After a thoroughly exhausting weekend I am now sat in the university library trying to catch up on life. I left campus at 6pm Friday evening with the Cross Country team and we travelled to Brunel University for BUCS cross country arriving at just gone 10pm and then sorting our race kit ready for the following morning before eating and stretching and then heading to bed. My friend and I woke at 4:30 the next morning (almost 4 hours before our alarms were due to go off) and spent the next few hours restless and nervous for the day ahead. We got up at around 7:30 giving up on any hope of falling back asleep and started getting ready to leave.
The team got taxis to the race location and all met in a group close to the finish line. Once the team had regrouped we found a spot on the field and set up the gazebo and groundsheet to try and keep our bags and kit dry – it was raining and there was mud everywhere! The girls race was first, starting at 12pm, and so after painting our faces with war stripes in the team colours we got on with warming up. A quick walk around the course followed by a short jog around the main field and some drills saw us ready to go and so with the race being announced over the tannoy we made our way to the start line.
Unfortunately my spikes broke a few years ago, and as this was my first cross country race in a while I hadn’t bothered to replace them – BIG MISTAKE!! The course was a total mud bath. I could hardly stay upright which meant that whilst I knew that I could have run so much faster I just had to settle for making an attempt to finish the race without falling. Although I was disappointed with my place and my time, I did actually really enjoy the race anyway. The field was huge with over 700 girls competing in the girls race so the atmosphere was amazing. Next time I will definitely be wearing spikes.
After the girls race was finished, we had a photo, and then I had to leave. I walked straight to Uxbridge underground station and caught the tube into London to meet my friend at a café (Coffee Island) near Leicester square. My friend turned 18 on Saturday so we were meeting for her birthday. The café was great – I would highly recommend the almond croissants, the millionaire shortbread and the coffee! From the café we made our way to the AirBnB we were staying at in Shoreditch.
On arriving at our AirBnB I headed straight to the shower where I scrubbed off the many layers of drying mud and grass that were covering my legs. Feeling a little more human we went to Oxford street to do a bit of shopping (we needed to find outfits to wear out that night!). Thankfully, the shopping didn’t take too long and we found some really great outfits after about half an hour giving us time to find food and get back to the flat to get ready.
At the top of the steps down to the subway at old street we passed a cocktail bar and decided to check it out. There was a buzzy atmosphere and we ended up staying far longer than planned – not leaving until almost 12am. The drinks were amazing and I would definitely go back for more sometime! After leaving the cocktail bar we made our way to Tiger Tiger. There was only a very short queue and we were in very quickly, making our way straight to the bar where we ordered drinks and scouted out the best dance spots. Whilst it was fun and we had a good time, I wouldn’t go back to Tiger Tiger unless I couldn’t find anywhere else. There were two dancers on podiums near the door who looked bored out of their minds and there wasn’t really that much of an atmosphere, just lots of very very drunk people hooking up and to make it worse the music wasn’t exactly that great.
We left the club at about 2:30 and made our way back to the underground travelling from Piccadilly Circus to King’s Cross where we sat for 20 minutes trying to warm up before catching the night bus back to the AirBnB. Pizza was ordered and consumed and then it was lights out at about 4:45am and off to sleep after a very long day!
Sunday saw a leisurely get up staying in bed until about 10:30, showering and packing our bags to check out of the airbnb. We headed straight back to Piccadilly where we spent the rest of the day in and out of patisseries and book shops (as well as Fortnum and Masons to use the bathroom, of course). All in all it was an exhausting but brilliant weekend!