Posted by Lauren
I’m back with another London recap post! I diligently wrote them all over the long weekend. Gold star for me! And I wore this shirt to get in the spirit:
To keep things consistent, here are links to my other blog posts from the first stops of our summer eurotrip.
– Amsterdam: Beginnings
– Amsterdam: Continuation
– Amsterdam: Extended
– Brussels: Beginning
– Brussels: Continuation
– Brussels: Extended
- Brugge: Semi-Wordless
– London Olympics: Basketball Day 2
– London Olympics: Women’s Marathon Day 3
– London Olympics: Women’s Soccer Day 4… coming soon!
– Leaving London Olympics
After breakfast at our hotel, we walked across Millenium Bridge and settled into a prime location for watching the WOMEN’s MARATHON!!
The course made three loops, passing the following London landmarks: Buckingham Palace, The Mall, the City of London, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Tower of London, The Great Fire of London Monument, London Eye, Big Ben, Parliament Square….
The 111 turns and 4 U-turns made for quite a curvy course. Lucky for us, runners passed by our location TWICE in ONE LOOP. That means we saw the fastest women on Earth fly by us SIX TIMES!!!! Good location if you ask me! :)
There I am running the women’s Olympic marathon course! That is as close as a commoner like myself can get!
I left Kyle to hold our spot and walked over to St. Paul’s Cathedral to check out the “television-friendly” turn.
There were giant, telescoping TV cameras set up for the clutch panoramic shot. I decided that our spot was indeed the best place to be a free spectator. We waited about two hours in the RAIN until it was finally time!!!!!!!
A few motorcycles drove by, followed by this funny photographers truck…
…and then the runners!
The fierce rain only lasted a couple of miles, but as the first pack of elite runners whizzed by, it was like the rain didn’t even exist. These women were POWERFUL. They make running 5:40 miles seem do-able.
Here’s their first pass, with Italy’s Valeria Straneo up front….
Pass #2 and you can see Italy, China, and USA’s Goucher and Flanagan in the lead. Exciting and hopeful thoughts of USA medaling danced through my mind…
Eventually, Kenya’s Keitany + Jeptoo and Ethiopia’s Gelana took a commanding lead… I was happy to see Goucher and Flanagan holding strong a few racers back…
The photos below are from pass #6, the final time we saw the superstars zoom by us. Sadly, USA was no where near the top 3…
Kyle and I walked two blocks to the closest pub to catch the end of the race. It was a very thrilling finish! Tiki Gelana of Ethiopia set an Olympic Record of 2:23:07… f’ing nuts!!!! Kenya’s Priscah Jeptoo was 5 seconds behind, followed by bronze medalist Tatyana Petrova Arkhipova from Russia.
USA performed extremely well – Shalane Flanagan came in 10th at 2:25:51 and Kara Goucher finished 11th in 2:26:07. Speaking of Goucher…her husband Adam ran up to us at about mile 12 and asked to squeeze to the front of the barricade to snap a few photos of his wife!! Our convo went like this:
Adam Goucher: “Hey can I squeeze in to the front when the runners pass by next?”
Guy standing next to us: “No… we’ve been here the whole time.”
Adam: “It’s just that my wife is running…”
Me: Who is your wife?
Adam: “Kara Goucher”
Me: “YES OF COURSE you can get to the front!!!!”
As soon as they passed, he said thanks and ran along to a different vantage point. SMALL world!
After the race, we went to one of my all-time favorite London attractions – Borough Market!
Borough Market is a veritable food galaxy in Southwark, London. Usually only open to the public Thursday – Saturday, the Borough Market was open on Sunday during the Olympics! (good thing because I probably would have cried had we missed it!) According to the dictionary app on my computer, this market first popped up in 1014. It is just two years shy of a 1,000 year anniversary!! Another reason why London is incredible.
We walked around the cheese/bread/vegetable/meat/etc stands, sampled as much as we could (mushroom pate I heart you!), and assessed our numerous lunch options. I picked first…
Baahrrito! Cumbrian Specialty Meat’s unique burrito looked too good to pass up – pulled shoulder from the rare breed Herdwick lamb, with wild rice, slaw, and dressing – all in a portable wrap. ABSOLUTELY delicious.
Next up, Kyle’s pick:
Brindisa’s acclaimed Chorizo Roll – 1 or 2 chorizo link(s), piquillo pepper, and rocket leaves in a ciabatta roll. The Chorizo Grill is in its 10th year of chorizo roll production, and is one of Time Out: London’s 100 best dishes. Kyle made a great choice!
I just had to get one more thing before we left the Borough Market… dessert!
I chose a sponge cake with chocolate icing, coconut flakes, and a thin berry filling. I am 95% confident that it came from Comptoir Gourmand‘s stall… We tore off bites of the fluffy cake and walked to the Tower Bridge for a photo opp!
From there we headed back to the Thames and walked past many shops, restaurants, and London’s National Theatre…
Eventually we made it to Trafalgar Square. I thought they would be showing the games live on a big screen, but I was mistaken. We continued on, and eventually I left Kyle at a pub so I could go shopping at Primark…
Primark was completely overwhelming and I left empty handed :( Oh well. I rejoined Kyle at Shakespeare’s Head on Marlborough Street an hour and a half later, and he introduced me to a slew of friendly people (a couple of which came from Cal Poly!!) We talked about the Olympics and our travels over a few beers and a measly nacho starter.
The Brits don’t do nachos. They just don’t. After Bolt’s 9.63 seconds of glory, we went back to the hotel, enjoyed some late night munchies, and fell asleep.
Day 2 success! One more recap on the way tomorrow!
Question: Do you like to play sports/bike/run/etc in the rain? When I first started running, I was caught in an awful downpour while on a run during my study abroad sesh in London. Since then, I loathed rain runs and the wet-n-smelly-sneaker effect that goes along with inclement weather.
p.s. Gold medalist Tiki Gelana said “As soon as the rain started, I said to myself, ‘Thank God. I love running in the rain.’ I have been doing that since I was a small child.”