My First Marathon – 2015 ( A review of Brighton 2015 by Stephen Nash)
The names have been changed to protect the guilty and ward off any possible liable actions!!
When you finally admit that you are no longer attractive to the opposite sex, you notice grey hairs and that hairs start to grow in unimaginable places, you have to admit you are getting old!
Last summer I decided to face my fears head on and what can only be labeled as mid-life cry for help, I entered Brighton Marathon for 2015.
Instantly the puffed chest and elation turned to fear and worry how a fat over 40 year old could even dream of completing 26.2 miles without a vehicle or public transport!
I am sure in my youth I covered this distance chasing women and alcohol but at my age?
I instantly surfed the web and purchased ‘The Non-Runner’s Marathon Trainer’ book. On receipt I eagerly fingered the pages like those magazines under my bed as a youth. I was instructed in every conversation to mention I was to become a Marathoner! (I also felt a cock just thinking of this) so I informed my friends and work colleuges, who after the laughter and derogatory comments told me to either, have an affair or buy a sports car instead.
I passed on both as I could perform in the marathon the best I could without worrying about anybody faking it and I had too much hair on my head to buy an open top sport car!
After realising that I could not do this alone, I was put in touch with one of Gargamels antagonist and received a communication from a man I would later share a bedroom with in Brighton at the Queens Hotel – more later to follow after the kids have gone to bed.
I agonised all week with self-doubt but eventually got up and made my way to Hadleigh to participate in Week 1 of Marathon Newbies Training, a 6 mile run a couple of weeks before xmas, I felt like the stuffed turkey on that day. As I drove to the meeting point and tried to force all negative thoughts out of my small brain. I witnessed for the first time a human being dressed in fluorescent Orange (you know who you are) jogging (I will never forget that experience, it is ingrained in the grey matter alongside encountering my friends mum dressed in very sexy underclothes which to this day I do not know if they were for me but I did hear her pray and call out for him upstairs quite a lot that night).
I then realised that the lady in question (who made me feel very welcome) had jogged their as a warm up, the pathetic idea that in 18 weeks I would even comprehend undertaking this task really hit home.
I met some good people that day, some had already been running over the downs changing shoes to join the group on a run that has changed my life!
I had such a fantastic run meeting new people that have since become friends having a good natter that I hardly realised that I had completed the furthest that I had ever run – the marathon was going to be a doddle so I thought!
I then had my first conversation with the one they call Papa Smurf and I was hooked, I was going to improve my diet (did not happen) reduce all other physical exertion, at least I would not have to worry anymore if they were fake screams!!
I was like a child at Christmas, excited all week eagerly awaiting the early cold Sunday morning run, I made more friends (So I hope) eventually started to believe that this mid-life crisis could actually turn into a reality. I learned a few new words one Sunday morning spoken loudly at me when all I asked if she fancied a singsong?
Training Over, had run over 20 miles on a couple of training days and all that could fill my waking hours was the Brighton Weekend, my nature is to take charge and have all aspects managed but I had to take a step backwards and allow the orange army to dictate the plans.
Nervous anxious energy is all that I could feel, as well bottom burps filled my days, I had to keep picturing myself running and then completing the biggest test I had chosen to undertake in my life.
As many of you know (sorry if you got stuck with me) I was seriously ill a few years ago and that I can only smile on one side of my face, and not a grumpy bastard as various orange clad members have informed me.
I met Papa Smurf for a drink before the weekend to discuss all preparations for the dirty weekend away, talking it all through and heeding from the advise of the master, I could not sleep, I tried to fill my lonely waking hours with X-rated thoughts of women but then could not agree if they where to be pleasured before or after the event which would of course alter my performance.
Saturday came, I was up ready and waiting for the vehicle that would ultimately take me on a journey that would change my life forever, Papa and me were on our way to Brighton but had a small stop over to complete a park run in Crawley, the area looked like the car park is used at night for suspicious gatherings with a strange name but no dogs (four legged type) would be seen.
As soon as we entered this unknown territory the heavens opened, was this a sign from above or was it just raining? The post race drinks where undertaken in a lovely golf club next to the event, now I could honestly say that Harvester in Shoebury is rubbish and is only managble because of the people that frequent the premises every Saturday morning (Still no Latte form the machine, I have only been going since the beginning of January 2015) after park run.
We are in Brighton, Sat-Nav informing us of where to park for the weekend, only £32 for our stay, they must be using the takings to single handedly reduce the governments deficit!
Flyers, flyers everywhere, let us get to our hotel and then the Expo, nerves had started to kick in and the pulse rate elevated.
Hotel checked in and beds sorted, Papa next to the bathroom incase of any nocturnal visits, me next to the window incase an emergency exit is called for.
Expo got my number, this is now real not a dream. Was on such a natural high that when Papa suggested we book up for next year, I did with a jump in my step, the process was too easy but then I had to inform her indoors what Papa had made me do!
I could have been made to do anything that weekend, I was then easily led into a Vegan Café for a Latte and a piece of Apple Crumble cake, surely this was going to taste s**t I thought but hey, when in Brighton … I must admit both the cake and coffee were delicious. Now onto the flyers meal well orgainised as usual by my roomie for the weekend.
I had ordered a small steak for the meal, which I was kind of regretting as the voices in my head were shouting – ‘Carbs Carbs’. The decision for steak was then definitely regretted as I was sat between two vegans (sorry girls). My meal could not get any worse so I thought, I then received a text informing me of the Grand National results so I swiftly checked my betting slip when I heard voices in both ears shouting “you did not bet on that awful race?” “No” was my reply – change the subject but the only subject on my mind was that tomorrow I was to try and run / jog / walk / crawl 26.2 miles for fun.
