Cakeathon!

There are plenty of things that you can try your best to prepare for on race day.  Is it going to be sunny? – Do you need to take suncream?  Have you packed enough fuel for the race?  Do you need to take a drinks bottle or will there be drinks stations along the way?  How do you intend to pace the course?  Do you have to navigate the route?…
All of those things are relatively straight forward when it comes to preparing for a race but just how do plan to adjust pacing when you get Braxton Hicks contractions during mile two of the event?!

The Cakeathon is an event which has been penned into my calendar for months now.  I booked my place on it last August, twelve whole months ago, and long before I got my positive pregnancy test.

I’d already tried and failed to enter two other Cakeathon events, after lusting over Anna’s Cakeathon medal last year.  The guys at Saxons, Vikings and Normans put on another event though and I managed to get signed up before all the places went on that one!  When I got my positive pregnancy test back in January, I knew that unless something happened I still intended on getting to the start line of Cakeathon.  Even if I only ended up walking one or two laps in the time limit, I wanted that medal!  Look at it…!

Medal at the Cakeathon race

In my eagerness to get signed up for the event, I didn’t really look at how far away it was…Down in Kent, so nearly a three hour drive on Bank Holiday Monday!  I figured it would be alright on the day though, and when I posted about it on Facebook, another lady from my running club – Jenny – decided to also come along for the event.  (Annoyingly, in the past month, SVN has now also put on a Cakeathon event in Northampton for next April!  A half hour journey from me!)

So, at 35 weeks pregnant, I picked Jenny up at 6am and we made the (relatively stress-free) journey down to Betteshanger Park in Kent, arriving just before 9am.

I’ve never crossed the Dartford Bridge before and had no idea how it worked.  Luckily Jenny said she’d sort payment for that, as I only caught a glimpse of one sign which said ‘Look for us online.  Pay within 24 hours.’  That was it!  No web address, no details of fees…nothing!  I guess it’s more straight forward if you are aware of the charge or regularly travel down that way, but had Jenny and Dan not mentioned anything to me I would have been completely oblivious to having to make any kind of charge!

I love that we passed a place named ‘Ham’ on the drive down, and a few minutes later, passed a place called ‘Sandwich’!  We were on the lookout then for ‘Tuna’ and ‘Cheese’!

Ham Sandwich

Race briefing was due to start at 9:20, with the actual start of the race at 9:30am.  Just time to plait my hair up out of my face, nip to the loo and grab my race number from race registration.

The event lasts for six hours, and you can complete as many laps as you wish during that time.  Each lap consists of 4.4 miles.  If you just wanted to run one lap, then stop and claim your medal, that would be fine.  Whereas, some runners completed eight laps on the day.  As long as you had begun your last lap before the six hours were up, you would be allowed to finish it, so some finishing times would be more than 6 hours.  (Follow all that?!)
As you’d expect at an event like this, there were a lot of runners from the 100 Marathon Club, and quite a few people hoping to achieve marathon distance, as there is no pressure of a DNF (Did Not Finish) at an event like this.  You could stop after just one lap, and still be classed as a finisher with a recorded time and distance.

It was a really hot day.  I’d managed to prepare for the event pretty well, remembering a towel, change of clothes, hoodie, Garmin, cap…but forgotten any form of suncream for the day.  I should have known the day would be hot.  That’s how all the races I enter seem to be!

Race number at the Cakeathon race(Number looking daft perched on the front of my bump!)

There were just over 100 runners on the start line when we set off for our first lap of the park.  We headed round in a clockwise direction and the route set off along a narrow man-made dirt track along some water. and over a couple of little flat bridges.  I did think the race organisers were rather trusting of runners on the course, as we ran out for about a mile and a half before taking a large loop and then coming back along the same mile and a bit to the checkpoint again.  There wasn’t anywhere to dip in or be checked off for having reached the far end of the park and it would have been fairly easy for runners not to complete the full lap.

