I was restless and could sleep. I had slept all day so my sleep schedule was all out of wack for the very early morning I had on Sunday.
The roommate was working a night shift and I was starting to film my race vlog. I wasn’t nervous about the race persay more the commute to get there. Sunday’s were always a gamble on the train and I wasn’t sure what I was in for.
I had quite the commute in front of me to head to my old stomping ground of Ealing. On a good weekday that took 2 1/2 hours to get there from my days commuting from Brighton to work at Ealing Studios. But I wasn’t going to worry about that. I just make sure all my stuff was out and ready to go. Triple check things like ID, change of clothes and shoes were ready and so on. Made a quick entry for the vlog and headed to bed. Where the alarm for 4:30 rang too soon. But I got up changed into my gear and made the mad dash to Brighton Station. Thinking I would catch a 5:30 train but actually it was 6:13 and I was really early.
Nothing was open and I watched people come in from a night out on Saturday stumbling trying to find a train.
6:13 arrived and I was on my way to London Victoria. This trip I’ve done thousands of times because of commuting to my current job in soho, so I was in autopilot. After a really chilled uneventful train ride it was the mad dash on the bike to head to Paddington train station. I decided when I got to Brighton station earlier that morning to just go ahead and take the bike all the way to Ealing. Which was good because my feet were in so much pain after. It was a beautiful morning riding past the likes of Buckingham Palace and Wellington Arch. The sun was hitting the white stone giving it that gorgeous orange glow. It was a lovely moment and something I try to do any never take for granted. I always appreciate this small town girl from America never dreamed that 8 years ago she would be living in England nevermind seeing the famous sites everyday
Finally got to Paddington station and decided to leave the bike there in its massive bike parking on the platforms. Then headed on the 8:17 train to Ealing Broadway. Took ages for the train to open their doors and I saw a few other fellow runners getting on the train. Finally we arrive and I see my old haunt. And a walk that I did first on a weekend basis where I would travel every weekend to see my girlfriend and then later wife in the midland. Then on a daily basis when we moved to Brighton. Some things had changed some had not. Of course there was now a 5 Guys which is still so weird to me considering the first one came from my hometown in America but they have been blowing up everywhere in the last two years
I start vlogging again and then look at my watch and I only have 30 min to get to start line. And my memory serves the walk to that park which is behind my old place of work took just that to get there and I still needed to head to bag drop. So I put camera away and started to pick up the pace…the time for reminiscing would have to be after the race. What feels like forever I finally reach the park and I hear music which is a good sign. But bagdrop is way at the end of the park and all the pacers and runners are already walking to the start! So I start sprinting to the bagdrop, luckily no line but I make a last minute decision to ditch the under compression shirt and just wear the charity vest top.
I feel like a fat toad but I keep telling myself I’m going to look back and see how much weight I’ve lost….but we haven’t gotten there yet.
Head camera at the ready and I finally file in with the 02:40:00 pacers and get ready for the start of the race. After about 10 min past 9am I was crossing the start line and the race was on. Now because I don’t know or remember the road names like I do in Brighton it won’t be the most play by play race account.
But here are all the major things that stood out. It was very twisty windy. Which might have been a good thing because I knew some parts of the course but not all, especially around mile 8-10. When I did the Brighton Marathon in 2016 that’s when I hit my wall was when I hit a place I’d never seen before. That being my history what was I going to do on a course where I only knew a few miles of it? But the twists and turns meant I was never board and it never felt like the end was nowhere to be scene. So this time mentally I didn’t hit my wall
But a lot more hills than Brighton, but it wasn’t awful. I did get tires of people saying one more hill and that’s all when clearly that wasn’t true. I get why people do that but it’s also demoralising too when you go hang on a second? There was food everywhere! The support from all the family’s and community. Two places of faith really stood out. There was. Sheik (sp?) temple that we’re giving out full bottles of warmer around the 7-8ish mile marker and that was a welcome treat. Then a Christian church handing out orange slices and water too. I was so happy I decided not to pack my camelback because it certainly wasn’t needed. Then there were all the kinds with jelly babies and high fives. Being a very slow runner at these events I don’t get to partake in a lot of that because people often leave or get bored. Which I completely get, no shame in that. This race they were still there and I had to start trying away treats, but always gave a high five.
When I did pass places from my past I would point them out on the helmet camera and every mile marker I would film running past.
I was doing well and at 500m from finish when I heard the dreaded triple beep of my camera battery! We were almost to the finish and my camera was going to die within viewing distance…I was pissed and then just used my last energy to sprint across the finish line. I always do that because it shows me I paced myself properly. And that was that! Ealing Half Marathon done, dusted, bish bash bosh!
I gathered my things from bagdrop and used my dryrobe to change into my street clothes and get the wet and now cold race gear off. With that I hobbled back into town. This too was new to me because at Brighton events I didn’t have to hobble far then a bus would take me home. This was going to be a trek back and even with my lovely oofs sandles on the pain was to much.
But over the foot pain my stomach was like “Feed me!” And I knew just the places. Santa Maria pizza ria…well of course since I was nearly one of the last people to finish all the restaurants were packed with thousands of runners.
So I continued on to the Grove, which worked out since that was an old haunt of mine too. I had the best beef roast and chips and a super posh dessert. After a little mor of a vlog session I caught the bus and it was time to head back to Brighton. I picked up my bike and cycled to Victoria getting trapped in Hyde park at speakers corner (forgot they did that on a Sunday) and some of the shit coming out of these people’s mouths! My god. But check it out if you don’t know what it is. Finally on the train to Brighton and sleep.
But it was good to get back in the racing game. Especially after my first DNF (did not finish) on my London to Brighton trek. But I also can tell I’ve gained a lot of weight and the race photos don’t lie. But again I’m trying to take it on the chin and get better
This weekend I’m doing my last event for my LDN17 Challenge doing the royal parks half and will write all about that in the coming week. Thanks for checking this out and if you’d like to see the vlog I was mentioning you can check it out here on YouTube