at 11.15. Well first bus still hadn’t left at 11.40. I needed the loo again and Kerry hadn’t done her warm up. I marvelled at our calm panic!
We set off and we were dropped at the start. It was literally in the middle of nowhere. 5 coaches spilled 300 girls onto a random country road outside someone’s house!!! We started when I think the man said go but I couldn’t really be sure. I still needed the loo and …. did I mention the weather? it was hot.
I had factor 50, hat, sunglasses and no layers on. Not a raincoat in sight!
Before I ran I knew Kerry was a good runner. Like I have said before – I am great at spotting talent in others – not so good at having any myself!! Anyway, it was obvious she had prepared perfectly and I honestly felt she would do a sub hour first 10k. Me on the other hand? Well, calf still painful (unknown origin), energy still low (? ice lolly, overtime, lack of sleep related) and a stubborn mutiny by my legs that said even if my mind was going fast (dubious point) they were only going to do my normal plodding pace and even that would be lucky. To be fair, my lungs were not even in the argument – they gave up the ghost at around 0.7k.
To be honest Luca, my attitude to running with my sister for the first time and also completing my 50th run for you pretty much was as negative as it could be. I feel very ashamed that I could not raise my game for that special race especially as I reckon Kerry would have paced me to an under hour 10k. Anyway, as you know, I take negative self talk to a whole new level, and that is where I stayed.
After much much persuasion, I managed to get Kerry to run on ahead to get her best time. I practically had to walk to make her realise I was not going to let her ruin her race for me. She had promised to run every step with me and genuinely would have done so. I however wanted the pride of being able to say she had had a fab first race. She only agreed to go ahead on the deal that she would then run back to meet me to go over the line together as I finished. This she did and it was fab! I wont describe the run – it was rubbish on my behalf – a shame as the surroundings were absolutely stunning!
Did I mention it was hot? No sign of needing a raincoat 24 hours into the 36 hr journey….just saying….again…
We finished the run together and got sidetracked into looking at sports bras – don’t ask! This ended up with us trying every bra on the stand, cramped together behind a makeshift curtain, trying to dry off and change and keep the lovely new clothing as clean as possible. We took our time. We laughed. We tried on. We tried on again. We laughed again. We tried on again. Twice. We came out to buy the bras and discovered a queue of people waiting for the one “changing room” we had occupied in a leisurely manner for the previous half hour! We slunk off apologetically with our new purchases in tow.
We drove to the airport. It was hot. We got within site of the return car place and IT RAINED!!! I celebrated by getting out my raincoat when we parked and yep, the rain stopped.
We sat on the floor in the middle of departures eating a loaf of wheaten bread, spooning on melted butter (it had been very hot) and then smoothing it on with the same spoon (no other cutlery). We must have looked odd – we seemed to get stared at a lot. No idea why.
We got on the plane home and were picked up by my brother in law. I did a quick unpack and went to bed ready for a new working week. What a fab weekend in fab company -thank you Kerry xxx