Cakeathon course

Some of the runners had made a real effort in their outfits.  There were a couple wearing cartoon-cake-adorned vest tops or tights, and one woman even came dressed as the Marshmallow Man!  Although it must have been boiling in that suit.  I didn’t see her again after the first lap so I’m not sure how many laps she completed in the end.

Marshmallow lady at the Cakeathon race

My game plan for the day was to start off by running as much as I was able to – knowing that the day would only get hotter and I would only become more tired as the race went on.  I’ve not run more than 20 miles during my pregnancy (and this was quite early on).  I ran a half marathon in May, but other than that the majority of my runs have been parkrun (5k distance) or 6-10 miles.  I have been walking for a couple of hours each day though, so feel I’ve still retained a large amount of fitness and willpower to continue.  My legs feel even stronger than when I was purely running all the time.  (Something which I hope will remain with me when I return to running ultras in 2017 and have a need to walk during periods of an event.)

I ran the entire first mile at an easy pace.  There was a steep but short hill at the start of mile two, so I power walked up this and wasn’t the only one.  There were three hills in total, with the first one possibly being the steepest, although nothing overly challenging.

Hill at the Cakeathon raceThere was a distinct lack of shade out on the course though.  Possibly two, maybe three shady areas.  And by a shady area, I purely only mean that there were two or three large bushes clumped together, casting a shadow on the track.  I thought that there would have been a little more shade out on the course as it was run through such a large park, and I associate parks with trees and woodland, but all greenery was quite low to the ground and not offering very much shelter!  There was a nice breeze out there though, which prevented us from getting over hot.

About half way through my second mile I started getting Braxton Hicks contractions.  They weren’t painful so I knew they weren’t the real deal(!) but made it uncomfortable to run at any pace, so I let them dictate my run-walk sections for the rest of the event.  As I’ve mentioned previously, you’re supposed to be more likely to experience them if you are mildly dehydrated, and with the heat of the day and the fact that I hadn’t grabbed a drink in between the drive over and starting the race that was possibly the reason why they started up for me.  After about four miles I gave Dan a call just to check he was OK with me continuing.  He was happy for me to do so as long as I was sensible and listened to my body, which I continued to do throughout.

At the start of lap two I managed to take the wrong path.  (Only me!)  I had my head down and hadn’t really been concentrating so just followed the track, whereas we’d turned off the main path when we’d run the first loop.  I doubted myself when the track bent round to the right, heading up a hill I didn’t recognise and paused, only to hear a child from a fair distance behind shout that I was going the wrong way!  I shot him a thumbs up and clambered over the mound in between the two paths and carried on my way.  Luckily, no-one else saw my rookie error(!)

Jenny passed me just before the end of lap two and we set out on the third lap together.  Although I have a very quick walking pace, when she did break into a run for longer periods of time, I was unable to keep up with her if I was having another BHC.

I do still feel very fit, and even if I walked until the end, I knew I would be able to complete six hours at this point.

At the end of her third lap, Jenny walked back to find me and say that she was going to stop at the half marathon distance, so I gave her my car keys so that she could get her things from my car.  I asked if she minded if I continued, and she didn’t.  So, after a bite of brownie (my cake of choice from the checkpoint each lap!) and a swig of water I headed back out again for lap number four.

I was still feeling strong.  The BHC had eased somewhat, but my stomach was feeling rather tight from having had so many over the previous couple of hours, so I stuck mainly to a power walk for this lap.  The guy currently in fourth place walked with me for a while and we chatted races and training, as is so easy to do with other runners, even if they are strangers!  He left me after a couple of miles and wished me well for my next couple of weeks which was nice.  Everybody was so super friendly out on the course.  Even though we were running laps, (and laps which came back on themselves as well) almost every time you passed someone they would say ‘Well done’, or ‘Good work’ or something similar.  Some of the other runners and I must have crossed paths ten or eleven times, yet still every time we each called out words of encouragement to each other.

