Firstly my holiday. My family and I love Mauritius so took the chance of two weeks sitting on a Mauritian beach after my daughter had finished her GCSE's and before I was unable to take holiday because of the Olympics. So off we went and it was as good as always, hot sun, beautiful blue seas, lovely food and friendly hotel staff.
|Getting ready for some snorkling|
|I'll smack anyone that says "Poncherello"|
|The golden tickets|
|The Crusting Pipe - lovely|
Suitably filled we made our way into the Olympic stadium as the show would start at 19:30 before going live on the BBC at 21:00. First thing you notice when you get in is just how big it is, it's frigging huge, second thing you notice is the noise - it rattles the bones. We found our seats and got settled in for the duration.
|Atmosphere building nicely|
You can see it all on the BBC but what I will say is WOW, being there was simply incredible. Visually amazing, aurally stunning, the scale monumental, moments where your jaw hit the floor, moments that made you laugh, times when your heart filled with pride and tears formed in your eyes.
The music section had me singing like mad and dancing about in my seat - I've made sure to pre-order the music CD. At the end I sung myself hoarse to Hey Jude and marveled at the fireworks. I don't think I'll be there to see anything like it again. Bravo Danny Boyle.
I arrived at the camp site at Catton Park in the beautiful Derbyshire countryside about 08:30ish and set about putting up my tent in the Thunder Re-Runners VIP area the guys had set up in my absence and prepared for the race. Pete had arranged team t-shirts for the race and I was presented mine which I must say is very nice indeed - well done Pete.
|The Thunder Re-Runners 2012|
Race started the rest of the team headed back to camp to chill until called upon to run.
|Pete in the crowd|
|Rakesh on a flyer|
|Lisa's reaction to our predicted laps|
|Chris - AKA The Machine|
The second 5k was a little, and I mean a little, easier on he legs but was full of very technical areas (in this sense technical means "likely to have you falling flat on your face or into a tree"). Last 2 kilometers were actually rather nice, well except that new evil climb a couple of hundred meters before the finish. I ran across the finish line in a sprint hoping that the spectators would think that that was how I'd completed the entire 10k. My time was 59:05, a fully 3 minutes down on last year which considering it was cooler this year I think shows how much harder the course was.
|You put your left leg in ...|
|Lisa smiling, we did tell her about the hills didn't we??|
As I set off on my second lap instantly I felt a lot of discomfort at the back of my right knee. Luckily I'd asked Chris if he could have a change of t-shirt ready for me at the 3k mark which was right near our tents so when I got there, hobbling and having lost a lot of time, I asked if someone could get me one of my knee straps. Knee strapped up tightly I set off and within a few minutes the extra stability afforded to the knee by the support strap, the massaging effect it was having on the back of the knee and the warmth it created were all combining to make running on it bearable. I did the first 5k in 41 minutes but, apart for the hills, the knee was holding out and certainly not getting any worse and I was able to largely ignore it. The second 5k progressed much better and I managed it in 29 minutes, finishing in a total time for the 10k of 1:10:53. I was not too upset with the time and thought I'd be able to carry on but I was a bit pissed that I would be running in pain from now on which would lessen my enjoyment of the race.
Another round of laps saw Pete do a 59:05. Rekesh did 1:20:27 - the toughness of the course and the dark night having an impact. Chris, the machine, had to be packed and away by 08:00 to collect his wife so decided to do a double lap. Now he did not need to but he decided that by doing so my knee would get an extra hour or so's extra rest. For that I was very grateful. His first of the back to back laps and his third lap overall came in at 1:05.04, the second 1:29:09 and boy did he look knackered after this forth lap.
My third lap was 1:10:41, Pete's forth 1:03:43 and he declared it his last, Rakesh's fourth and final lap was 01:31:12 - it was a sensible decision as he would be needing his legs in the following days as he's a professional martial arts instructor. My forth followed, 1:24:13, then Lisa stepped up to do a second lap and came home in 1:22:11 - 13 second faster than her first lap.
Pete changed his mind and decided to do a 5th lap and got round in 1:27:08. The last lap was to be mine so off I set taking it easy and enjoying the final lap of the weekend. I crossed the line in 1:25:00 dead - over the moon to have completed 50k in 24 hours; I can now officially claim to be an Ultra Runner!!!
|Popping the champagne cork after another great TR24|
|The winning team - in our hearts anyway|
Last thing I want to do is thank the team, Pete, Lisa, Chris and Rakesh for running hard but never forgetting to have fun. Special thanks to Pete for the brilliant t-shirts, and the bacon sarnie just when I needed it and to Lisa for stepping into the team when we needed her.
Until next year.
p.s. If you can please donate a little something towards Help for Heroes via my justgiving page and show your support for our troups and the job they do.
Here's a video I took of Team GB entering the Olympic statium in exchange for your donation ;-) (Sorry if it shakes a bit, I was filming and watching at the same time - it gets better from the middle onwards :-).)