The Percy Pud, our local 10K, is popular; finishers get seasonal desert. I’ve blogged about it previously, but didn’t enter this year, being ill.
I had been out of hospital for a few weeks, when the Facebook market in second-hand places began.
The race, apparently, was tomorrow.
Gulp. But hey – I probably could….
‘I’m sure you can,’ hubby agreed, ‘But I’m not sure you can navigate to the start.’
‘Course I can.’
Sounds simple, no? Its not very far from our house. Route to start-line into phone; phone on charge. Full running kit; write list; check eighty times. Then I got something in my eye. It itched like hell. I fell to sleep with the ball of one hand pushing against my eyeball.
The next morning, my eye was glued to my palm with green slime. My sclera looked disgusting, but the pain had gone.
I decided not to run. I strode up and down for ages, trying to decide for definite, and decided not to run again. Then I changed my mind. Hunted round the house, checked everything I needed eighty times more, worried about the route. Picked up the phone, squinted at it, started walking. This was tricky: the run was no-where near where I’d remembered. But I merged with a parade of walking runners, some in costume, and followed them. We came to a standstill outside a marquee. I left my fleece by the third tent-pole to the left of the entrance, and wrote that down.
Then I looked at the sea of runners. There were things happening everywhere – an overwhelming Where’s Wally? scene. Suddenly, I couldn’t work out what to do next.
Someone explained that I have a clever sort of chip – on the back of my number, see? – and that I needed to wear the number; ask in the tent for pins.
To the pin-person: ‘Where’s the start?’
‘You stand next to the marker for the time you think you’ll run.’
Oh yeah! I knew that, didn’t I! But – How long does it take me to run 10K?????????
I didn’t ask that. I’m forgetful, not stupid. I looked back on Facebook at guessed an hour. The people standing around me didn’t look intimidatingly fit. In fact, they didn’t even look intimidating. Okay, then. I walked forward. 55 minutes.
There were some awesome costumes, but I can’t remember now what they were. At some cue, the crowd began to shuffle.
Last time, running was the hard part. This time, it was the part I knew how to do: run. Stay with the marker. It was getting uncomfortable but it wouldn’t be forever. After a very long time, we were on the home downhill. With energy to speed up! – smugness.
The cheesy brass band made me feel quite elated. I even remembered where to pick up my stuff. But – oh shit – how was I meant to get home?
The story doesn’t end brilliantly. Hubby and I found each other. We were meeting family at the sculpture park. The kids sang loudly in the car. The conjunctivitis got worse and I got grumpy. I lasted half the day with my family, then went for a rest in the car again.
Except – I didn’t make the car. I’d bloody forgotten where we’d parked. I wandered round lost for a while, then, after what seemed like hours, bumped back into the family, even shorter-tempered than before.
But let’s not focus on that.
A message came. I’d done the Percy Pud in about fifty-seven minutes.