So, be warned, this is going to be a long one!
This morning we were up bright and early- we put suncream on, got dressed (I decided on my vest in the end as I was worried I would be too hot in the t-shirt) and headed out the door pretty quick (although I ended up having to put on my trainers and do my hair in the car!)- we made it to the train station with 5 mins to spare, and then the train took about 20 minutes to get to Stratford- we were in the park by 8.30am. We stopped outside to have a clif bar each and some water. There were already crowds about- I had my photo taken with Mo (well, a cardboard version of him!) and we went to have a look in the stadium.
There were loads to choose from with different slogans- some about the Mo-bot, but I liked this one and the one that said “follow me to the finish”- but that had a queue!
It was overcast, which of course was great for this time of year.
We went to the bag drop (Andy used it as he would be finished first)- and then wandered around a bit more before heading to the starter pens. I was very excited by this point and enjoyed the warm up (full of the now compulsory cheesiness of doing the Mo-bot and the Usain Bolt thingy. When they introduced the elite runners (Sporty Spice, Victoria Pendleton and Paula Radcliffe) the man next to me I am sure inched away
The start was so well organised- each wave went off, then they moved the next wave along and we had a pep talk from Sir Chris Hoy which was good too. There was a big screen so people were running past the start line, then stopping and taking photos of him!
My wave went off at 10.20am, pretty much bang on time. I had moved towards the front (a few metres back) and I had no congestion at all- some parts were narrower but by those points the people around me had spread out. The first couple of miles were fine- I was going pretty fast (each time I glanced at my watch I was doing 9.09-9.20 pace) but there were a few slopes which meant I slowed. The route at times was great- some of the park was set out with pretty coloured lanterns, some of the fences had posters covered with events. At lots of points we doubled back so you could always see the faster runners ahead, and see where the route was going next. The water station was after 2 miles, and I didn’t have any because I was feeling fine then. Shortly before the 3 mile marker was a water station- I didn’t run through it (because then my glasses get all misty and I can’t see) but I ran next to it where I could see the pavement was wet, and did get a nice fine mist to cool me a little, as by then, even though it was still overcast, it was extremely hot. I had taken my glasses off to wipe them when I heard Andy shout to me- he was passing above me in the opposite direction (coming up to 4 miles I think)- I think because I was being a rebel and not wearing blue I was easy for him to spot. That gave me a little boost, which I needed as the slope then got steeper and the running got tougher- when I looked at my watch then I was doing 10.20.
I was entertaining myself with people watching on the course- a man went to do a wee after less than half a mile, there were people in Minnie Mouse ears, a man with music so loud I thought we were coming up to a music station, people in full length running tights, people with hydration backpacks (surely it would just give you a sweaty back?), people chugging energy gels…. All the marshalls were enthusiastic and having some banter with the crowd. Someone near me had a birthday badge on so they were being mentioned by them all. At one point a girl went to overtake me but slowed beside me- I looked at her and she said “Thoosa twin!” and then carried on (her vest was a Thoosa one too). The 4 mile marker came and by this point we were back near the stadium, and could hear the crowd cheering, and the tannoy system going. I had reached that point in 38 minutes, so I was hopeful I could get sub 50 minutes. With half a mile to go we headed down into the stadium (a road entrance)- we had to run inside a concrete tunnel thing- my, it was hot in there. Chariots of fire was playing and I did shout “YES!” at this point as I was envisaging the music playing all week when I thought about it.
Then, we were out into the stadium (although it was an annoying song that was playing- an abs body pump song from a few times ago)- 300m to go- the tannoy announcer was shouting about how it was a spring finish- not for me! I was trying to run! I did look around and try to take it all in and I was grinning for England. I realised I was on the outside of the track so I moved over. 200m to go and a man rocketed past me so fast- where did he get that energy from (maybe an energy gel was not such a bad idea???) and then the 100m to go and the finish line! It was all very exciting! Especially as the clock for my green wave was saying 48 minutes- a new pb!
