TOUR OF THE NORTH-WEST
It's a long way to run when you're not feeling like it. It was iron grey out there and there was a constant head-wind. I did the parasite thing for a while where you jump into other people's wind shadows, but it's irritating for them and it's actually irritating for me. I have a thing where I can't help but run at the same cadence as runners I'm near, and given I've got a totty stride I need to run with a quicker cadence than most. By 10 miles or so I thought to hell with them all and gave up any attempt at running with anyone.
At 13 miles I had a chat with a chap who nearly went up a side road by mistake. He, like me, had thought this might be good race preparation for the marathon. I joked that the sweeper bus wouldn't be far behind and he responded "I'm not getting on no bus!!". Damn. A bus sounded fine to me. Even a bus of shame.
I had another pit-stop at Gullane and was tempted by Falko's but I didn't have any money on me. Ian Duckworth and Rickie Fraser cycled along-side me. I asked Ian about his recent burglary. Someone stole his car and then crashed into several other cars before setting it on fire. He got a note from the police several days later to say his car had been found, it had been burned, it was in the pound and would cost him £150 to collect! Happy days. He had to go then because he was getting too cold but he had distracted me for the best part of a mile, which was a relief. I would have loved a radio. Or if someone would tell me a story. I told myself a story.
I told myself the story of when Peter and my sister Caroline and I went a tour of the North West of Scotland on our bicycles. It must have been 1999. Peter still maintains there was some sunshine but I'm damned if I remember it. Some fool (me) had set too big a cycle for the first day. We were meeting my sister at a camp at Dunkeld. Because we were taking back-roads it was a l-o-n-g first day and we only got there in the evening. My sister arrived even later than us. She had injured herself on the very first day. Progress was slow after that and tempers frayed. Peter and Caroline started getting annoyed with each other. They've got different temperaments. My sister is an artist and...well she's not systematic. When Peter get's tired and grumpy he suffers from the feeling that there is a right way to do things. They butted heads and butted heads and butted heads. It was miserable. I wished they would both go home or that I could. I had stopped smoking the year before and this was my first holiday without cigarettes. There seemed to be no reward for anything. At the end of the day we'd sit down to eat (we were camping) and maybe drink a bottle of wine or some cider and the midges would come down in thick clouds and we'd have to try to eat with those netting hats on.
My dad was going a tour of the Northwest in one of these big American RV things with his girlfriend Vigdis. He was going in the opposite direction to us. He had cancer and was in remission but knew he had maybe a year. Me and him hadn't got on for years but I didn't want him to have cancer. I think this was in the back of our minds for most of the trip. By the 2nd week it started raining extravagantly every day. Caroline and Peter were barely speaking. We were cold and wet all the time. I got really bad constipation. Every day it got worse. I think it was because I couldn't bring myself to drink when it was wet all the time. You start to wonder just what the hell is going to happen when finally, inevitably, things start to shift. I'll spare you that. There was one particular day when we cycled all day in the rain into the teeth of the wind and only arrived at the hostel at Cape Wrath after dark. I was fairly sure I died out there on the road and this was evidenced by my cycle-computer having completely wiped itself clear of any data. That was our last cycle camping trip. For a long time afterwards I had an obsession with buying water-proof gear.
I came back to 2015 in Dirleton. Well that was a story and a half I thought to myself. Not far to go now! And it wasn't. Once I accepted I wasn't going to get any faster I was happy enough, especially now it was going to be over soon.
At the end Steve Crane was there and took a picture. We had a chat about injuries and I headed up to the sport's centre. I was very cold and hungry and am ashamed to say I had three sausage rolls and a packet of crisps and a cup of tea. Come to think of it, I haven't really drunk any water yet.
Maybe I should go and do that.
Stuart Hay beat Peter in today's awesome battle of the over-50s. I hope they are enjoying their close competition. I am. I saw lots of nice people but I have to go and stretch now so I can't name them all.
I REALLY hope the marathon is not going to be like that.