Like a Gold Ring in a Sow's Nose

Experience life through the eyes of two star ladies - tat, clothes, tatty clothes...and Goblin beefburgers in a tin washed down with a pint of warm flat Panda Cola.

Race Report - Reading Half Marathon March 25th 2007


Welcome to Reading, Otis.


Check in high-light of the week...

"Would you like a smoking or non-smoking room?"

"Smoking please"

"We don't have one. Non-smoking only. (It's no problem for us)!"

And so began the Reading weekend. Upon entering room 223 (left) the appearance of a king size bed meant that the receptionist had us clocked as a couple of Jacksons and we would both like to say to Leo and Windy who will obviously be putting down their latest scripts in order to read this, that we are aren't. I was only demonstrating to Churchill in the car about how far Mr C.s hand was placed on my leg, it was nowt but a demonstration.

It was a very nice hotel but the price of wine in the strangely un-atmospheric Atrium Bar (see right) for a couple of chuggers like us was quite frankly crippling!
After a quiet night and Churchill's first ever experience of room service, Magneto was up and munching her way through chewy bread at 7.30am, looking out into a misty and windy morning up at the Millennium Hotel Madejski Stadium. After a brief dither about what to wear Magneto does what she does more often than not and puts the wrong gear on.

Finally we are out and about amongst the runners of Reading in search of a nice cup of tea but failing miserably and having to settle for a lukewarm affair made with generic tea bags. No, the cups weren't well insulated it was just that the water was not boiled, as we had suspected. But at least it was better than the bacon sandwiches... And then there was Mariella Frostrup in her shiny tights - I bet she never takes George Clooney to the B&Q. After what Churchill described as "a right shlep" (500m in reality) to the start line we loiter around the sub two hour mark, which I know was pushing my level of fitness but even I need to dream on. And there we stood for quite a while along with tiny dogs, deep heat and local aerobics instructors. And I would just like to say to the guy in the blue hat - good effort on the aerobics and I am glad I wasn't standing behind you. There were lots of excited faces, photos being taken and then there was me, grumpy old Magneto even then looking forward to the finish, a nice cup of tea and a sit down.

And then we are off, at last, on my 13th race and into the unknown of Reading town centre. The first mile is flat which is then followed by a couple of nasty climbs (IMO) but at least we have a great downhill section at mile six. Unfortunately that great downhill section meant we had to climb back up the same hill at mile seven which was an absolute killer to me, I can't not give a hill 100% and so I was in a right state at the top, almost mincing along and longing for the 8 mile marker. It was here that I began to get arsy and wish that I could just give up, I really had no incentive to finish which is exactly what you need when racing. After pouring a bottle of water all over me at about mile 9 I decided that I wasn't going to give in until 90 minutes had gone by but mon dieu! How hard was that? All I could see was the next mile stretching out in front of me, the whole distance seemed endless. I really wasn't in the mood and when I said the words "I can't be bothered mate" to a fellow runner I knew that the game was up. Mind you, if we had spoken before about Rachel and her life aspirations (sprinkling chopped onions onto sliced black pudding as a garnish for a funeral tea) I think it would have been the push I needed. The thought of really unhealthy people, the slicked back hair, the tracky bottoms...sign me up for the Marathon Des Sables someone. If you want to see it, here's the Course Map with added information.

CHIP TIME: 02:07:13 - my second fastest and yes I know it's crap. But at least they didn't have to time me on a sundial as at first feared.

Now the stadium finish I have to admit was very good. The atmosphere was special, the noise overwhelming and even I managed an attempt at a sprint finish, followed by a near faint. Time to get the medal, cup of lovely tea and a ham sandwich courtesy of a very thoughtful Churchill, have a quick shower and hit the pubs! Let's face it, this is what the weekend is really all about.

Oi! Wanker! And other Reading names for taxi drivers

Mr. I-drive-a-beat-up-old-Range-Rover-and-visit-a-health-club-to-sit-in-the-jacuzzi haircut nightmare, I hope that mother nature has weeded you out and made it impossible for you to breed, although did I detect a frisson of interest from Churchill? And speaking of Mother Nature, she should take all those on Tricia and the Jeremy Kyle Show and render them all infertile. And any woman who buys into Playboy tat, or the polar opposite type, those that decide the best way to style themselves through life is to aim for a look best described as 'battleaxe', she can render them all infertile as well. It will save us all a whole lot of trouble in the future and by the way Mr Range Rover, there was only one wanker in that car park and it wasn't the taxi driver.

Even through my race-tainted misery-goggles, a grumpy Magneto could see that Reading wasn't a bad place for a few drinks and I ran past a hotel that looked promising so it was there that we began what would amount to a half marathon session of drinking. Called Great Expectations, it was a good choice being dark, warm, full of ashtrays and most importantly of all it had cheap wine by the bottle. Supreme! After one, no two, no three bottles of Sauvignon Blanc we decided that a packet of crisps wasn't going to cut it food wise so in the spirit of Paris we went straight for Pizza Hut and a combination of Mexican and Italian starters along with a pizza (can't remember for the life of me what was on it) was demolished and washed down with a bottle of red wine. Of course it was.
And do you remember this Churchill? Said about the sauce container?

C: "If this was ceramic I'd be nicking it"
C: "I don't care if it's not ceramic, I'm having it".

Has Magneto not taught you anything? Only go on the rob with a big bag!

Then it was off to the Slug and Lettuce for another bottle of wine before a drunken attempt at getting a taxi was surprisingly successful, with me telling the taxi driver I would find him by the Casino and amazingly managing to do just that. Never been to the place before, the confidence was at best misplaced!  But still that's not enough wine for Magneto so that's another glass in the hotel bar, more in the room along with an attempt at getting chips out of room service. Then it was a drift into sleep hugging Wentworth Piller as Churchill had a sly fag out of the window.

Now, you would think that I would have had enough of racing until the GNR in September after being a grumpy arse throughout that race. So what do I do? I decide in order to regain my running mojo I have to enter a 10k. So it's up to Manchester on the 21st May for the Great Manchester Run 2007. A race I last did in 2005 - I remember thinking what an uninspiring course it was and how I wouldn't do it again. Still, maybe I'll bump into someone famous, that bloke that used to be Dr. Who does it. Nice t-shirt though. So crack open the training plans and bring on the speed work...Jeebers! I've just found out that Max off 'Enders is in it. I'll be having him over!

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