I’ve been wanting to tell you guys about my weekend in Northumberland last month but I haven’t been able to find the time. And now I have my weekend in Cardiff I really want to talk about! First things first. Cardiff will have to wait. Spoiler – it was fucking great!
Northumberland was the destination of my first race of the year. It was also my first race with the Coastal Trail Series which I have written about previously (www.endurancelife.com). Northumberland, as the name suggests, is located in Northern England about 100K or so outside of Edinburgh. Getting there was an adventure in and of itself. It marked my first time driving over here and as most of you know the folks here drive on the left! I managed to get there and back unscathed (though not without incident). I did experience a mild case of driving on the wrong side of the road which almost resulted in my death! Don’t worry Mom, I’m just kidding. No, actually that did happen.
What will be amusing to my Canadian friends is the drive essentially took me all the way across England (I live in the south west and my destination was in the north east) and it only took me five and a half hours! That gets me from Halifax to Fredericton back home! So in other words, it gets me fucking nowhere! By way of comparison, according to Google Maps, it takes 57 hours to drive across Canada. Blimey!
Onto the race. I was really impressed with the Coastal Trail Series. Well organized and so much fun! The course was absolutely stunning. About 50% running across fields and 50% running along the beach. I even had the opportunity to run with sheep! I raced fairly well but I was really dehydrated. I managed to slug it out but I was suffering over the last couple of K. With about 3K left I had someone cruise past me like I was a statue. I don’t like being passed over the last couple K of a race but I was in no position to do anything about it.
There was one guy that went out and absolutely crushed it! I always like to try to pick out the winner at the start line. They are typically fairly easy to spot: sleeveless running jersey, sprinting back and forth, dynamic stretching. Oh and they generally look like a doctor’s poster of what the muscles in the human body are. The Brits generally don’t have a high view of such outward behavior so they took several shots at the eventual winners routine.
Racing in Britain really isn’t any different than racing back in Canada. Same inspiring atmosphere though perhaps this exchange only happens in England:
Guy 1: So what are you going to do after the race?
Guy 2: Have a smoke and a pint.
I can’t say he didn’t earn it.
Usually official race pictures have a way of making you look like a melted candle but the good folks at endurancelife seem to be able to catch you in the rare moments when you don’t look like utter shit.
On my way back from Northumberland I stopped in to check out Hadrians Wall. The wall was built about 2000 years ago by the Roman Emperor Hadrian and effectively served as the northern limit of the Roman Empire. There was still plenty more to be conquered further north (like Scotland) but I figure Hadrian just got tired. “Ahhhh fuck it. This is far enough. Build a big ass wall and name it after me. I am going back to Rome to get drunk and fuck bitches.” I think he was right to stop when he did. At the end of the day, what is the value of endlessly pursuing greatness if we lose touch with what really matters in life.
Enough with the history lesson. Here are a few pictures I took while at Hadrians Wall.
That wraps up most of what I have to say about this weekend. I had so much fun. After a slow start to 2016, Northumberland was a much welcomed jolt of excitement and served as the jumping off point for everything else I have planned for 2016.