Some might call these "pre-race musings", others would call them "brain farts". Whatever they are here are some things that I am looking forward to this weekend.
The Greeting Desk
You'll be greeted at the Travelodge reception by a lovely smiling face who will ask "are you here for the big long walk?"
You frown and feel compelled to correct her and say "its actually a run".
She shrugs and says "suit yourself then, but be careful on those stairs - its on the 17th floor and the lifts are broke"
The Gas Street Goodbye
Gas Street at 5am in the morning kind of looks like a reverse university goodbye scene. Men and Women in their 40s and 50s are getting told by guys in their 20s "good luck" and "keep in touch" and "keep an eye on your drinking and try not to wake up in random places"
They do worry too much, it's time for those old people to go into the big wide world and try and stand on their own two feet. For days.
The mile markers start at 44 miles. So all you need to do is add 44 to the mile marker you are on. Easy. Apart from when it goes over 100, then its impossible. You celebrate the 100 and then a mile on you add 44 to 57 and get 91! Shit! I've just run 9 miles backwards. CALL RACE HQ!! I'VE GONE HORRIBLY WRONG!
Overtaking a boat
Yeah! Look at me, booming along at more than 4 miles per hour.
Optimising my pitch
You'll pass a lot of people on the canal who would like to know what you are doing.
Early on you are full of beans and happy to bang on but only have a 3 second window to explain. You say really fast "Yeah We're all running from Birmingham to London along the canal, hope to finish tomorrow sometime, no I won't sleep, nope not for charity, about 100 people, no I'm not a pro. Yeah crazy LOL"
later on when you've slowed a bit you have less to say but more time to say in. Now you want to bring others into your world of pain by saying something like "Been running for 14 hours, still got 80 miles left. Will probably drown".
And then towards the end you are lying down in the grass while someone disturbs you on their Sunday stroll. You have all the time in the world but all you can muster to break the silence is "Doing....running......fuck"
There are two types of people who run the GUCR, those who thinks it's a good idea to stop for a picnic at Navigation Bridge and those that finish. forgive me please super marshals if I politely decline your kind offer of tea and a biscuit as I know form experience that is comes with an added side of coma.
This situation happens to me a lot. You chat to a guy for ages. You know all about his job, his wife, his running history, his dental appointments. You separate for some reason and during that time you put on a jacket and he puts on a hat. Then you cross each other again and start the chatting from scratch. "Hi, how are you? What do you do? Have you done this race before? When's your next scrape and polish?"
You both know it but neither of you want to deal with the elephant in the room that you've already been talking to each other for two hours and that it was boring the first time.
Speaking of Elephants...
Many hallucinations have been recorded in this race. Elephants and football teams. I have seen the canal turn into a canyon at night as the light reflects off the water and makes the drop look infinite. I've seen plants turn to gnomes and I've seen industrial buildings turn into those spaceships from war of the worlds. I swear one time I heard a guy tell me to fuck off out of his checkpoint.
Wearing my number on my front at ALL times
Thinking I've got really bad breath
But then realising that people keep turning their heads because I am blinding them with my headlamp
More of an event for the supporters, spring well locks has a car park, full of cars, at 3am.
You can play games guessing which cars are playing what roles. I bet the guy in the Audi is a wanker. I bet the guy in the fiesta is a wanker too.
And its funny when they drive away, they had no idea you were there as they quickly scuttle off. Not so quick is the guy on a bike, with a pump in his hand.
The Left turn
This is the most singular moment in any race I have ever done. After 132 miles you turn left and you are pointing at London.
At this point your brain will just float out of your body and head to little Venice, its work is done. The body will follow, like a zombie.
Mont Ladbroke Grove
143 miles there is a MASSIVE hill, at least 3 meters of vert. It is literally the HARDEST EVER HILL IN A RACE EVER
Kicking a gooses face off
I really hope it won't come to this, but I am now on series four of Breaking Bad and if its me or it then I won't hesitate
Having contempt for the Sunday joggers
Oh look at me! Smiling and jogging along at more than 4 miles an hour. Might have a latte when I'm done and then go meet Sophie for brunch. LA la la la da da la la la.
Its little wonder so many dead bodies end up on the canal.
Getting overtaken by a boat
Bastards. I wish I had a harpoon
Seeing the BT tower and thinking "I don't have to run that far"
Still a bloody long way though
Having my head pulled sharply towards the ground by a pretty massive huge medal.
The trick is to try and drink a whole pint of Guinness before falling asleep. Not managed that yet.