As soon as we crossed the finish line we were ushered along but I did get my phone out and take a few photos (I am glad at these times I don’t have a touch screen as that does not mix with sweaty hands!!).
(I also had to avoid the marshall directing people around the big pile of sick covered in sawdust- on second thoughts maybe the energy gels were not such a good idea).
Then we were sent back into the under tunnel bit (I am sure it has a proper name) with the promise of goody bags containing water- by this point I was super thirsty and trying to lick my teeth to make my mouth less dry. As soon we I got inside there was no breeze and the sweat was just pouring off me- I did have a tissue in my little bum bag so used that, but it was really horrible. Eventually I found a bag and joined the queue to get back upstairs to try and find Andy.
I walked to the green area meeting up bit, and took a few photos as there were runners still pouring onto the track.
I walked down to the fence but couldn’t see him so headed back outside.
Then, I had a lovely surprise. I found Andy and was just persuading him to come back inside the stadium and take my photo, when I was tapped on the shoulder by the lovely Anna! We had messaged each other and hoped to meet up but it was very busy- I am still very impressed she managed to find me! We had a little chat about how we had found the race (Anna is an amazing runner and had managed an impressive time – similar to Paula’s time I think??- Paula did 32.27)-it was so lovely to meet another blogger even if I was covered in sweat!
Then I got my photo in the stadium!
I then headed to the bathrooms (I loved the fact we could use the stadium toilets and not port-a-loos) with my baby wipes and changed into fresh clothes- lovely.
We knew (from our trip to the Olympics last summer) that there was a Pinkberry, so we went there to cool down (we shared a medium which was massive- mango and salted caramel). Brain freeze!
Our train was at 12.45, and we were home by half 1 which was lovely (time for a shower!).
My official time was 48.19 which I am very pleased with, especially with the hot weather.
The medal is lovely too- with the date on one side and then the quote “I followed in the footsteps of legends” on the other. I loved it- the route was not the most scenic (they are doing a lot of building work around the park) but the atmosphere was great, and how many times do you get the chance to run on an Olympic track?
Phew, that is one of my longest ever recaps! As you can see, I did enjoy it!
13 thoughts on “Back to the stadium!!”
Well done on an amazing race, glad that you embraced the whole experience and really enjoyed it too. 🙂
Thanks- it was really great and I hope they do it again next year 🙂
What an amazing time and great race!
Well done on a new pb! I’m glad you had a good time 🙂
Well done! That sounds like a great day and how lovely to have met up with Anna too!
Great recap! It was a great day for definite 🙂 When I first walked into the stadium before the race I got all goose bumped. It was just incredible! I’d never seen the stadium before other than on Tv so it was a great moment. Congrats on your PB! Haha I wish I was as fast as Paula. I did beat Sporty Spice though hehe.
It was lovely to meet you, even though we were a bit sweaty 🙂
Well done for beating her- didn’t they say she was doing triathlons or something? Very impressive still!
Yes, lovely to meet you too- I am still so impressed you managed to find me amongst all the people.
Oh wow I got all goose bums reading your recap, sounds amazing & wish I had made the effort to enter the ballot now.
Well done on a fantastic pb xx
Hopefully they will do it again, as they did it last year (but I didn’t get in).
Well done on a new PB! Especially in the heat we’ve had lately and you not being so well in the run-up to the race. I like it when the faster runners double back and you can cheer each other on on the way round. Looks like you had a great day! 🙂
Yes I love that too- it is great to see everyone else on the way around.
Loved reading this recap Maria (and well jealous of all those you made it to the stadium, must have been so emotional… And congratulations on your PB, great stuff! I love meeting bloggers when running races too, it’s lovely to have some friendly faces around 🙂
Sounds like such a good experience. Well done on the PB! I can’t believe people were taking on energy gels for a 5 mile race?!