14 July 2008

Trying to get to heaven before they close the door

37 years to the day since the first British Grand Prix I attended ...
What is clearly missing from my training is mileage. To think just over a couple of years ago I was doing nine miles a day between office and flat, plus a lunchtime run most days (that was when Andrew, Shane, Vanessa or Rose would usually be willing to join in), and a long run - 15 miles or more - at the weekend. I often managed 40 or 50 a week, and recently I doubt I have been doing ten. So this evening I was going to run to Paddington at all costs, having missed out on the way in because my back pack was simply too heavy.
First I was sidetracked by a colleague on the way to the changing room, and arrived to put my running kit on later than planned but still in time to get the 1848. But I'd left my phone on my desk, so I had to go back upstairs for it and by the time I was on the street my watch showed I had 25 minutes to make the train.
I reached Hyde Park Corner in good time, taking Constitution Hill at a good pace which left me grateful for the wait to cross the road, which was the full 90 seconds from green to red (for the traffic, that is: I go by those lights, not the pedestrian ones, which lag slightly behind). Up the stairs from the tube station lobby and through the arch to the park, and I had to walk a few paces. up the long but gentle climb to where the tree once stood, now marked by a sort of roundabout in the junction of several paths. Eight minutes to reach Paddington. Down the hill then walk a few paces to regain my breath, jog to the crossing on Queensway, over the road, into the mews, past the restaurant on the corner opposite the pub where I met Andy for a drink once ... four minutes left.
Up London Street from Sussex Gardens to Praed Street, then down the ramp into the station where the clocks indicate that I have a couple of minutes in hand, pause at the barrier, take off my backpack, and fumble for my ticket for the best part of a minute. Damn! Got it, put it in the slot, the gates open and I am through them like a greyhound. The first door of Coach H is and the train manager standing at it with a whistle between her lips, and I am sprinting up the platform faster than Dwaine Chambers in Saturday's Olympic trial - or perhaps not ... decelerate and simultaneously turn into the doorway with a great squeaking of rubber soles on stone floor ... made it comfortably. Tap Julian on the arm as I pass his first-class seat - he's on the phone so I just wave - and through to the cheap seats.
Thank goodness I remembered to take a towel out of my desk drawer to bring with me.

No comments: