Disaster. Around now I should have been easing into the Ostbahnhof with a cup of railway breakfast tea in my hand. Instead I'm sitting in front of my computer at home writing this. I missed my train, farcically.
I was originally due to go on the 22.59 Friday night train. Then I delayed by a day and booked on the same train a day later. Except that somewhere along the way I didn't pick up the information that the Saturday train leaves 16 minutes earlier. And, stupidly, I didn't double-check my ticket before leaving.
So when I arrived at the station at 22.38 (and my friends, family and colleagues will tell you that arriving 20 minutes before departure is pretty impressive for me), I couldn't understand why I suddenly only three minutes to get on the train. I dashed to the international platforms, but by 22.39 it had already left.
I felt awfully low trudging off the platform, after all the effort this week to be ready for the off. To round things off, I had got a puncture as I approached the station (would I have made the train if I'd been able to ride into the departure hall instead of pushing the bike?) and was then hassled by one of those late-night train station characters that it's never a good idea to get close to.
So this morning I woke up with that empty, out-of-place feeling of knowing that you should already have moved on. Like being in a nightclub in the afternoon.
I feel all the more empty because I now won't be seeing my friends Claire and Martin run the marathon in Berlin today. It was a drunken handshake with Claire ten months ago that decided we would be there on the startline together today. It also galvanised my vague thoughts for this project into a reality. And it dictated the timing. First an ankle sprain took me out of the race, and now this. I'm intensely, desperately frustrated not to be there. I wouldn't blame Claire for thinking it was all an elaborate ruse to avoid being beaten over 26 miles.
So I'm looking for bright sides. One is that I'll now probably gain some time for my Curtain ride proper by travelling directly to Lübeck later today. Another is that the station assailant didn't follow through on his threat to steal my phone. There are probably others. And after all, many other people will have had much worse things happen to them at 22.38 last night.
As my friend Jennie said when I called her for consolation: by the end of the trip this will feel like a minor blip on the first page. She's right.