Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Race Day

For the last few weeks, it has been hot. As in pool hot, bikini hot even. The mildest autumn for many years has seen temperatures in the mid-70s most days since mid October. We have only just put the quilt on the bed and still have no heating on in our bedroom at night. Given that it is now mid-November, I was secretly disappointed at the thought of a delayed ski station opening, as they are usually ready for business in the Alpes Maritimes from the second week in December. But with night time temperatures of minus 15 forecast for Auron later this week, two days of torrential rain and a light dusting of snow already visible at Courmettes a few kilometres from here, it seems my fears are allayed even if our lovely late, late bonus summer has ended rather abruptly.

The weather played a pivotal role in the Nice-Cannes marathon too. As we drove to the relay points to check in for our legs early on Sunday morning, Liv in Villeneuve-Loubet and me at Cap d’Antibes, the winds were already gathering pace. The atmosphere, as always at any marathon, was phenomenal with locals braving the tornado style winds to come and cheer the runners along the route. There aren’t many things more uplifting than running in or cheering on a marathon. You really see human spirit at its best. We saw the elite runners go by as we had coffee by the beach and boy, those guys were fast.

Livvy arrived after her 8.1km leg looking pretty good considering she hadn’t been able to train for two weeks and had spent a week trying out uni life on campus at Nottingham. The joy of youth. I, on the other hand, had trained my little legs off in the lead up and felt quietly confident about the hilly section of the Cap. But the wind as we rounded into Juan les Pins was so strong, it blew one of my earphones out and whipped pine needles, dirt, sand and seawater across the course and into my face. It was impossible to see for a few minutes and everyone was running blind. Crash barriers had been flattened and this usually tranquil corner of the Med looked like a scene from The Perfect Storm.

I can’t pretend I wasn’t elated to see the next relay runner waiting at Golfe Juan for the final 6 km stretch into Cannes. The weather certainly played a part in making our Mougins Girls team finish time slower than we hoped, at 4 hours 08 minutes and 30 seconds but in the circumstances, just finishing the race at all in winds that strong was an achievement. One that was celebrated with a team photo, above, followed by huge tuna burger, fries and a bottle of Sauvignon blanc at New York New York in Cannes. Big congrats to Bel and James, who achieved amazing times in challenging conditions, with a sub 4 hr 30 PB for Bel.

With training now over until I feel the compulsion to sign up for another race, it feels quite lovely to loaf guilt-free on the sofa and veg out to the annual guilty pleasure that is I’m a Celebrity. Matthew Wright and I used to work on showbiz news together almost 20 years ago so I have to declare an interest in watching him gag and gamely chew on during the first Bushtucker trial. Go Matthew.