I’ll put it right up the front: I’m devasted about yesterday’s Olympic road race. Absolutely gutted. But I’ll try not to allow it to contaminate my mega-enthusiasm for the rest of the Olympics, because by-god, I am a mega fan.
However, after only two days of coverage, the following things are getting me down:
1) Channel 9’s ‘coverage’ is atrocious, with cuts to ad breaks every few minutes.
2) Karl Stefanovic taking the baton from Eddie Maguire as the worst Olympic anchor of all time, in between the stupidly long ad breaks.
3) Realising that, on the brink of thirty, I will never be an Olympian. Because before I was 29, I obviously thought I might still be in with a chance…
4) Vastly increased levels of homesickness during the opening ceremony and the ensuing coverage in my home town.
5) The jealousy I experienced when the men’s road race went past my sister’s house.
Yes, the homesickness is so bad, it’s even making me nostalgic about the stuff I would usually hate. For instance:
1) Dizzy Rascal. Bonkers. And amazing.
2) The Industrial Revolution. Mr Edgar, you were a smashing history teacher, but the Industrial Revolution was dead to me until Danny Boyle had a stroke of genius, brought in Kenneth Branagh, and forged the Olympic rings in the furnaces of the Mary Poppins peppered streets of London.
3) The NHS. Try getting me to shut up about how incredible, and of course, faultless, our amazing free national health service is. Just don’t mention waiting lists or bed shortages.
4) The weather. I actually got a huge pang of the sads (followed rapidly by the laughs) when I saw the Australian women’s beach volleyball team playing in bikinis, over the top of their full-length Skins. Hahahaha. But it reminded me that doing sport outside in the UK probably makes you a bit tougher.
So I’m homesick.
But I ran through my homesickenss today, despite staying up a bit too late to watch the cycling. We had to race in a cross-country run, my first since perhaps year 9 at school (when I was busy not paying enough attention to Mr Edgar teaching the Industrial Revolution). It was a 10km meet, organised by the VCCL, and I think it was largely a Masters event. I have deduced this based on the fact that when I signed up at the start, the lady said “how old are you?”. I replied, “29”. She turned and yelled, “Frank! We’ve got someone who’s under 30 – what do I do?”. The Young Pretender. Perhaps I have written myself off too soon for the Olympics.
Anyway, Jarrod and I lined up at the start, with Matt cheering on due to injury, along with Joe and Hopewell. A dream support crew.
The gun fired (it was a whistle). We launched into a cracking pace, hoping just not to finish last, as this looked like a pretty serious field. After two kilometres of sub 4s, my body retaliated with major stomach cramps and stitches.
I couldn’t go on. I got to the end of the first 5km lap, and stopped right in front of Matt, Ash and Joe and hunched over like a sissy wimp-bag. “I’m out. My stomach. I’m sick. I’m done.”. Doubled over in pain, Ashley offered me some of her cup of tea.
I was finished.
Then Matt told me I was the third female. At the slightest whiff of a good result, I took off again.
I backed right off the pace and tried to keep my stomach under control. Having been passed by a handful of men whilst I was stopped and hunched over, I tried to pick them off slowly. By the very end, I made it back to the man in the VCCL shirt I was running alongside when I dropped out. I thought I would drop dead before the finish line. My heart rate rocketed to 192bpm. I crossed the line at about 44:20 – which is the same time as my 10km split from the half marathon two weeks ago. If I hadn’t wimped out and tried to quit, my watch tells me I would have run 43:16, but I think it was still a PB despite the stoppage. Jarrod also had a great run, finishing in just over 39 minutes, despite two weeks off training due to bronchitis. I’m jealous.
At the sausage-sizzle zone near the finish line, one white-haired chap said to me “I thought you were a gonner. I passed you and thought to myself ‘poor girl, but at least that’s one less in front of me’, then you passed me again”.
So I think I have found my niche: being the only under-30 female in a predominantly over 70’s male event.
Now, I have to go and watch some more Olympics.