Monday, 4 August 2014

Village Life

It is only when you have finished competing that you can really relax and enjoy "Village Life" - luckily, the marathon was the first Athletics event and so afterwards, we could then let our hair down and really enjoy the rest of the Games experience.
Ross in Scotland Street

Initially, while down in Irvine, many of us were jealous of those already in the Village - but with hindsight, it seemed that Scottish Athletics made  a very good decision in keeping us away until 2 nights pre-competition, as it kept us more focussed on the reason we were there, ie to perform to the best of our abilities, and let us prepare without lots of other distractions (though obviously they made exception for those needing specialist treatment from the physios etc).
Team "Jo" post race!
One of the first things that I saw after finishing the marathon was my friend Ian holding my wee neice Cecilia up so that she could see over the fence into the athlete area. I got official permission to make my own way back to the Village later on and so went off to join them - it was great to see all my family right there and walk with them along some of the route to join other extended family and friends for lunch (though admittedly, all I had to eat and drink was chips and wine!).

Team Scotland hits Hampden
My appetite returned when I made it back out to Dalmarnock and so I joined Susan, Derek and Ross (Hayley had already headed away home though we missed her !) in the foodhall to finally enjoy eating as much of whatever food type we wanted (be it carbs, protein, fruit, veg or pure sugar) before we headed to Hampden for the opening events there. After screaming ourselves hoarse in support of teammates and friends, "Team Marathon" then headed into town to meet other friends and celebrate an amazing day that I'll never forget. It was funny to end the day, back in the foodhall, about 22 hours after it had started!!

I knew that I needed an MOT from the physios as I had to go to America to represent scotland in the World Long Distance Mountain Running in a few weeks' time, but it seemed sensible to wait for a few days so I could see whether any niggles surfaced, so I headed off on the train the next morning.

Playground Fun!

Superchefs with their cake - yummm!
My sister and her family were staying in Selkirk for a week's holiday and so my parents came and picked me up from the nearest station to go and join them. It was lovely to hang out with them for 24 hours, especially in an area with no telephone or internet reception, though I did have to turn the TV on to cheer on my roomie Libby in her 100m race! I'm not sure that some of the playground games were that easy after just having run a marathon, but it's hard to resist a challenge from Aleks and Cecilia! Especially when they'd also made me an amazing "Congratulations" cake!!

I probably slept more that night (in a sleeping bag on the floor) than I did any night in the Village, as there were always people coming and going there, walls were rather thin, and if anyone let a door slam somewhere in the building, then it could be heard everywhere, so I returned to Glasgow more energised the next day.
A solo aquajog
I got there in time to make it to meet Susan in the foodhall (the pizza servers got to know the two of us rather well) and then head back to Hampden. So followed a pattern for most of the week - involving eating (my record was 7 trips to the foodhall in one day! - though one day we were still there chatting after brekfast when we realised it was lunchtime), catching up with friends in town, going to watch every session of Athletics, and celebrating with more and more people as they finished competing. I did have to be slightly sensible due to the upcoming Colorado run, and so I saw the physio a couple of times, had a sports massage, and even went out to aquajog at one of the Games venues!

Some of the country flags

It was an amazing time, as not only did I get to meet/chat with many people from different countries, different sports and different disciplines within the same sport, but I also learnt a lot about other people's lives - and all that you see and read about can be very far from the truth. There are always going to be factions, egos, prima donnas, politics, rifts etc but there are also so many genuinely nice, hardworking people getting on with doing what they love!

Commonwealth Duvet
I shouted myself hoarse every evening at Hampden, actually went for a facial and massage in the Village Beauty Centre, took advantage of having my laundry done and meals prepared, made some great new friends....but it did seem rather unreal. I'm used to my own company - at work (yes it's a group practice but I have my own consulting room), at home and when out running - so I did find it a bit much at times. On one occasion near the end of the week, I woke up and thought "wouldn't it be nice to just go home?", but that thought was soon replaced by "When will I ever have the chance to experience this again?" and "How lucky I am, as others will only dream of this week", so I stayed right through to the closing ceremony, sleeping under my Commonwealth Games duvet at night and proudly wearing my Team Scotland kit during the day!

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