After the runner I had been with ran on I did a few calculations and realised that I would actually be able to tick off a marathon within the time limit if I continued at the pace I had been moving at.  Because I’m a fairly quick walker, even when I had been walking for long stints, my walking pace was falling under 15 minutes per mile.  I rang Dan again to get his opinion on whether or not he thought I should continue to marathon distance if I continued to feel good.  It would obviously be my slowest marathon, but would still count towards the 100 marathons I eventually want to tick off.  Again, he had no problems with it as long as I listened to my body.

Once I got off the phone to Dan though, I needed the toilet.  The toilets were positioned on the course in such a way that you either had to scramble down a sharp incline to reach them from about mile 2.5 on the course (a point I had already passed), or head past the checkpoint for a way to reach them in between laps.
I felt a little guilty for leaving Jenny potentially sat out for a further three hours and also, I didn’t want anyone to think I was taking excess risks by striving to complete marathon distance.  In the end, I decided I didn’t have anything to prove.  I should easily be able to tick off a few more marathons in 2017 and that I would call it a day at the end of lap 4, so just collect my medal, goodie bag and wander over to the toilets without the need to rush back out on the course again.

Each of the times you pass through the checkpoint you get a card punched to say how many laps you have completed.  When you decide to finish completely, you get to ring a bell to signify that it is the end of your race.  The lady on timing then logs your race number, number of laps and time taken to complete.  I was logged as completing 4 laps in 4h 31m 51s.  60th place out of 129 runners.

As the lady jotted down my time she casually asked how many weeks pregnant I was.  When I responded with ’35’ she told me that in which case I was the most pregnant runner they had ever had at one of their events before.

Me at the Cakeathon race

What I presume to be the Race Director also came over to have a chat, and asked if I would like a ‘half marathon’ badge pinned to my medal as I had completed over half marathon distance.  He then also pinned a ‘PB Today!’ badge on, as I was the Pregnant Best!  Haha!Medal at the Cakeathon race

They told me that one of the ladies helping out on the cake stand was also pregnant and a few weeks behind me, but she had stopped running several weeks ago now.  So I went over to go and have a chat with her about running through pregnancy and races in general.  It’s nice to be in an environment where people think I’m totally crazy for wanting to run through my pregnancy.  I would have gone totally crazy if I had been unable to run though!Medal at the Cakeathon race

Love this medal!  Check out the size of it.  It is literally as big as my face!

I love the detail on it is well.  There are loads of different varieties of cake written in small letters inside the word ‘Cakeathon’ at the bottom.
Medal at the Cakeathon raceThe goodie bag was obviously also top notch and contained two bags of crisps, two large sharing bars of chocolate and two individual sized ones, along with a can of cider.  The lady that gave me my goodie bag at the finish asked if I wanted to swap my cider for coke after seeing my bump, but it was just as the Race Director came over to talk to me, so I never got a chance to respond.  Clearly she thought I needed the cider more in the end!  It’s going to have to sit in my fridge for another few weeks yet though!Goodie bag at the Cakeathon race

I’ve just been lusting over some of the other awesome themed events on the SVN website that they put on over the year – Beerathon, Chocathon and the Marathon Day Marathon (run on the 26th of February!)

Cakeathon – have you run it before?  Or is it now on your bucket list of races?!

35 weeks pregnant

35 weeks pregnant and baby is now the size of a winter melon.  (I’d not heard of these before, but apparently they are an Asian variety of melon.)  The baby is somewhere around 18 inches long and 5 1/4lbs now.

35 weeks pregnant(Poor lighting in the bedroom at night – sorry!)

Appointments

This week my midwife appointment didn’t go so well.  I arrived first thing in the morning rather flustered and feeling a little weak, although with no good reason.  The temperature had cooled somewhat by the time Thursday rolled round and I’d had breakfast not long earlier so should have had enough energy to get me through until lunchtime.

