Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Holiday Camp?

Waiting for Libby to arrive

I had no idea what to expect from a "Holding Camp".......so it was not without trepidation that I headed up to Irvine after work at the start of the week. A holding camp is designed for athletes to put the final touches onto their training and start their mental preparation for racing so I wasn't sure exactly how that would fit in with a pre-marathon taper.

I thought that whatever else it involved, at least it would be a good opportunity to get to know some of my team mates better. To a certain extent that was true, as my room mate (the awesome) Libby Clegg and I spent many hours putting the world to rights (ie giggling and gossiping, though I'm not sure I've ever made someone go to sleep laughing before) - and I certainly confirmed that the endurance runners and the throwers do get on the best. Some others, however, remained slightly apart from the rest of us, and others were preparing elsewhere (and some were even still competing).

A marathon just to get ot the dining room!

The camp did provide an opportunity for me to go and support friends in a nearby 5 mile race, and it also meant a change of scenery in that I could do a couple of short easy runs on a new cycle path. It did seem
weird to be staying in a hotel, but even if my sleep wasn't the best, at least I was away from the pressure of work.

One thing I did discover is that everything takes much much longer than you are led to believe.....though I did learn that if you are important, then things happen more to schedule, so maybe the answer is to be more demanding.....but then again I was still in awe of just being there and would go along with everything I was told!

Finally I made it into the Village

Tour Guide Ross in Scotland Street

A "quick" trip up to the Athletes' Village to get my accreditation sorted took 5 hours. Some of the others managed a 15 minute turnaround, but not me! They'd corrected my name from the way it had been written at Stirling (zakrEzewski) but for some reason had mistyped my passport number. This meant that I had to sit in the entrance tent for the best part of an hour while it was corrected, and so by the time I got out and made it across to Scotland Street to exchanged mis-sized kit (or even mis-sexed kit, as I had been given mens' polo shirts) there was nothing left in the right size. Still, at least Ross got to show me round the village (he'd been on the formal pre-visit) while we waited for the next bus back. Some further transport issues then meant I got to sit for even longer in the food hall......but I wasn't complaining....what a spread there was.....yummmmm!

Outisde the press conference

Inside the press conference

A short press conference can also take 3 hours..... by the time you've spoken to everyone detailed to you (it was the Sunday papers for me, as the marathon was timetabled for the Sunday), and they've taken pictures (not quite sure why I had to sit elegantly by the track lane numbers), and then several TV crews have caught you for an interview and a bit of filming. I still wonder exactly what I said to everyone, and who on earth would want to read about me! It did mean it was rather a rush to make the bus for the opening Ceremony (which in itself was a 12 hr round trip, and worth a separate blogpost.......but o so worth it!).

Race nails...

I also used some of my newly found spare time to get some patriotic nail art done......well, if I was going to have to do the ultimate "walk of shame" and run round Glasgow on a Sunday morning in my knickers, then I'd rather that people looked at my nails than anything else!

Signing autographs!!!
Q&A with the kids

I met a friend for a brief dip in the pool, followed by a longer coffee and cake trip, and also ended up at a question and answer session with a local running club. I felt like a slight anomaly as the other athletes talked about all the hours they trained (more than double the time I spend running) and what facilities they had, while I said that I just "went out of my front door and turned left" but it was interesting to hear from people in different disciplines, and made me feel that I knew them better at the end. Bless the kids though - some of them even wanted my autograph afterwards......at work they just want it on a prescription!

All too soon, I was packing my bags again for the final trip up to Glasgow. We didn't all go up together, as most of "Team Athletics" only moved into the Village 2 days prior to competing, so it was odd to think that the marathon would be over by the time I saw some of them again......scary.......

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