International man of running…

It’s 5am on a Thursday morning and I’m up and preparing to start my journey to a race. This is not normal behaviour, usually I subject my family to hearing me clatter around the house during the early hours Saturday or Sunday mornings whilst I frantically search for things I may or may not need for a race or run I’ve not prepared for. This morning is very different, in a freak turn of events my bag is already packed, the kids have already been disposed of and my partner and I are in it together, she is coming with me. We are headed to Gatwick to jump on a plane for Malta for a long weekend. I’m flying out to run the Malta Marathon along with a large group of runners from my new club, the Portsmouth Joggers. It’s an annual trip for a lot of them with many running the full marathon and even more doing the half marathon option.

It’s all frighteningly organised for me, I normally just wing it on the day, this morning I’m winging it in a whole different way! My first international trip to run in a race, how exciting. The cars booked into the car park, we are already checked in on our flights, the hotel is booked and money has been exchanged! This is an unprecedented turn of events, though admittedly I may have left some of the organising to my partner, Rochann, to arrange. Last minute faffing is done and we are out the door and pulling off the driveway by roughly 5:40am, remarkable given that Rochann is a terrible faffer! I hate being late for anything and she seems to go out of her way to test my patience levels.

After an hour or so’s uneventful drive we’re parked up in the long stay at Gatwick South terminal and on a big old bendy bus bouncing along towards the terminal. Once at the terminal we head straight for the departure lounge as we’ve already checked in online. Then, having almost unceremoniously lost my trousers going through the scanners, we are through in to the departure lounge. However, by this point there’s not actually a whole heap of time to spare.  Before we’ve had a chance to endulge in a pre-flight beer and fry up our departure gate is announced on the boards and we’ve got to head down to gate 22. Getting food and drink now would be cutting it really fine, never mind, it’s not a long flight and we’ve got time to kill before we can check in to the Selima Marina Hotel. Boarding starts at around 8am and by 8:40 the wheels are off the tarmac and we are hurtling headlong through the air at a 530mph in a long shiney tin tube towards the island of Malta.

In flight refreshments,consisting of a strong coffee and a hot bacon roll, does a lot to make the world a better place. Time to settle back, relax and enjoy the rest of the flight.

We arrived and had quite possibly the scariest taxi ride in the world to our hotel down in the Marina. There are a few signs of what is to come out and about and it’s a bright and sunny day.

I’m still not feeling 100% so the marathon is a bit of a worry, I just can’t shift this illness. I ran in the All Saints series last night, the St David’s day 10k, which was only my 2nd run in as many weeks. That felt OK, I managed to complete the course without coughing my guts up and leaving a lung on the course. I ran a pretty consistent pace and completed it in 54 minutes, which will do, especially with my lack of running and how I feel in myself.  I know others have dropped down to do the half instead of the full but I don’t want to do that. I’m hoping that the slightly warmer weather over the next couple of days will see me right. Fingers crossed or completing this could be a big ask! My last marathon was early January and I’ve not done a huge amount of long runs since then. What’s the worst that could happen?

The weather is glorious as is the scenery! I’m going to sign off now and enjoy a pizza and sample some of the local beer. Catch you on the flip side.

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