Monday, August 13, 2012

Post Olympic high

My vacation in the UK is over, and what a vacation it was. I promise to post some pictures soon when I've got them off the camera and iPhone but wanted to get some thoughts down.

I am passionate about the Olympic Games wherever they are held, but to have them in London was so special for me. I love London - always have, always will and I was thrilled to see the resurgence of modern architecture and vision in the heart of the city and out towards the East End. It is not possible to convey with words the excitement and pride going on in the UK at the moment. Our Nation also heaved a collective sigh of relief that there were no major foul-ups. There had been months of doom and gloom and the naysayers were out in force, but Seb Coe and his team got it done - and in style. As one commentator put it, it wasn't so much "I told you we could do it" as "My God, we actually pulled it off".   Acquiring tickets for the Stadium on middle Super Saturday was a wonderfully lucky pick. It was stupendous, with Mo Farah (he of the quiet extra laps in my last blog entry) putting on a consumate performance in the 10,000m to take gold. The noise when he was on the final straight went from ear-splitting to heart-stopping. And we were certainly putting in our tuppence worth. Then there was Jessica Ennis coming home for heptathlon gold in a blaze of glory winning the last event, the 800m, in front of her massed supporters. She had been built up as a "Face of the Games" by our media and has been front and center for over 2 years. When she took the first heptathlon event, the 100m hurdles, by the scruff of the neck in a new UK record I knew she meant business. How focused she was in the face of everything. Right under the stand we were in was the men's long jump and TeamGB's Greg Rutherford also took gold. I really liked that the crowd, including me Andrew and Phoebe, helped the other athletes with enthusiatic clapping for their run ups if they asked for it. Although we were partisan there was a strong sense that everyone wanted to see the best man on the night win, irrespective of nationality. And it was exciting to see Sanya Richards-Ross in the heats of the women's 400m. 

Phoebe and I also went to the Archery - where we both got to have a go!! We also went to the Taekwondo, but Phoebe said she'd rather fight than watch. It was great to see such packed crowds for most of the less followed sports. Apparently 80,000 showed up to some of the women's soccer games and I couldn't believe the crowds lining the streets for the Marathons - and piled up on the cliffs down in Weymouth for the sailing.

Other highlights for me came in the rowing, as that was my sport of choice in my 20s and 30s. Could Katherine Grainger get her gold after 3 successive silvers in Sydney, Athens and Beijing - and yes she did, and a tear or two came to my eye, not for the first or last time. Phoebe loved Gabby Douglas - what a find she was. Of course we raved over Bradley Wiggins in the time trial after he had won the Tour de France, and Andrew is growing some sideburns! Our track cyclists, men and women, were outstanding as were our Brownlees in the triathlon. David Rudisha's world record in the 800m, Mo Farah again in the 5000m. And who can forget the sprinters - the USA women and the Jamaican men. Spectacular. And there were all the human stories of athletes covered so ably by the BBC. You could watch any sport using the "red button".

We are taking a break and then it will be the Paralympics. Another, perhaps even greater, source of inspiration.
So now it is back into it for my own goal - today I signed up for Bandera 100K.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

To train or not to train

Friday afternoon at work, and I was in a bit of a downish mood. I didn't want to do anything other than laze around all weekend and drink a beer or two. I had weights and two longish runs scheduled, one on trail with hills and another hard effort on the road. I wanted so badly to just blow them off. Lucky for me I was following the BBC online sports feed.

A sports commentator made the following tweet which stuck with me and changed the course of my weekend. He was talking about Mo Farah - our Brit 5,000m star athlete who was competing on Friday at Crystal Palace in London. A pre-Olympic warm up meet.

Tom Fordyce wrote:

Nice moment at Palace after stadium emptied. Mo, fresh off 5,000m win, ran 3,000m hard & then 4x200m, each in 26 secs with 200 jog recovery. And that, when no-one is watching and the lights are down, is where gold medals are won and lost.

I might not be going to win any gold medals, but what Tom wrote applies to us all. It's not enough to want to win or do a good time on race day. You've got to want it during the training sessions. So I went by the Y on my way home, did my weights, did the trail run and the road run and can now type this knowing I put the effort in to do well at Bandera and my other goal races. At least for now. Mostly I am motivated to train, but there are times when I just plain want to be lazy. I will try to remember Mo Farah, and all the other people who get out there and work hard when nobody is watching.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The ups and downs of sport

What a rollercoaster summer for British sports fans:
1) Soccer: England lose on penalties in the Euro cup
2) Murray gets to Wimbledon singles final
3) Marray wins in the Mens Doubles
4) Murray can't hold off Fed - no disgrace there tho
5) England whitewash the Aussies in the one day cricket - sorry Amanda if you're reading ;)
6) Adam Gemili does 10.05 to win world junior 100m
7) Wiggo holding the yellow jersey in TdF (and Froomey not far behind)

and the Olympics is still to come!!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Speeding up - slowly

2nd place in age group tonight at the Sunstroke Summer Stampede at Brushy Creek 5k. Tried to get under 29 mins but just missed it. Very humid after the rain. I tell you I have forgotten how to really push over a short distance. I'm so used to conserving energy for the long haul. There was just one point tonight where I felt sick, and I thought "Oh yeah, I remember that feeling." Need to work harder at working harder. But I'm enjoying this and it is great to be done with a race in less than half an hour!

Monday, July 9, 2012


At last - the second toenail on the left is off. I only pulled it a little bit, honest. The right came off last week. Perhaps they'll grow back less like claws this time. Too much information? It's all part of the game on this blog, so get used to it.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Here's a link to my 100 miler report on the Hill Country Trail Runners website.

Also, check out my coach's awesome blog Run More Talk Less (which is a pretty funny name if you know her)
Here's what the timing people said:

We've researched your issue. It looks like they unfortunately may have given you the wrong bib number. You were originally assigned 2187, and it looks like you ran with 2287. Your time was 29:14, and did place you 3rd in your AG. We will update the results online.

So that's good. Got a little chest infection going on. Will take it easy this weekend and do my social networking!