Later in a swish champagne and cocktail bar we ordered pots of tea and lattes! They could only apologize as they could only find one tea strainer! Sounds like a very sad Saturday night but no, we were discussing the state of the nation and I cried out my manifesto of let them go on ‘Jeremy Kyle’ show and then get a job, that would sort out all this countries problems!
Another night of broken sleep, nerves, hen parties, and polish arguments at 4am!
The day had arrived, this had consumed all my spare thoughts for over three months and it was too late to turn back or was it, thought of faking an injury but I know Papa would see straight through me!
The walk to the Park was like nothing I had ever experienced, I felt like the condemned man then the happiest man alive, I said to myself keep thinking of my original goal, just to complete the course, nothing more.The flyers congregated mostly in Orange (some in black but honestly they did stick out like a sore thumb in the photos!)
Forget about going to the toilet, I was now getting excited, we made our way to our pens and waited and waited, nearly 20 minutes had passed before I crossed the start line, a friend from work shouted out my name and I turned to smile then I realized that he had already nearly completed a mile around the park.
Last minute hugs and kisses and handshakes for the girls and this was it I was off and running.
I can honestly say that I can not remember much of the race, I really enjoyed the first 18 miles and travelling at a pace that was a bit quick (caught up with the excitement of the event) but the fantastic supporters especially the flyers shouting out encouragement along the way, so technically their fault.
It must have been about mile 5 when I kept hearing my name being shouted out, mainly by young ladies, I gave them a cheeky wave or half a smile. The charity cheering spots were also a focused area for me and I felt on top of the world, this is easy what was all the hype about.
Whilst running I tried to concentrate on spotting the Orange clad flyers running in the opposite direction and hopefully I managed to shout out various calls and encouragement, but inside I was screaming HELP ME!
I first started to drift mentally about mile 18 when I saw a runner had collapsed and covered with a blanket and a local shouting “nothing to see here”. I got emotional and looked down on my arm to see the names of my two girls and wished they could see their daddy now.
The power station area approached, everybody I had spoken to had said this is the worst part of the race, my name was been called out my many including groups of men who had come to enjoy the sunshine and the local beer. As the miles went on, the crowds kept calling out and that there was not long to go to the finish, I then suddenly started to think are they being sarcastic? I even turned and shouted out in my head “I have over 3 miles left you f**king Twats, I have already run 23.2 miles you come and run this” I know this was wrong and tried to smile and say thank-you. Another mile gone and a child should out “Go Nasher only 2 miles to go” I would go into detail as to what I was going to shout back but lets just say that language would not have been used on Blue Peter.
I can see my hotel (Queens) and where is the bloody finish line? there it is I can see the timing bridge, keep going I thought, I concentrated on the finish line and realized afterwards that the grand stand was full of cheering crowds but I did not hear them at all.
I had done it; I could not believe it and looked around at what to do next? I had always played team games so was looking for somebody to share my elation but all I could find was a nice lady who offered me a chair and a drink of water in a tent, I kindly followed her then after the doctors had started rushing around a man who had collapsed next to me I realized I was in the First Aid Tent – I quickly picked up my stuff and hobbled out of there!
I met some of the flyers laying down on the tarmac and thought, they look like sh*t! What about me? I had just had my photo taken and then started to get worried what it would look like. (I did look great in them I must say)
The emotions of the event again came over me and I put on a brave face and went to my charity tent for a massage, if I had stayed on that tarmac with those guys I would have started dribbling and allsorts.
A runner just like me was ready for the massage but unfortunately she had worn tight leggings for the race and these had to be removed before the treatment could commence, can you imagine my embarrassment and surprise when I looked around and due to the position of her legs could see where babies come from, now for my turn and I was getting worried but I told myself I had worn shorts so all men women and children in the charity tent would not see my back door and be mentally scarred for life!!
My Massage felt wonderful and I would have married her if she had asked at the time, all I know is that I nearly fell asleep on the table but unfortunately she did not ask me if I wanted extras?
I then walk into more flyers who had completed the task and we walked to the bar telling our own stories of the same 26.2 mile event.
The sun must of gone to my head because I then decided or was forced into it by a so called friend to have my first beer in over 5 years and it tasted fantastic along with the burger which was dished up to me opposite one of the lady vegans (sorry again).
The bar emptied and I was left with only Papa to reflect on a wonderful weekend I had just experienced.
I have never taken drugs except alcohol, caffeine, cocaine, speed, grass, weed, heroin and LSD, but from the time I sprinted (ok, tripped) over the finish line, I was to encounter a natural high I had never experienced before which kept me smiling on one side of my face for over 5 days.
Thoughts from my Brighton 2015 experience:
· Six months ago, would I have gotten so excited about buying toe condoms (fantastic rubber covers for my toes)?
· Didn’t realize that such an individual sport could turn out to be so social and fun.
· Hopefully after a short space of being Tango’d I have hopefully made great friendships that will last a lifetime?
· I think we should all take a moment and fully appreciate the task that we have just achieved.
· Life is for living, not running 26.2 miles or is it?
Sorry ladies (and some men) but Papa is mine again in 2016! Looking to book the hotel might go for the Pink Pavilion as may give the Queens Hotel a miss – well if the cap fits!