My midwife started by taking my blood pressure, which appeared normal and then tested my urine, which showed a trace of sugar.  A trace showed at my last appointment also, when I was told just once was nothing to be concerned about, but if it happened a second time, that I would have the test for gestational diabetes, just to be on the safe side.  As I was at low risk for gestational diabetes in the first place (BMI under 30, no diabetes in my close family) it is not normally offered unless a trace is shown during a midwife appointment.  Following my midwife appointment I had to go and make an appointment for the gestational diabetes test at my local blood clinic a few miles up the road.  (My appointment is booked in for a week on Thursday.  I need to fast from 10pm on the Wednesday evening, then they will take a blood sample from me on arrival on the Thursday morning, give me a super sugary drink (yuk!), wait a couple more hours and test my blood again.  Not an appointment I’m looking forward to.)

When I went to climb on to the bed so that the midwife could locate the baby I immediately felt lightheaded and dizzy.  I got as far as rolling up my top to reveal my stomach before having to roll over onto my left side to try and stop the world spinning.  My midwife brought a cup of water over to try and help make me feel a little better.  After a few minutes I felt well enough to lie on my back again and so the midwife had a feel of my tummy to locate the baby.

Next snag.  On locating the baby, the midwife informed me that it still had it’s head up in my ribs and bum sticking out on the right, lower side of my stomach, just like at the last appointment.  By now the baby should have turned and be head down, getting ready for delivery.
Our baby, is not.
I was told that if at the next appointment on Sept 8th the baby was still in the breech position then I would be taken for a scan to determine the exact location of the baby and from there we would be able to discuss delivery options (which I took to mean a cesarean – something I really do not want).  I questioned if there was anything that could be done to turn the baby and was told that often (and in my case), women who are fairly active and work out have much stronger stomach muscles, which can prevent the baby from turning inside ready for delivery.  So I guess it’s just cross fingers and hope for the next fortnight.

As the midwife went to collect the doppler from her desk I began to feel really faint again, despite being in a lying down position.  I managed to hold off saying anything until she had located the baby’s heartbeat before speaking up and being allowed to roll over onto my side again.  Rather annoyed at my body for feeling so weak and not letting me hear the heartbeat for very long though.  I was fine for the walk home.

The baby doesn’t seem to have grown again either, staying at 31cms when measured this week, the same as it measured at 32.5 weeks pregnant.  Again though, the midwife didn’t seem too concerned about this.

Social

I had a little mini meltdown after my midwife appointment which had been building for a while.  I know people will expect to be able to come and visit at some point after we have had the baby, but our house still needs so much work doing to it.  Especially the downstairs, where people will be visiting us.  We’re really running out of time, having struggled to find a plasterer for so long, which caused delays with everything else.  I had hoped for the house to be finished ready for Dan’s birthday a few weeks back, but there isn’t a single room complete yet, Dan has already returned to work, I go back on Thursday this week and we have every weekend booked up with something before the baby is due now.  I don’t really want people to visit our incomplete house.  (I know they will be visiting us, and not care what the house looks like, but I care.)

Our busiest week is in a fortnight.  We have a wedding in Norfolk on the Saturday, a christening in Peterborough on the Sunday, a funeral in Norfolk on the Wednesday, and then I have volunteered to help crew at the Round Norfolk Relay race in Norfolk the following weekend, also fitting in with meeting up with a friend from Norfolk who had her baby over this past weekend.  I’m not looking forward to all of the traveling over that week – it will be a lot of miles, and also most likely my busiest marking week at work then too.
Just 22 days (maximum) left at work now though.  The two training days at the end of this week, followed by four weeks of teaching.  (This could potentially be much less depending on impending baby-arrival or if I end up having to have a cesarean.)

Purchases

Two of my friends had babies over the weekend – one on Friday night, and one Monday morning.  Both boys.  I feel like I should get a bulk batch of ‘Congratulations!’ cards in this year!  Of my six friends who were/are pregnant this year (four of whom were bridesmaids at my wedding!) there has so far been a boy born in January, a girl in April, two boys this weekend, Dan and I are due with an ‘unknown’ in five weeks, with another ‘unknown’ and a girl due in December.

