A Day Pretending to be an Olympian

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.

Stratford

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…

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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!

Olympic Park

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.

Ben and Anna OS

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.

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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.

National Lottery Garmin

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!

National Lottery Results

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.

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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).IMG_4784

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 Smile

And then we saw the Mo Farah cut-out.

IMG_4786Then 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! Open-mouthed smile

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?

Day Trip to London

Happy Monday everyone! I had a great weekend, though it flew by far too fast as always.

Saturday morning I got up stupidly early and did my usual long run. I didn’t even mind getting up early, it was such a crisp clear morning and I felt energised.

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Then after getting ready and quickly eating some oatmeal, Ben dropped me off at the station and I headed off to London to see my lovely friends from university to celebrate one of their birthdays.

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I was worried the weather would be rubbish but thankfully the rain stayed away and, though it was chilly, the sun was out and it was a clear day. I enjoyed the journey by just chilling out and reading my Kindle.

We were all meeting in Camden. London and I tend to struggle at times as I am so bad with navigating my way around and catching the tube. Luckily it was just one journey on the Northern Line from Waterloo. Whew.

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Then I met up with the girlies in Nero coffee shop where we caught up. And then one of my friends announced she’s engaged!! This is so exciting, I’m so pleased for her Smile

Then after fuelling ourselves with caffeine we headed off into the crazy world of Camden.

Camden

I’ve only been to Camden once before so I was somewhat prepared. The shops are just full of crazy outfits and gothic paraphernalia… Really unique stuff. And there are lots of, erm, interesting looking individuals. One guy was walking around topless with just a kilt on.

We walked around Camden Lock Market, which was full of really strange and wonderful market stalls. Including a little café which sold liquid nitrogen ice cream!

Ice cream

We didn’t try any as it was quite expensive, but I was fully impressed!

And then went into the Stables Market. The Stables Market apparently used to be an old stables and it really felt that way.

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Again there were loads of little individual market stall-type shops selling everything you could imagine. Antique trinkets, vintage suitcase, old comics, crazy hand-made outfits.

Horse Tunnel

And I managed to haggle two dresses! I had taken £30 out of the cash machine before getting the train so buying lunch would be easy. But walking through the market I found a dress shop which was just full of pretty dresses all £20. I couldn’t decide between two dresses so I asked the man if he accepted card and he didn’t and I said “well I only have £30” and he let me have them! He tried to get me to pay £35 by I literally only have £30. I felt like I got a good bargain.

Dresses

OK they do look slightly similar but I couldn’t choose between them. Perfect for summer or with a cardigan and woolly tights or leggings for winter!

Then we started getting hungry so headed to a quaint little Italian restaurant aptly called Little Italy. We could see the chef making the pizzas and doing the crazy throwing-them-around thing which I desperately tried to get a photo of.

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Sort of worked…

I ordered a roasted vegetable and goat’s cheese pizza with added chicken.

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This was sublime. Absolutely delicious. The base was very thin and the toppings generous which is the perfect ratio I think! I hate overly doughy thick pizzas. Very authentic. They were all Italian in the restaurant as well which added to the experience.

Unfortunately though my friend Charlotte (who reads the blog, Hi Charlotte!) ordered a veggie version of a sausage calzone but it came choker full of sausage, but they were very apologetic and changed it straight away.

After finishing the entire pizza I was stuffed. And we all needed a good walk. So we headed to a park (Highgate Park) close to where the birthday girl lives for a nice bit of walking.

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Check out how beautiful that park is! And the view of London in the background is fantastic.

Highgate park

So lovely, I couldn’t believe we were still in London.

The houses round there were HUGE.

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They must cost an absolute fortune. Most of them weren’t broken into flats…

And then it was eventually time for home.

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I could just see the Shard in the distance as I was sat on the train going home

I thoroughly enjoyed seeing my friends; it’s always so great to see them and catch up. It only seems like yesterday we all graduated from Cardiff University but it was like four years ago now! I wish I could see them more but we all live in different places in the UK now. But we try to see each other every few months.

Sunday I just chilled and did some boring housework, including cleaning the dreaded oven. But a great weekend regardless!

What did you get up to this weekend?

Do you have friends who live far away? I have friends from before and after uni who live nearby and friends from uni who live a fair distance away.

What’s your favourite place in London? I don’t think I really know! I like the tourist bits and the shops hehe.