Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter Rising - North Tyneside 10k

I'm awake! It's 6.15am. Why is it so bright? Why are there no numbers on my alarm clock? I'm out of bed. Oh. There are at least 4inches of snow on the car. And everywhere else. Cotton wool snow. Silence. A power cut. Perfect. I have to contemplate no porridge. Impossible to race without porridge. Proceed, maybe something will happen.

Something happens. Radio bursts into life, as does the fridge, and the microwave display. Porridge is on again. Our day is on again.

I open the car boot. Half a ton of snow slides into the boot under the cantilevered lid. Memo to self...

9.30am. North Shields is bright, wet underfoot from snow showers, and hunched against the North wind.

Aren't runners odd? I include myself here of course. But odd is good in my world. I will warm up properly - after 90 mins in the car, and in these glacial temperatures, I must warm up properly.

The queues for the portaloos are immense. I know a shortcut to the indoor toilets. This way. Right. The doorway has been bricked up.

I haven't warmed up. 3 minutes to Time Zero. I must re-tie my laces, at least. Which one first? The left, it's the looser of the two. Too tight. Try again. Better. One minute warning.

One lace tighter than the other, the first mile is a blur of obstruction-avoidance. Bus shelters, bollards, kerbs, pedestrians, other runners, more street furniture, yet more runners. Downhill. The river, the fish quay, stay in the sun, breathe. I run with my hands hiding in my sleeves. Proper runners don't do that.

Mile 2 - along the promenade towards Tynemouth, looking for Lord Collingwood, waiting for the wind. Where is the wind? A runner in front of me has a Swedish-yellow top on. I wonder if he's Swedish. But I don't ask. Life is full of unanswered questions. Collingwood, the Spanish Battery, The Haven, The Priory. Up the bank. It's not a hill, not a proper hill.

Mile 3. I can see two ships. Both are the right way up. This is not Blackpool. This is faster than Blackpool, and colder. And here, the sea is blue-grey-green, not brown. But still the wind is just, well, windy and bitterly cold. Drinks station, neglected. Thanks, but no thanks. Unless you have a hot chocolate perchance.........

Mile 4. Cullercoats harbour. Seaspray. Away from the seafront for a minute. People in cars. I realise that I do not have the ability to see runners as 'normal' people do. I am a runner. They are not. It's their loss. But I'd like to be in that car, nevertheless, or in that warm lounge with the panoramic view and the telescope in the window. But, I have to do this thing.

Mile 5. Spanish City, Whitley Bay. Ouch. The wind arrives properly this time, with bells on. Suddenly everyone wants to run behind someone else. Leads to some amusing tacking manoeuvres along the promenade. Bloke in Swedish shirt reappears on the left, briefly. I can see St Mary's Lighthouse, through my veil of tears. And it's too far away. And, I can smell chips. How cruel.

Mile 6. Along the links. Teeth of gale bite at my hands, which retract into my sleeves again. Can't remember the finish. Shake hands with the bloke in front who I couldn't catch. He's about 25 and not even breathing. The bloke behind me is about 60 and asking me 'What time's that, mate?' I'm pointing my finger at the 4ft wide clock about 6ft away. It says 41-something. He laughs and so do I. We survived.

23 March 2008

1 comment:

Rhiannon said...

Fantastic..a masterpiece of the genre...and hats off for having to deal with the smell of chips...

Is the photo of your snow-filled boot?

Woah! Did I really write the previous entry?