Dan picked up a large gym ball for me this week as one of the alleged ways you can try and turn a baby before birth is by bouncing on a gym ball for an hour each evening.  I’m not sure how much truth there is in this, but it’s easy enough to fit in whilst I’m eating my tea or catching up on emails!  Another supposed way of turning the baby is by hanging off the back of the sofa upside-down with your legs up in the air.  I probably won’t have a go at this one quite so much, but I’m prepared to give anything a shot!

I also bought £117 worth of food for meal prep at Tesco earlier in the week (post to follow) so that I could crack on with stocking up my freezer with healthy meals for when I come out of hospital after having the baby.  I actually expected to spend much more than this, but I’ve already cooked up 17 meals ready for the freezer, with three packs of sausages, a pack of beef and another two chickens to cook up, along with a lot of veg to prep.  Looking forward to not having to live on pizza and chips post-baby and not having to wash up or stand and peel vegetables!  (Although I was rather tired on Sunday evening after standing at the hob for the majority of the afternoon.)

Shopping list for batch meal prep

Running

Some good runs again this week, including a new parkrun (to me) at Market Harborough on Saturday in my fastest time since April, despite chatting the whole way round.  Other than feeling fairly slow and cumbersome, I didn’t really feel pregnant at all during this run which was nice!

I took a rest day on Sunday as I was due to run the Cakeathon down in Kent on Monday, (full recap to follow) where I decided to stop at four laps (just short of 18 miles), mainly due to not wanting anyone to think I was taking excess risks.  I was tempted to make it up to marathon distance though!  Fab event, with a really friendly team and great bunch of other runners, although it was super hot out there yesterday.  Quite a lot of those 18 miles included long walking sections amongst the running due to the large number of Braxton Hicks contractions my body decided to have.  (Thanks body!)

Running at the Kent Cakeathon event at 35 weeks pregnant

Running has become just two runs a week in recent weeks, mainly due to time constraints, which I can’t see changing in the near future. (See the ‘social’ section above!)

I’ve still been completing the 10,000 step daily challenge I set for myself way back in the early days of pregnancy though, which I’ve been logging on my Garmin account.  There were a few days way back when I missed out on my target by a small margin, but I’ve now completed at least 10,000 steps for the last 46 days continuously and I’m still going strong!  I’ve been out walking for probably 2 hours each day over the Summer, and I think this has a lot to play in why I still feel so healthy and happy.  I would literally go crazy if I had been confined to the house and was unable to get out in this weather.  (I’m really hoping I don’t have to have a cesarean for that reason.)

10,000 steps a day for 46 days - Garmin Connect

Symptoms

Sleep was so much better this week!  I’m still waking up occasionally with leg cramps, (pregnancy leg cramps are luckily in no way as painful as running leg cramps!) but am able to fall back asleep fairly quickly again afterwards.  I’ve been going to bed a little later in the evening over the past fortnight, which I think has helped.  Hopefully I’ll continue to be able to get enough sleep when school starts up again, as I don’t fancy teaching bottom set year 10 on two hours of sleep!

As briefly mentioned above, yesterday I experienced my longest bout of Braxton Hicks contractions (probably over the course of 100 minutes) whilst at the Cakeathon race.  Annoyingly they started at mile two of the event and I wasn’t able to run through each one as they were too uncomfortable, instead choosing to run around the times they were taking place.  I could continue to walk through them, albeit at a slower walking pace than I would normally travel.  It’s such a weird feeling to have your stomach suddenly turn rock hard whilst running!  I had researched a little online after having some BHCs during a run at 34 weeks and it seems that you are OK to continue exercising through them.  Only if they become actual contractions or turn painful is there the need to stop completely.  As I mentioned last time, they are often brought on by slight dehydration, so the fact that yesterday was such a sunny and warm bank holiday day was probably where they stemmed from.

I’m still lucky enough not to have any stretch marks, although my bump has remained fairly small and compact in size.  I’m much more comfortable with my bump size now than I was.  Worst thing I probably did whilst not really showing a few months back was to click on #28weekspregnant in Instagram and see women looking much more pregnant than I do even now when I now just have a few weeks left to go!  Everybody’s pregnant body is different though.

