Monday, 18 April 2011
What a weekend!
Having looked forward to a weekend away for so many months, the excitement was building very nicely when all of a sudden my train of thought was turned upside down. 'I'm not going to be running London as I'm injured would you like my place (you've done all the training after all!)' was the text message which appeared on my phone from Nikos. My heart missed a beat and then began to race, thoughts that I could run this year after all were looming around my head, reliving a dream I had a few months ago that I had been offered a place, exclaiming to Alison and Dawn on a training run 'Friday night's dream, told Saturday morning comes true', not that I believed it for one minute but I can oft recall my Mum saying the self same thing many, many times! I addressed the possibility with my husband Martin, the expression on his face, however, gave me my answer immediately. He then went on to explain why he did not want me to run. Giving me the reasons why he felt like this didn't make me feel any better. I reasoned with it all in my head, perhaps if he had given me the choice then I might not have wanted to run. As it was now I began to think the weekend was ruined. I would be unable to forgive him for not letting me take the chance to run so we wouldn't enjoy the trip to London anyway. Hours later I seemed to come to my senses and realise how we had looked forward to the weekend away without the stress of the marathon, we would be able to travel around, see the sights and generally enjoy ourselves and then watch the race on Sunday. His negative reaction to the news that I may well run after all was of course, well and truly justified.
So now I could sit back and enjoy giving my support to the runners!
Boarding the coach on Friday morning everyone was buzzing, milling around, discussing this, that and the other. The journey down to London didn't seem to take too long and before we knew it there was the familiar sight of the Expo. Once inside the sights, sounds, queues to register and pick up numbers and timing chips were all too familiar and it seemed only yesterday that I was in those queues myself.
Photos taken, shopping done, well wishers wall written on, we boarded the bus to continue our journey to the hotel. Again, all too familiar, we checked in and were all allocated our room numbers. Down for evening meal at 8 - the start of a great weekend was signalled.
Helen, Janice & I met early Saturday morning to go for a run in place of our planned London parkrun, we had been assured it would take us over an hour to reach our nearest one and also make it difficult to make the return journey back to the hotel in time for breakfast and so we agreed to a jog around Canary Wharfe. How lovely it was too. We found ourselves eventually in the beautiful surroundings of The King Edward Memorial Park, nearly a parkrun then, just not quite!
Saturday was our 'free' day. Martin and I decided that after our run we would hop on a Thames Clipper boat and head to London's Soho district. Martin had years ago helped his former boss to move the contents of his Lexington Street art gallery and picture framers up to Bradford and he said he would like to take a trip down memory lane. We also agreed we would like to look around Carnaby Street. Hours later after much to-ing and fro-ing we had fulfilled our expectations and much, much more, taking in many of the famous tourist areas, Regent Street, Oxford Street, Piccadilly, Chinatown, Pandora, The National Gallery, Hamleys, St James Park, etc etc, we wearily made our way back to the Thames Clipper to return to the hotel to prepare to surprise Janice with a pre-arranged get together. I put in a request to the hotel manager to seat our whole group together for dinner so that we could surprise Janice for her 50th Birthday with balloons, cards, pressies and a cake!
After a full and eventful Saturday we all retired to bed at a reasonable hour and I woke early next morning with thoughts of how the runners would all be feeling. I hastily got dressed and went down to the dining room to find Dawn, Sophie and Gill sitting eating breakfast, they all seemed fairly relaxed and after breakfast off they went back to their rooms to make their final preparations. I came back down just before 7:30 to wave them off to the start. The hotel was a hive of activity with runners making their final preparations and leaving the hotel. I went back to our room to continue watching the marathon coverage on the TV before going outside to find our spot opposite the hotel, mile 18 of the route, behind the barriers! I can honestly say it was a very emotional, energy sapping few hours as we anxiously waited to catch a glimpse of our ERR runners and the many other familiar faces including friends, other club runners, celebrities etc. I never realised how difficult it is to spot someone amongst the crowds of runners. You are fully aware when you're running just how many people are around you but it's impossible to imagine how difficult it it for your friends and family to pick you out of the masses!
Thankfully we managed to spot all of our runner and sadly we missed a whole lot of others. Oh well maybe next year!
All that remains is to say how immensely proud it felt to be part of that epic journey for the runners from our club and a few others. I am immensely proud of their achievements and am truly thankful to have now been able to experience the London Marathon from both sides of the fence!
I'm now excitedly awaiting the opening of the ballot for the 2012 (Olympic year) marathon on 26th April!