I just bought a one way train ticket to Birmingham. It will be a great souvenir if I finish this race. I'm a bit worried about having to explain at Birmingham station why I want to keep the ticket.
This brought back memories of my first ever "long" run that changed my running world forever. It was december in 2005 and I was in training for my first ultra (Tring). It was a saturday before the Serpentine christmas ball and I just wanted to do a long run. The intention was to run along the Bath road and see how far I get in 5 hours. In about 5 and a half hours I got to Reading.
It was 36 miles of fairly uninspiring locations. Hounslow, Heathrow, Colnbrooke Bypass, M25, Slough, Maidenhead some random villages along an A road and then into Reading via the east. If you were going to pick a nice run you'd be hard pushed to do worse that that. However the whole experience was exhilirating. I just left the house with a few supplies, stopped in shops and petrol stations along the way and arrived in a place that was miles away from where I started. I was amazed at how I could cover that distance on foot without really trying. The harsh looking industrial side of Reading looked like a palace when I arrived there.
I'll never forget going to the train station and buying a ticket back home. I'd deliberately ran near a railway line so I could turn back home at any point. I paid £15 for a ticket back to Ealing. I'd run so far that it was outside all the London zones, outside the M25 and far enough that I had to pay a proper train fare to get back. I was glowing on the train. No one else knew. It was great.
I got back to the house with about an hour to get ready for the party. Since I'm a bloke thats time enough. I put on my penguin suit and walked to the tube and still felt in pretty good shape. I enjoyed telling people that night what I did (partially as an excuse for not being able to handle my beer that night) but mainly because I was so pleased with myself. people were genuinely impressed, except the girl who was impressed at first when I said I ran to Reading by saying "WOW that's really far" and I sarcastically returned "It depends where you start".
I still have that ticket from Reading in my box on medals and running numbers. I hope the Birmingham one will make it's way in there is 6 days time. I won't keep it if I don't finish.