So August is nearly behind us and before we leave St Jean de Losne on the Friday 25th we enjoy a meal out with Peter and Gwen at La Sauconna. I have found a running mate in Gwen so hope we meet up next season so we can go off running together. Peter suggests I run the marathon in New Zealand and visit them so now our winter task is to explore the possibilities even though I keep saying I’m going to stop running marathons and stick to 10ks and half marathons.
On Saturday we take the short trip up to Auxonne where we have booked into the Port du Plaisance having received an email confirmation only to find that John the capitainne had no knowledge but nevertheless finds a spot for us to moor up against another large barge as we are not going to be on the boat it didn’t matter where we are.
Sunday is an early start and we arrive at Auxonne railway station at 6.30 only to read the notice telling us our train has been cancelled resulting in us missing all our connecting trains including the euro-star back to the UK which makes this a very expensive trip as we have to buy all new tickets – just hope we can claim some of it back. Get back home just in time for last orders at our local The Queen o’ t’owd Thatch where we meet up with Laura.
As always we have a busy week with the usual catch up with family and a few of our friends with of course the mandatory medical and dental checks up. But the main reason for our visit home is to witness Becky Evans become Becky Kershaw as she marries the love of her life David. The wedding is wonderful and its also a great opportunity to see Daniel and Jonathan – unfortunately I do have a self inflicted hangover in the morning but it was definitely worth it.
On Sunday the 10th September Charles and I take the train up to Newcastle where I run The Great North Run Half Marathon raising money for Prostate Cancer UK. I can honestly say its the best race I’ve ever run – the support was amazing and constant along the whole 13.1 miles and after a sneaky hill at mile 11 the view at the top of sea was very welcoming and I even managed to sprint to the finish line. I am very happy with my coming 8797 out of over 43,000 runners in a time of 1 hr 54 mins and 14 secs. I also came 6th in my age and gender range so am chuffed to bits. The day has a perfect finish when we enjoy a meal with Matthew, Helen and Laura.
We return to Auxonne on Monday (11th) and am pleased to say without any delays or hitches and move out of the port onto the quay. We had intended going for a trip up the Saone but the weather is very hit and miss so although the quay does not have electric or water at the moment its makes a good base before we return to the port on Saturday.
So now I am home alone as Charles returns to the UK for another hospital appointment so take a walk to the boulangerie and treat myself to a tarte citron. The weather is hit and miss so I manage some shorts runs each morning and catch up on cleaning, washing and ironing. It’s actually rather nice having a few days to myself and find the time flies by and before I know it Charles is back on board late Tuesday the 19th Sept with the good news that his examinations have shown nothing untoward so he just have to continue taking the iron tablets.
On Friday the 22nd I wake up very excited as we set off for Berlin. Neither have been before so whilst I am looking forward to the marathon we are both looking forward to exploring the city. After a train journey to Paris we learn our flight is delayed but have come to expect some sort of delay these days but have a good flight and arrive late to our first ever Airbnb which we are very pleased with. We are warmly welcomed by Christian who shows us around the airly, light and spacious flat. On Saturday morning we make our way to the expo so I can collect my goodie bag and bib number 34987 putting me in the G pen. After a wander around all the stalls we start our touristy bit at Brandenburg Gate where we find the start and finish line of the marathon.
We also get a look at the skaters marathon and find my name on the runners wall of fame. In the evening we meet up at a nearby restaurant with many of the other Prostate Cancer UK runners, support team and families and collect my finishers T shirt from Lauren who kindly bought one for me when she arrived on Thursday – an odd process where the shirts are for sale at the Expo to anyone and of course they run out quickly. Sunday morning is a dank and miserable day and remains the same for most of the day.
We arrive at Brandenburg Gate around 7.30 for our PCUK team photo and then I say goodbye to Charles as I make my way to my pen – the point I know I’m actually in a race!! The butterflies are certainly settling in and I have a mixture of excitement and trepidation.
I meet up with Julie, Stevie and Hoey with the intention of running together but it doesn’t pan out as planned. There are over 43,000 runners and its a very tight compact race which isn’t at all comfortable. I get many people barging into me and pushing me around and I have to weave in and out too to make progress.
The water stations are a nightmare with only small plastic cups of water being handed out so the ground is strewn with the cups and are quite hazardous. The crowds of supporters are amazing and there are so many bands playing amazing music which is very encouraging and motivating. I pass the PCUK support stations and happy to see Charles twice. I really start flagging after 35k and am putting it down to lack of hydration and loosing one of my gels. I consider walking but for me it really isn’t an option and then I see Brandenburg Gate so shed a few tears incredulous that I’ve run a marathon and manage to quicken up a little and am so pleased to be over the line.
Unfortunately as soon as I stop running I feel very dizzy with a medic helping me onto a trolley. After a few minutes I think I’m okay and start walking but before I collect my medal I decide the safest option is to sit on the floor before I fall down where a Doctor checks me over and as I’m not in pain decide I’m just knackered and need to get a grip. I collect my medal and goodie bag and demolish the banana, chocolate bar and bottle of water and certainly feel better. Charles and I meet up in a pre-arranged spot and make our way to Brandenburg Gate to shout support at the runners coming in with especially loud shouts for any PCUK runner we see. I’m ashamed to see I feel a bit smug having finished and relieved its not me still running.
There were 43852 runners with 39101 finishing. I came in 3522 place and 33rd in my age/gender group (out of 360) and it took me 4 hours 07 minutes and 58 seconds which is two minutes faster than my fastest marathon – not the sub 4 hour I wanted but hey ho I finished and got a PB.
Now we can be tourists and enjoy the remaining time visiting museums and wandering around the streets returning to the boat on Wednesday.
On Thursday the 28th Charles fits our new starter battery which is a bit fiddly but works perfectly and after I return from the shops we set off at last for the last leg of our summer travels. We stop at Seurre for the night and arrive onto The Canal du Centre early Friday afternoon (29th) and spend two days at Fragnes due to the inclement weather.
Very little mileage this month:
97 kilometers 4 locks.