You can read all of my previous pregnancy posts here.

Have you ever set yourself an activity or steps target?
Any upcoming weddings/christenings to go to?  
We have three weddings (Sept, Oct and Nov) and two upcoming christenings (Sept, Oct) this year.

59 parkruns, 10 courses

On Saturday I took my parkrun course total up to 10.  The last three new parkrun courses I’ve added to my total have been ticked off over these Summer holidays…I’ve really gotten into this parkrun tourism malarkey!  Just need some more to pop up nearby now!  The new Kettering parkrun course (about a 20 minute drive away) has been announced to start on 24th September.  Best just hope I’m still running by then!

Kettering parkrun start date

As most weeks, this week I headed to parkrun with Laura, who had already run the Market Harborough course, so filled me in on the route as we were walking over for the briefing.

At the briefing we were told that the Market Harborough parkrun had recently put in a bid to the British Heart Foundation for a grant for a defib and training kit which had been successful.  The parkrun will be putting on sessions to train anybody who is interested in learning how to use the kit.  At their very first parkrun back in April 2015 a man collapsed, and the air ambulance had to attend the event.  The gentleman recovered, but not what you expect to happen at your first event.  Makes you realise just how important it is to keep your ICE number on your barcode up to date.

Laura tried to explain the course to me on the way over but I got confused, although being towards the back of the pack is never an issue as you can always just follow the person in front of you!  Basically, I think we ran a little section, then three big loops before cutting off to head towards the finish.  I think(!)  I just kept running until my watch said 3 miles and then took the finish turn!

Market Harborough parkrun course

The route takes you through the beautiful gardens at Welland park along a narrow track.  Although completely flat (just 4ft elevation in total), I can’t imagine it being a particularly fast course as there were quite a lot of turns and the path was only wide enough for two people to run alongside each other.  We were slightly bottlenecked at the beginning, but it gave me a chance to warm up properly and let my legs wake up a little.  Everybody overtaking had to step off the track and run along the grass to get past those in front of them.  Despite this, and the large numbers of runners (273 in total), the run had a lovely atmosphere, and a proper community vibe about it.  As the course was three laps, it meant that nobody was ever alone and you weren’t always entirely sure which lap those around you were on either!

There was a little bit of a queue to get scanned at the finish, but nobody seemed to mind, and everybody was chatting to those around them in the queue.  One of the barcode scanners was actually the guy who came through the finish first, which is always nice to see.

Finish at the Market Harborough parkrun course

Mile 1: 11:10
Mile 2: 10:53
Mile 3: 10:24
Nubbin (0.11m): 8:20mm pace

Another Royal Flush Negative Split and my fastest parkrun since April!  I’ll take that at nearly 35 weeks pregnant!

Market Harborough parkrun garmin time

Garmin time: 33:21
Official time: 
33:22
Position: 
218/273
Gender position: 
80/123
Age category position: 
4/6

Sweaty pic of me at the finish.

Market Harborough parkrun finish

Copies of Runner’s World and Men’s Health magazines were being given out at the finish, although as we were a little while getting there, Laura got the last copy of Runner’s World.  I spotted quite a few runners dotted around the park on various perches settling down to read through the magazines after their run!

We couldn’t spend too long mooching around Market Harborough (which incidentally seemed like a really nice town) as Laura and I were heading to Jeyes in Earls Barton with Steph to celebrate her engagement.  This called for Afternoon Tea.

Afternoon tea at Jeyes, Earls BartonWe’ve decided that it is our mission to test out all of the Afternoon Teas in Northamptonshire during the coming months.  Laura is returning from injury, Steph is still injured and I’m about to have a few weeks where I won’t be able to run following childbirth…but we can still all eat cake!

Afternoon tea at Jeyes, Earls Barton(Pic stolen from Laura)

Sandwiches were; egg and cucumber, ham and tomato, salmon and cream cheese and cheese and pickle.  I couldn’t have the salmon ones, and I don’t like pickle, but Laura swapped me one of her ham and tomatoes instead.  Sandwiches were accompanied by a helping of salted crisps and salad.

