Hi guys, so in continuing with my last post on my weekend catch-up, here is Part 2. (See Part 1 HERE).
Sunday morning – race day at the Olympic Stadium! We stayed with friends in Clapham in London so it was fairly easy to get to Stratford via the tube in the morning. I say ‘fairly easy’ because Ben knew where to go and what tube to catch. I obediently followed, bewildered by all things public transport and London.
On the tube journey there was another race goer with her National Lottery race t-shirt and bib on. I decided to wear my running club vest instead because the t-shirt (despite being a small) was HUGE. It fit Ben perfectly though so he now has it in his running wardrobe. At each tube stop, more and more runners got on-board and there started to be a buzz of excitement.
Then we got to Stratford and a sea of blue people flowed out and we were whisked along with the crowds of people heading towards the stadium.
We walked past the huge shopping centre, Westfield…
It was just streaming with blue shirted and Lycra-ed people. It was fairly overcast but that was fine; nice and cool for running I hoped!
Then finally, after security, we got within sight. I was so excited by this point and it really was quite a spectacular sight.
We got there around 8.30am which was perfect really as we got to mosey about before the race (which started at 10am). I stood in the queue for the first toilet I saw and waited for ages. Then afterwards we headed towards the area that Ben would spectate (it was all divided according to the colours of the bibs; I was a red wave). I noticed a million more toilets and realised my initial error of panicking and going to the first toilet I saw. In the end I literally went to the loo three times before the race as I was so nervous and there were so many loos.
I got goose bumps when we first walked in the stadium. It was amazing. It looked a lot smaller than it did on TV but it was very impressive.
We met up with a girl from our running club and her hubby (who also wasn’t running) and little daughter and chatted for a bit just waiting around. Then me and my friend headed to our start area. We were both in the red wave and this was the first wave to start.
Sir Chris Hoy (British Olympic gold medallist cyclist) opened the race and also introduced Victoria Pendleton (British Olympic gold medallist cyclist), Mel C (aka Sport Spice) and Paula Radcliffe (hero! Long distance legend) who were right at the front. Me and my friend were in the middle.
We did a crazy warm-up from some seriously enthusiastic guy and then we were off. Well, after a good minute as we shuffled towards the start.
Mile one was tough because there were so many people and the path was quite narrow at points. It was tricky to get ahead and was a bit of a nightmare trying to get past people.
Mile two the path became wider and we found our stride. I think a water station appeared around 2.5miles but I was OK so kept going. There was also a mist thing that you could run through to cool down. Though the weather wasn’t as hot as it has been, I was still quite hot so I ran through the mist. Lovely. I started to struggle though.
Mile three and it felt really hard. Psychologically it was tough because you could see the front runners doing a further part of the course. You knew what was to come. It also wasn’t a pancake flat course.
Mile four and I was really struggling. My friend was starting to get further away from me. We had both agreed that if one of us felt like stretching it out they should just go. Though it irked me that I couldn’t keep up. We’re around the same speed normally I think and it wounded my pride a little that I had no energy to catch her.
Mile five and I just wanted it to be over. I finally got into the stadium (albeit in a tunnel underneath the stands). They were playing out cheers and moments from the Olympics (from what I can gather) and it helped motivate me on. Then I got into the actual stadium onto the track and think I said out loud “thank God”. I had no oomph left for a sprint finish. I just wanted to get there.
I’m really happy with my time. It’s not a PB – it’s around a minute off. But I feel like it was a good effort considering I think I’ve lost a little bit of my speed since being injured (I know, I know: excuses, excuses!!) My only disappointment was not catching up with my friend. She finished 20 seconds ahead of me. Hey ho!
I was 66th girl so I’m really pleased with that considering there were around 7,000 females!
And the best part? I met Mel C! She finished just after me and in a really embarrassingly ‘OMG-I-love-celebrities-I’m-so-uncool’ kind of way I grabbed her for a photo. I’m mortified now looking back because when I asked her she was like “Can I just catch my breath first? I might throw up on you otherwise”. I die of shame. I like to think I’d be cool around celebrities. Wrong.
The 12 year old Spice Girl obsessed girl inside me is doing a dance
I even said afterwards “you have the same shorts as me!” *Shakes head in shame* Oh Anna, you’re so uncool.
I found Ben afterwards and we watched more runners finish and it was just brilliant. And there were so many did crazy sprint finishes!! As we headed out in search of the Mo Farah cardboard cut-out I spotted Maria from Running Cupcake with her partner. I felt a little bit like a stalker if I’m honest but I really wanted to say hi so I tapped her on the shoulder. (We had messaged each other beforehand to try and meet up at the stadium but we weren’t sure how it would work out considering it was such a big event).
It was lovely to have a quick chat with her – catch her recap of the race HERE. It’s always nice to actually hear someone’s voice after reading so much about them on their blog – does that sound weird? I quite like vlogs in that respect. Well, I can confirm she is as lovely as her blog is
And then we saw the Mo Farah cut-out.
Then we headed home! We checked the train times and found a train leaving in 40 minutes, so we got our skates on and aimed for that one. It was a bit stressful and we hadn’t eaten but we wanted to just get home. Rest assure though I snacked well on the train home to keep me going until lunch.
The event was brilliant. I loved the atmosphere, the hype and seeing the stadium. I didn’t enjoy the running part so much. It felt like a struggle and the scenery was a bit rubbish (it was kind of a building site) but running in the stadium was epic. I did feel bad a lot though as I knew Ben wanted to run but he couldn’t because I forgot to get him a ticket when I applied for mine. I KNOW, worst wife ever. Though in fairness, he is still injured…
So over all, a brilliant weekend!
Did you watch the Olympics when it was on? Have you been to the stadium before?
Who’s your favourite Olympian or athlete? Mo and Paula are high on my list!
Have you ever met a celebrity and/or been star struck?