On the flip side of my not so enjoyable half marathon in Manchester we have the events that surrounded it. Here are my highlights ! (sorry, its a bit long)
No parkrun! I had arranged to park run with Lizzie on Saturday morning but she woke up with a toothache and couldn’t run. To be totally honest I was quite pleased at the thought of a lie in with the lovely one and pulled the duvet back over my head. I hauled myself reluctantly out of bed at 9am intending to get ready and dressed in time for beginners at 10am.
Post beginners coffee was as normal and then home to shower & change with plans to leave the house at 13:15, be at the station for 13:30 meet Annette at 13.40 to catch the 13.50 train.
Why ask for directions then not listen? Rob refused to let me drive, but despite living in MK for nearly 6 years he is incapable of getting himself from a-b without a Sat Nag so decided he wanted directions, and then promptly chose not to listen to the directions he was given! We ended up going through cmk…. Every single traffic light was against us, he hasn’t a clue where he is going, his lane discipline is appalling and he almost takes out Annettes’ other half at a roundabout (luckily we are incognito in Robs’ car so no one will know)
Just get on the fucking train …. I arrived at 13:35 to see Annette wandering off into the distance? Where The Fuck is she off too? I kissed the lovely one goodbye and hopped out of the car to track her down. “I’m just going into costa for a coffee” she says…. I look in horror at my watch, then at her, then back at my watch ” it’s fine” she says, “there’s no queue” as I stand practically hyperventilating at the doorway watching the seconds tick by. Its 13:40 before we even enter the station and we still have to get to the platform. We arrive with just 7 minutes to spare before the train pulls in. “Lottey were in carriage B, walk along the platform” Annette says, I look at her in horror (there is a pattern forming already) then at my watch, then at the train door I am stood right next too, I concede and walk along the platform, past door after door, carriage after carriage, time whizzing by on my watch, still more doors.
Its no good…. I can’t do it any more
I shoot into the next open door and heave a huge sigh of relief. I’m on the train! Annette is muttering behind me about having to walk through the carriages, but there’s only about 4 more to go, so I don’t really know what the issue is, we are on the train. Out of the two of us, one has a history of being left on the platform holding their coffee and the other one doesn’t. I will leave it to you to decide which one of us it is.
Turn your music off …… There is a man fast asleep on the opposite side of the table to us with his ipad open and some film or TV programme on, no head phones, (how rude) bloody thing is blaring, Annette comments that she can hear music, I nod at the bloke opposite and whisper, its him. The music carries on, Annette comments again, “are you sure its not you” she says, “nope” I reply confidently, “definitely not me, I have no music on my iphone and headphones plugged into my ipad, and anyway I was watching a film on my ipad last, it cant be me!” Annette shrugs and looks out the window. About 10 minutes later she whines again about this music, that everyone can hear and no one can pinpoint ” it must be the train” I say, “coming out of that speaker up there”
” are you sure its not you”, she says “its coming from over there somewhere she says”, pointing in my direction. I pick up my ipad to prove its not me, and feel my headphones vibrating, and the music blaring !
“oh… sorry, it is me” I say, totally embarrassed (still with no clue how I managed to turn on the music on my ipad)
Road crossings… Why push the button at a pelican crossing if you are not prepared to wait for the green man? I mean seriously, what’s the point, if you want to be impatient and play tag with the cars, don’t push the fucking button.
We made our way to Paiges’ place of work, this included crossing roads, where the button had either been pushed or we pushed it (usually I pushed it) only to find two seconds later that I am stood this side of the road and Annette has seen a gap and legged it leaving me waiting for the little green man to show himself.
More games of “push the button and beat the little red man” later we arrive at the tram station, sorted tickets and studied the tram map. Tram arrives and I am allowed to get into the door right in front of me (hoorah) . Annette wanders off down the carriage way ? I look at her in horror, what’s wrong with these seats here, right by the door? or even better, you sit there and I’ll stand here right by the door?
Know your stop – I check the map and count the stops then count each stop as it passes. I position myself by the door when we leave the stop before MY stop. It pays to be ready to get off, just in case the tram goes and your still faffing about with your baggage.
Destination reached, I might possibly have been first off the tram, another couple of roads to cross, Annette by now is standing the other side of each road looking at me like I’m a lost cause. It matters not one bit that the road was completely empty with not a car in sight for miles. If you push the button (or if someone else has pushed the button) you have to wait.
Hotel found, We check in, (separate rooms) I think Annette by now is praying for Gin, I have a cup of tea and thirty minutes later we are off out the door again to meet up with Paige.
Another tram, these weekend tickets are a bargain. AND I’m allowed to sit by the door (She’s learning) I count the stops back to Piccadilly gardens, and we re-trace our steps to Paiges work, Paige has dinner all sorted, and throws in a guided tour of Manchester, we were shown “its a canal” and “this is where we are thinking of living” and even the “gay” village, where; (possibly because its Eurovision night) all the transvestites are out in force, I have absolutely no issue with men wearing dresses and high heels, but how the fuck do they manage to walk in 6 inch stiletto’s on cobble stones without falling over?
