If I had actually scripted something to suggest that it wasn't going to be my day, I don't think I could have done any better!
My suggestion of a cheeky weekend in sunny Spain (to drive away the February Blues) was obviously not too appealing to family and friends (they're clearly all ducks and enjoy floods too much!) so I headed over there alone.
Sitting in the back row, I could still see into the cockpit!
My route took me via Manchester and Lisbon, but 3 hrs spent at each of those airports is definitely enough for one trip! The first surprise was while waiting to board the flight from Lisbon to Seville. A member of the airline crew came round and checked everyone's hand luggage - it was going to have to sit on your lap, so if it was slightly large/heavy, it had to go into the hold. This should have been a clue as to the size of the plane, but it went over my head, so I did a double take when we were taken out to a small propellor aircraft with a ladder to climb in order to get onto it. There were 5 rows of seats (1 seat on each side of the plane) and if I'd been sitting much further forward, I'd have been flying the plane myself. There was a "comfort pack" on each seat, which contained a bottle of water (v necessary when hot air blasted out at your feet), a sandwich and a pair of ear plugs! No room for am air hostess so the pilot shut the door and we were off......though I have to admit there were amazing views flying at such a low altitude!
A page I found in the race magazine
At 11:30 on the Saturday morning, the Elite athlete coordinator drove us to the expo. Unfortunately, he then put the wrong type of petrol in the car and so we ground to an unceremonious halt on a main road. Cue me flagging down a taxi for myself, the current Norwegian marathon champion, her dad, and the current male Swedish marathon champion so that we could get back to the hotel (we had been the "English speaking" car, and the organiser stayed with the vehicle for a tow). This meant we had to rush to make lunch before they stopped serving it at 3pm......and I was famished (despite having gone overboard on the buffet breakfast earlier)......so, as you might have guessed, the all-you-can-eat buffet style got me again! Lying on my bed later that afternoon, I seriously hoped that everything that could go wrong, had gone wrong.....
The shorts looked OK until you tried them on
Almost, but not quite......as my Spanish roommate then arrived......with her boyfriend in tow (who also turned out to be her pacemaker). Adjacent twin beds with a previously unknown female is fine with me, but not for the three of us, so luckily the hotel were able to procure another room (phew, I didn't have to hide my chocolate stash and pretend to be a "proper athlete"!).
The "technical meeting" did make me wonder what I was doing there. It was no problem letting my mind drift when they talked about the two different paced groups for the men......one going through halfway in 64mins and the other in 66mins. I could also ignore the Kenyan ladies' pacer asking if 74-75 was ok for the half, while the Spanish Olympian (who thought she recognised me from London 2012........she was sadly mistaken!) had her pacer targeting 76. The comedy moment for me was when I was introduced to 2 ladies who "might be running at your pace"......they've just returned from 2 months of training in Iten, so I don't think I'll be much company for them! Oh well, at least I got my goodie bag....complete with a pair of shorts that would make the Cheeky girls look fat, and a March 2008 edition of Spanish Runners World magazine :-)
After that catalogue of disasters......what else could go wrong?????