Next up was the scone layer.  Jam always goes on before the cream.

Top layer was a mini brownie, a mini macaroon (I went for the coffee one), an eton mess (best dessert ever) and a cupcake.  We were all struggling by the end, and it took a long while to pick through the final desserts!

Do you enjoy Afternoon Tea?  What must it include in your opinion?
Scones – jam then cream?  Or cream then jam?
Are your ICE details on your parkrun barcode up to date?

Love for the Rio Olympics

I don’t know about everybody else but I have loved watching the Olympics over the past fortnight, and my mornings seem kind of empty now that I’m not refreshing the medal table on my phone as soon as I wake up.

Rio 2016

I missed the London 2012 Olympics – something I was rather gutted about.  Although I had great reason, – I took 20 year 11 students on a charity school trip to Malawi for a month that Summer.  The opening ceremony took place the day after we flew out so, without access to TV or the internet whilst over in Africa we missed the whole event.  I caught up with odd bits of the ceremony and highlights during the week after returning before school began again, but it wasn’t quite the same.

I’d applied for Olympic tickets months and months earlier, before agreeing to take on the Malawi trip at school, but like so many I was unsuccessful.  Is it just me, or did it seem to be that the same people got batches and batches of tickets for different events?!  A friend received multiple tickets for the Paralympic Dressage, so I was able to purchase a couple from her and my Mum and I headed down to watch that one day in the Autumn on my return from Africa.  I did also get a chance to see the Olympic torch being carried through Huntingdon early one Saturday morning, but that was as close as I got to the action for our home games.Dressage at the London 2012 Paralympics

This year, I was looking forward to catching a bit more of the action on TV.  When I was younger I would purely watch the equestrian events, not interested in any of the others.  This year I’ve found myself getting caught up in all of the sports, even those I’d never heard of before.  I don’t think I was the only person to not understand the omnium to start with!

I think Miranda Hart’s love letter to Team GB pretty much sums up how quite a lot of the country felt this year!

Of course, the equestrian events were still a big favourite of mine, although despite a gold in the dressage, we didn’t do as well as we have done in previous years, taking home two golds and one silver, with nothing from the eventing – a discipline we tend to do quite well at.  It was great to see Nick Skelton come home with an individual Showjumping gold though.  He’s been a big name on the scene since the days when I first started riding all those years ago.

Obviously athletics is something I’m interested in now as well since becoming a runner.  Frustratingly a lot of the shorter distance events were on at silly o’clock in the mornings, so I missed quite a lot of those – eagerly hunting down results the following day.  It is the longer distance events which appeal to me more though and I really enjoyed both Sundays when I could get lunch prepared and then just slob out in front of the iPad with marathon coverage showing in the background.  I had the best of intentions to get on with other things at the same time, but ended up getting too drawn in to both races – more so the men on the second week.

Firstly though, the course.  Paula (Radcliffe) and Brendan (Foster) both commented on how poorly the course was executed and I agree.  There seemed to be lots of little fiddly twists and turns and out and backs.  There also seemed to be issues with athletes collecting bottles from aid stations as they were all on one side of the road and very condensed.  It did make me appreciate just how well organised our London marathon is and how much thought and preparation must go in to preparing every single little detail beforehand.

It seemed like everything happened in the men’s race, starting with Callum Hawkins leading the front of the race for several miles from the get go.  Brendan constantly questioned Callum’s game plan in the commentary and seemed to get a fair few people riled up as a result.  As a side note though, how cool did Callum look with his cap on backwards?!  😉

Tsegai Tewelde (UK) dropped out with a foot injury and Meb Keflezighi (USA) looked uncomfortable the whole way round, before finally slipping just before the finish line and getting a few push-ups in!  (All part of the plan I’m sure!)  Fourth Olympics though, and at 41 years old.  Superstar!

Did you watch the Olympics this year?
Which events were your favourites?