11 miles I walked on Saturday – only 3 of which were in Milton Keynes, my poor feet were killing me !
Sunday Morning, race day
Accidental PRPs… I’m not usually bothered about PRPs if I am honest, I have a “pseudo” wee issue but I’m pretty good at managing that, Annette on the other hand had not managed a PRP and mentioned it at every given opportunity during our journey back into Manchester for the run. We went to bag drop, wandered through the event village ( with Annette still muttering about PRPs) and finally found some portaloos with no queue. Annette decided to take the plunge so to speak, so I thought I would have a quick wee while I was there. I went to the loos at the opposite end of the row to Annette and had my little pseudo wee, felt a bit windy and decided “rather out than in” – bloody good job I still had my pants down, I actually had an unexpected PRP, never done that before, how exciting, (where’s the fucking loo roll) god I hope no one heard it. Not only was it an unexpected and accidental PRP, those portaloos are not the greatest flushers, appearing to work on “weight” not quality, so I’m literally picking up anything I can find to drop into the pan to make the bastard thing disappear while trying not to choke on my own fumes.
A short walk later we found a massive queue for 4 solitary toilets and decided to inform the waiting runners of the empties round the corner ( I didn’t tell them they would need a gas mask to use them)
My nephew Tom.. while waiting for the start, I saw my nephew, it wasn’t a massive surprise to see him there, I knew he was running, and I knew we were in the same wave, but it was a surprise that we found each other so easily in a crown of about 5,000 people. He’s bloody tall, I thought my son was tall, but Tom towers over me and I’m not short. It was really nice to see him enjoying his first half marathon, not just enduring it, he actually really seemed to be getting a buzz out of it, I am rather jealous, but you know what, it is lovely to see him smiling and proud of his achievement. I am glad I got to share a part of that day with him.
Can I trip him up? We met up with Annettes’ friend called Steve. You know sometimes you just look at people and wonder HOW? Well he is one of those. He is also now on my “he needs tripping up list”
Very pleasant chap, don’t get me wrong, but also one of those fuckers that make you want to scream at the injustices of life. He mentioned that he had done 7 miles as his longest training run (yes, Annette and I did give each other a look) he also claimed he had done an 11 mile training walk, but admitted later it was because he had been thrown out a taxi and that’s how far he was from home. He had a plastic mac on and when I asked what he would do with it when he got hot, his reply was “ tie it round my waist”, he had no running watch, no water, no gels, seemingly no clue !!!!
He thought he would finish in about 3 ish hours… bastard did it in 2 and a half, and appeared not to struggle at all.
McDonalds Thick Shake.. the food of long runs! generally after a long run I feel dreadful, sick, dizzy, generally not well at all. The resolution to this, I have found is a McDonalds thick shake, preferably chocolate flavour but failing that vanilla. A few minutes after I crossed the finish line a vision of beauty met my eyes (no, I didn’t see Annette for a few minutes, I think she was cheering me over the line but I didn’t actually see her or hear her, but then I didn’t see or hear anyone) Toms partner ( is he still young enough to call her a girlfriend?) waved a thick shake under my nose, I could have kissed her. I have no idea who’s idea it was, or who walked to go and get it, but OH MY was I grateful. Almost the highlight of my day and definitely the highlight of the run.
Bag drop bags…. I don’t have a very good history with bag drop bags! mainly because the bag drop buses are far to far away to contemplate going back to collect my bag after the run and they have huge steps and they don’t like people collecting other peoples bags, totally reasonable I suppose except when I have just run a half marathon the last thing I am is reasonable. The lovely Annette has already been all the way back to bag drop and collected her bag, I am seriously contemplating leaving my bag there, but it’s got my Redway hoodie In and I’m cold. Annette volunteers to walk all the way back to bag drop for a second time, with my number, to collect my bag, (that’s definitely love) while I sat on my arse on a chair outside Starbucks chatting with Tom and Lottie and drinking my thick shake.
Event villages are expensive and involve walking… I eventually plucked up the courage to move, we were heading back to our hotel to get the bags we left there, via the event village where I bought a top and Annette didn’t buy trainers. Paige was again in charge of directions and off she shot like a rocket, me hobbling along behind and Annette pretending to also be struggling (I did laugh)
Don’t push the button….. I worked out how I could get over the roads without Annette and Paige laughing at me (or losing the will to live), just don’t push the button, if the red man isn’t showing it’s ok to cross right ?! So I went a bit maverick and crossed the 3 roads between the tram station and the hotel, and the hotel and the restaurant without pushing the button. That was pretty liberating !
Have I missed anything? Probably!!
Well, definitely one thing, the one thing Annette was least happy about, personally I think its perfectly reasonable to be “ready to get off the train” as you approach your stop, and to use the lift up to the concourse…. unfortunately Annette didn’t!
These really are just the edited highlights of a couple of days in Manchester, Poor Annette aged about 20 years, and has probably applied to defer her GNR place already. I had a lovely time, I walked (and ran) over 31 miles in 2 days, I had some wonderful company and some great conversation, however I think once the word gets out about me and public transport, I’ll be banished to travelling alone forever !