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14. Trial Run

I was half wondering all day why exactly Harry Redknapp would have such a strong opinion on fx rates, and it's only just now whilst constructing this webpage that I've gotten round to turning to p92: Spurs play Real Madrid next week in the Champions League and have "an injury crisis and a farcical fixture list". That would make more sense actually...
Because I'd gone out for a few drinks the night before (thanks Bjorn, Jason, and Harold) and stayed the night in central London, the day started exceptionally early with a horrific 4:30am wake-up call in order to travel the 40+ km out to my potential start station, Chesham. I also stupidly managed to leave my food bag behind whilst changing trains on the way up.

I think it would be fair to say the day never really recovered from this (!) but still, I was determined to give it my best shot, because only by doing a genuine stress test would I learn where the weaknesses were...

...Indeed, it was obvious after the first run (1km, expected time <4 mins) that I was in no shape to put in good running times today and I thus ended up being on a later train that put me 9 minutes behind schedule already. Other runs suffered a similar fate, and although I was lucky with a train here or there, numerous crucial trains were missed. Eventually the attempt was aborted, whilst at 1hr+ behind schedule, with a few hours left go.

Things I learnt from the day:

  • Don't go out drinking the night before. Instead, stay in a hotel near the start, and implement the crazy tactic of having a solid night's sleep.
  • I can't run at full speed in central London, no matter how fit I feel - too many people around
  • Be super careful taking buses - whist it seems like a little red bendy bonus coming your way to save a few hundred metres of running, they can turn the corner into a traffic jam and have you sitting like a lemon unable to get off for 10 minutes. That was very frustrating.
  • My iPhone battery won't last the day (who knew?!) so need to print out instructions and maps rather than relying on looking them up.
  • Take several laminated print outs of the route plan, because holding just the one paper copy whilst frequently sweating like a pig after long runs leaves it in an unreadable state. This is somewhat difficult to recover from.
  • The 'playbook' needs to be bigger, better laid out, and on separate pages rather than condensed onto just a single page of A4.
  • It would really help to have a support team on the day checking ahead for you. For instance, at Upminster it's not obvious which of the three trains will depart next, and with my schedule there isn't long to figure it out once you get there.
  • It would also really help to have a wingman with me so I could mentally switch off from time to time and not have to constantly think about how long until I change, what will I do next, etc. Having to thinking about the tube for 17 hours is really not fun. Oh, you're not surprised? 
  • Empty lucozade bottles can be a man's best friend whilst on empty carriages out in zones 5 and 6.
More pertinently I also found a couple of weaknesses in the route itself, so will need to go back to the drawing board to do a bit of tweaking on that.

Overall though, a very useful day. I stopped early only because the remainder of the route was well known to me, and completing it would have left me way out of London in Zone 6 after midnight - not a decent trade-off. And with what I had done, I can now say I have at one time or another visited all 270 tube stations on the London Underground!