A special long blog post, with a bit of running mentioned somewhere in the middle, as it is the Realbuzz law, but basically a full run down on my weekend at the Olympics, a once in a lifetime experience, both for the Olympics, but also meeting so many Realbuzzers, and also going for a run for a couple of Realbuzzers whilst in London.
Friday evening, I was like a kid who had eaten far too many E numbers, and watching the events on TV was superb, and seeing some of the stars I knew I would be seeing in the flesh the following evening.
An early start was required on Saturday to catch the 7am train out of Doncaster, arriving into Kings Cross just before 9am, and my 8 year old son took some waking at stupid o’clock on Saturday morning to make the trip with me. A quick tube ride out to Hyde Park Corner for the bike element of the Women’s Triathlon, and by 9.25 we had a good spot on the right hand bend as the bike ride went past Marble Arch and turned back into Hyde Park. We watched as Helen Jenkins caught up the time she had lost on the swim, and as we departed she was well up in the lead group. Sadly she only managed 5th, but a good start to the Olympic experience.
A tube ride out to Ealing had Firefly waiting for us at the station where we went to drop our stuff off, and met up again with Ruddy and his son, who were also using Sue’s generous hospitality! A quick cuppa and chat, and back into London, Ruddy went off to some museum and the Boxing at Excel, me and Luke were heading for the Tower of London and a spot of lunch and sightseeing. Lots of photos over the next couple of hours as we visited the Tower, Tower Bridge, the Embankment and the London Eye, Big Ben – this brought back memories of the pain around 24-25 miles from 2010! – Whitehall and Downing Street, Trafalgar Square and The Mall. The Mall was closed in preparation for the 20k walk that evening, so we went off top Covent Garden and Leicester Square for a flying visit.
By this time it was 3pm and time to start the main event of the weekend, and the journey to the Olympic Park. We went across on the Javelin service, 6 minutes from St Pancras to Stratford, and the whole set up and organization is superb. The park is huge, and queues even bigger! Way Too Slow and Lou were in Park Live, but the queues by that time were immense so we gave that a miss (we were told to expect to queue for well over an hour by the stewards, and it was 4.30 by that time, and we were going into the Stadium by about 6pm, so didn’t really seem worth the queue!! Apparently there were well over 250,000 people in the Park, and you could tell. The place is huge, and it does take a good half an hour to walk from one end to the other, without veering off onto the many paths and trails that lead off in all directions. We were up above the torch in the Stadium, and all I can say about Saturday night is that the atmosphere just grew and grew. Everyone knew what was coming with Jess (a local girl to me, she trains almost a good javelin throw away from where I work), as she had already blitzed the entire field in the previous 6 events, but the noise was unbelievable, like nothing I had ever experienced. While she was celebrating, Greg Rutherford performed his winning Long Jump performance, and the crowd just went wild. This event actually finished during the opening laps of the 10,000m.
If you thought the roof could get raised any higher, then the 10,000m finale surpassed everything. Mo just sat in for 20 laps, holding around 8th place all the time. Lots of the Africans were trying to upset his pace, slowing down and speeding up deliberately to try and get him to go with them, and giving him a few choice nudges as they went past. He ignored them and ran his own race. 5 laps out he moved up the field to just behind the leaders, and held it there until the final 500m. The noise grew with each lap, and by the time he broke away with 500m to go, the atmosphere was the most amazing I have ever experienced. The rest is history I suppose!!
Back to Firefly’s around midnight, a glass of wine followed, and finally asleep about 1am. Alarm at 7am for an early morning run with Firefly and Ruddy, and Firefly’s husband, a proper Realbuzz moment! A ‘steady’ 5 mile run took place, at 9.27 pace I believe, and it was a great experience to run with others who we have a bond with on here, but meet quite infrequently, and is definitely something I can recommend!! I am not impressed with having my picture taken when just woken up, with severe sleep deprivation though, I look rough enough when looking my best!!
After breakfast, it was back off into London, and The Sea Horse pub around the corner from St Paul’s, to see some of the Women’s Marathon, at a point where the course went past in both directions. It was good to meet the Marathon Talk boys, who both had their young children in tow, and it was a pleasure to chat to Tom again for the first time in 18 months or so, and it was also here that I finally met up with Krafty Kat and Nick, and it was a pleasure to meet them both, and will hopefully lead to more meetings in the near future!
The rest of day involved tying in a trip to Buckingham Palace with the end of the Marathon (and a huge downpour to boot, a common theme in the capital on Sunday!), lunch in Leicester Square, and then a trip to the British Museum to see some actual Olympic Medals close up.
We actually came within about 20 seconds of actually holding a properly awarded Olympic Medal. We were walking past Canada House in Trafalgar Square when one of the competitors, Ryan Cochrane, a Canadian swimmer appeared who had won Silver the night before in the 1500m freestyle (or front crawl as I call it!), wearing his medal. He was mobbed and was happily agreeing to pose for pictures with people, and he was letting them wear his medal whilst the pictures were taken. We got in line, but just before we reached the front he was whisked off for a TV interview. So near but yet so far!
All in all an amazing experience, a true ‘I was there’ moment in the Olympic Stadium, and a weekend that showed all that is great about Britain (the volunteers are superb, the army were so pleasant and efficient it was a pleasure to be part of such a massive event), and also demonstrated the positive effect a community like Realbuzz can have.
Aug0320128:56 a.m.Well, seeing as I am actually running at the moment, it would be very rude not to blog about it, although trying to fit runs in around the Olympics, whilst...
Jul17201211:39 a.m.2 blogs in under a fortnight, whatever next! Maybe popping comments on other people’s blogs might be a good idea… So, what have I been up to in...
Jul06201212:14 p.m.I see Realbuzz doesn't change, I can still spend 20 minutes writing a blog update and then it loses it when I hit publish!! Lets try again, in a slightly...
Nov2420111:34 p.m.As the training has been stop start, not helped by a bad cold last week, which is still lingering a bit, I made a decision to basically 'sod it', and get on...
Nov0720115:02 p.m.2011 has been a poor year for me running wise, twisted ankles, illnesses during marathon training, it has been a tough year at work (but then again, I doubt it...