A Less Serious Review Of My Great North Run 2012 Weekend.
Setting Out For The Great North Run
I set out for Newcastle at 5:30pm on Friday from George Best City Airport and in memory of the man himself I had a wine or two with my panini to ease fears of fiery death at 18,000 feet.
Before the flight there were more pressing matters on my mind. I had to go to the bathroom for a shit and found myself in the ‘there is no toilet paper in this cubicle and my pants are down’ scenario.
Since I’m now a seasoned pro with public pooing problems, I kept my calm, checked that no-one else was stirring around outside and shimmied into the next cubicle with all the grace of a drunken donkey roaring up the North face of Eiger.
After an extremely smooth flight I was met in Newcastle by Paul and Ammel who laid on a feast fit for a foul mouthed Northerner. Cheestrings Spaghetti and Leffe.
That night we hit the town for some more drinks and fun and ended up in a nightclub where I proceeded to make an utter dick of myself by pogoing around to Blondie, Nirvana and the Verve. We hit Best New Kebab for a quick Doner and hailed a cab back afterwards.
Paying For My Crimes
My next memory was waking up on Saturday morning with a serious bout of nausea. I couldn’t move my neck properly either.
It turns out that head banging to ‘Hanging On The Telephone’ is really fucking bad for your posture.
I had mental images of running the Great North Run 2012 with a doggy neck brace around my head.
The trip back into Newcastle for lunch that day was not pretty. I had to keep my head down against the seat in front to stop thoughts of vomit and death entering my head.
We decided to head to TGI Fridays for Nachos and ordered an Ultimate Strawberry Dacquirri each. I could not even get started on my food. The thought of eating anything made me sick. It took me 20 minutes to eat 2 jalepenos. The second pepper nearly killed me. I burped and felt a surge from my stomach and knew what was about to happen.
Thankfully the bile remained inside. I spent the next half hour picking at my food and looking across the table at Paul like a special needs Graham Coxon.
From TGI’s we headed to this excellent bar in the town centre that sells expensive strawberry beer and has a litte wizard man behind the bar who looks like the spiritual brother/lover of Bill Bailey.
Race Day Finally Arrives After 12 Hours Of Sleep And TV.
Morning came following a sleepless night. I had a breakfast of Cheestrings and Relentless Orange. The sweat was dropping off me onto the floor as I was getting ready I was that worked up. Nothing dents your confidence ahead of a half marathon like watching the sweat roll off your head like rain!
My biggest mistake was not trying on the chip and not buying safety pins for my race number the night before. Race days are always frantic and I tend to underestimate the time it takes to secure everything necessary to my body and to get to the starting line in one piece.
And Now For The Mental Hangover..
It’s been well over 24 hours and I’m still disappointed about not recording a time. I ran the 13.1 miles but according to the system I did not finish. I know it’s my fault for not securing the chip properly, but it doesn’t stop the frustration.
It was so fucking frustrating to see the chip come off my foot after my first step forward, only to be immediately trampled over by about 10 runners. I glanced back and seen another 1,000 odd behind me and I didn’t fancy becoming a statistic so I made the best of a bad situation.
Still, A Good Experience!
Saying that, it was amazing to see so many runners out raising money for good causes. There is a real sense of togetherness in the Great North Run that isn’t there in similar races.
Pace wise I averaged around a 10 minute mile over the run. I think I could have went on for a personal best but spent far too much mental energy trying to stop myself from freaking out and running topless to an ice cream van for a Yorkie after my race number made another lunge for freedom from my shirt.
During the later stages the crowds were unbearable. It is incredibly demoralising when you have to weave your way in and out of the path of runners. Focus and flow both become impossible. You just have to do what you can to keep your cool and stay on your feet.
I got pretty angry at the people who sprinted in front of me only to fucking stop inexplicably 5 foot ahead of me. If they had any courtesy they’d have attached a set of indicator lights to their arse and I’d at least have been able to slow down without nearly ending up in the back of them.
On a more positive note, for the first time this year I didn’t hit the wall during a half marathon. Sure, I felt like shit at mile 11 when the number was flapping with the wind and I was having to grip it onto my chest to stop disqualification, but I was never seriously thinking about stopping.
After I had finished the run I went to the Cancer Research UK tent and collapsed on the ground. Several volunteers came up to ask if I was OK.
I told them that it was my post-race ritual to collapse and to just stare upwards. I lay there for about 20 minutes until a dog came up to me and started sniffing at me. I bolted upright as I was unwilling to risk rabies for the sake of a power nap.
Getting the train back from South Shields into Newcastle was an absolute nightmare. The Metro was unbearably warm and and our carriage was overrun by a Geordie couple who let their offspring run free and wild throughout the train.
They were that annoying that walking it back into Newcastle seemed appealing as the kids made it their duty to bump into and irritate as many people as possible.
I think I’ll do the Great North Run next year if I can get through the ballot. The atmosphere at the beginning and the end of the event more than make up for the overcrowding in the middle section.
But in 2013 I’ll be glueing the fucking chip to my shoe just in case it tries to go walkies.
Oh and if you have some spare cash and you’d like to make me a Happy Jogger for once, you can still sponsor me for my 3 half marathons in 3 weeks bonanza in aid of Cancer Research UK. Thank you!