Saturday 9am. Preparing to head to Liverpool and by fuck, another run!
Woke up at 9am and went out on a 3.1 mile to try to take myself up to around 35 miles for the week. The run was shit. I kept thinking about stopping all the way around but I did not.
After what seemed like a million bazillion years I got back home, packed my bag with my running shoes, Diazepam for the flight and my Camelbak and set off into Belfast to catch the airport bus to Liverpool.
Since it was St Patrick’s Day I stopped off for about 2 or 3 pints of beer in Belfast (just to calm my pre flight nerves). This worked a treat. My mood soared. After popping the Diazepam my mood soared even more and I feared no flight or plane or Sullyesque bird strike or mid air collision or sudden cabin depressurisation or soiling my seat when turbulence got anything past rocky.
45 minutes later I was in Liverpool, checked into my hotel, had a plate of Nachos and a glass of red wine. I managed to knock my hand into the glass and I drenched my Nachos. I let out a resigned ‘aww fuck.’ and left hurriedly to catch the bus into Liverpool City Centre.
Being slightly stoned and sloshed, I boarded the wrong bus and ended up on a 90 minute detour around Merseyside. I found this amusing. I would have found anything amusing because of the state I was in.
So eventually I got to Liverpool and was fucking starving. Like seriously fucking starving. So I went into Wetherspoons to try to score myself some more Nachos but since Liverpudlians are mad for St Patricks Day, there was not a seat to be had in the place.
I settled instead for a Big Mac that I took out and devoured on Mathew Street. An excellent burger in a great locale. I was not content with one Big Mac. I re-joined the queue and angled myself away from the cashier who’d served me 10 minutes ago. It did not work. In all my shame I asked for the same item again. And went out with it. And ate it on Mathew Street again.
Some fellow approached me as I was standing there munching away and asked “You alright fella, you look a bit lost?’. I asked him where the airport was. He did not know where the airport was. We parted ways and I went into the Remeniss 90′s bar and downed several Guinness’s and Jagerbombs. I was starting to feel lively again. A little too lively.
I knew that if I continued on in this vein running the half marathon in the morning would be next to impossible. I did the right thing and asked someone sane looking for directions to the airport. Since there is no such thing as a sane person in Liverpool, I asked the first person I could see that did not have blood stains on their face.
It took several attempts (and Kit Kat Chunky’s) to get sense out of anyone. But I got back to the hotel in one piece.
Home Sweet Home And Some Excellent Cuisine!
I got the 500 Arriva Bus back to the Airport, walked to the Hotel and then entered the Restaurant. I scoured the Menu for something tasty and eventually settled on the ‘Pub Platter’ and a glass of Chardonnay. Excellent stuff.
I think I might have had another glass of Chardonnay and then I went to bed.
The Liverpool Half Marathon Gets UNDERWAY!!!
I woke up at 4am with a banging headache.
Not again, thought I.
I tried to amuse myself with some awful early 90′s punk techno and it seemed to do the trick. I also started downing some Blue Bear Stimultation Drink to try to boost my mood.
By 8am I was feeling great and caught the bus into town. The good thing about half marathons in big UK cities is that you always know where the start line is by the sheer volume of runners walking together in one direction.
[Insert some cheesy motivational bollocks about how runners are all going in one direction in life.]
I was starting to panic as I had shitloads of spare change in the back pockets of my Camelbak. I tried to dispense with the excess coinage by buying a Bacon Butty and 3 of those awful conjealed Super Health Bar supplements that make you shit fast and taste like the Devil’s arse.
I was still left with too many coins for comfort. I thought about throwing my coins into the Mersey but for some reason I was being paranoid about being arrested for littering. I kept my chin up and tried to find the starting line. I located it with about 10 minutes to go before the start.
Now the worst thing about these types of races is the waiting around at the back. You have to stand there for about 30 minutes whilst all of the fast, skinny types are released. Then you start to walk towards the finish line. Then you stop. And start again. And stop. It becomes so frustrating and tedious that the tension radiates through every cell of your body until it all hits your bowels.
For some reason I always think I’m going to shit myself at the starting line. It’s harrowing. I strut up and down, trying to make myself look normal but it only works so much. I even tried some meditative breathing but it was useless. The only thing that stopped the bad thoughts of shitting myself was Mr Kriss Akabusi. He was shouting over the P.A. This warmed my heart. I could not understand a word he was saying but this didn’t seem to matter.
My worry was no longer about shitting myself, but about pissing myself.
A British Institution.
Now onto the race itself.
It was alright. We went through Sefton Park which was lovely. I kept a steady pace all the way and gradually increased it as I went along. The excess change in my back pockets was making a jingle jangle noise for 13.1 fucking miles, much to the amusement of everyone around me.
Jingle, jangle I went. Jingle jangle. Jingle jangle. This is what I heard from passers by.
‘Spare change, mate?’
‘What’s that rattling, is someone on a sleigh, no, IT’S HIM! He’s got a lot of change!’
‘You have a lot of change there mate’
‘Spare change, mate?’
This went on and on. I was feeling ever more dysphoric. It got so bad that I felt like belting out my killer rendition of The Ronettes’ ‘Be My Baby’ whilst fucking 20p coins at the feet of my competitors.
Inverse busking whilst on the move. ‘Suck on that unholy teat, Liverpool!’ I scoffed inaudibly to no-one.
Fortunately at the 10 mile mark I hit the wall, as did most of the other people around me. So all of the smart arse comments stopped and a lot of wheezing began. The last 5k was spent running back into Liverpool via Otterpool and by this stage the day was totally glorious.
I however felt like shit.
I got to 12.7 miles and could hear the P.A. guy bellowing like a mad man. I thought of Kris Akabusi, my dad, Wetherspoons Nachos, a pint of cider and FINISHING WITHOUT DYING but not all in that order.
And I did it in 2:12, it wasn’t a personal best but it was an enjoyable experience.
I lapsed into a coma for about 12 minutes, before scuttling around Merseyside like a paraplegic crab with a perforated hole.
I had my first after race pint in the Pump House Liverpool. I scrabbled for the coinage that had been hassling me for so long, counted out enough for a pint of Aspall Cider and downed it in one, much to the horror of the woman behind the bar.
Down the hatch as they say. It was terrific.
What wasn’t terrific was the realization that I was stranded in Liverpool City Centre, with no fucking clue of where to go. So in times of crises I did what I do best.
I wandered aimlessly until I found a Greggs.
I had a Pepperoni Pizza Slice. I took two bites of it, nearly vomited, threw it in the bin and headed to Wetherspoons for some Abbott Ale. Then to Yates for a Coke and a Gin. I eventually found a taxi back to the hotel, dropped the remainder of my Valium tablets and had a wonderful flight back home.
Here is the medal with a man, disorientated.
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