Sunday, July 29, 2012

London Olympics: Day 1

Medal tally USA: 5
Medal tally UK: 0
Although day 1 resulted in our first US gold medal in swimming (thanks, Michael Lochte), we headed to Richmond to check out in person the Men's Road Cycling Event.  We were hoping for a UK gold as well for Mark Cavendish, but today was not Team GB's day.  Here we are waiting for the cyclists to come our way!

A really jovial and festive crowd waited for the riders.

And then the riders came rolling by...all in about 10 seconds!

To the far right, Fabio Cancellera...he sadly crashed later in the race.

And finally, the man of the day, Mark Cavendish, the Manx Missile.  Sadly, it was not his day today...still thrilling for us to see him roll right by.

Blink, they were gone. 
All in all, a great day reveling in the spirit of all things Olympiad!

Newest Bond Girl

My favorite part of the London Olympics XXX opening ceremony.  The Queen must have a wicked sense of humor!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Midnight Sun Marathon #7

Marathon #7 took me to the Arctic Circle...Tromso, Norway in fact.

The race is aptly named, as I was later to find out.  Here I am at packet pick-up.

Race day was actually race evening at 8:30 pm. Technically, I started the marathon on June 30th and finished it on July 1st.   Here I am at the start race.

Along the course...the the first and second of two killer hills - Norwegian snowcapped mountains and Arctic Cathedral in the background.

Hachie Gal is looking a bit tired....

Other photos along the course.

Finish line in sight....remember that it is about 1 AM at this point....wacky.  The lack of darkness at that day certainly plays tricks on the mind.

It's a wrap.

About 6 weeks between races #7 and stop on the marathon whistle tour, Reykjiavik, Iceland.

Taking it one step at a time,

Stockholm Marathon #6

The blog posting for the marathons are a little behind...the weeks are coming faster and faster between each race.

For marathon #6 of the year, we travelled to Stockhom to enjoy, what I hoped, was going to be some of the best runnning weather of the year.  Normally, Stockholm summer weather is in the upper 60s for highs, so when marathon race morning rolled around, I expected to get "primo" running weather.

How wrong I was.  From the moment we landed in Stockolm, it rained, rained, rained. Normally, being a "muddy track" horse, I never let a little rain bother me.  And being the veteran marathoner, I came prepared... just in case.  I was not expecting that "just in case" to be cold, windy, and wet running conditions.

Here I am on race day morning....with only a smile to warm on.

As race day dawned, I was greeted with 30 degrees F, torrential rain, and 25 mph winds.  This is when you just breath deep and get going.  The good news is I would suffer no dehydration issues on this "summer" day; the bad news is that by mile 8, I could not feel my fingers, and legs. I was properly "kitted" out, including the retirement of "the" marathon running cap (thanks, EDS for the memories) and in its stead, a new white wicking Stockhom Marathon cap.  I would need the wicking protection on this day.

All in all, I felt great during the race, good energy and a strong run of 5:05 - an an undulating race, with lots of bridges...Here I am in in full rain and cold weather gear...yes, those are rain drops fallign from my arms as I raise my hands.

Here I am moments away from the finish line at the Stockholm Olympic Stadium.

The medal is in hand, and it's a wrap.

And thanks to a fab road crew, Budman and Sadie, for braving the elements as well as humoring me with my post race meal - McDonald's burger and fries.

Now on to the Arctic Circle.

Taking it one step at a time,

Let the London Olympic Games Begin

Excitement is bubbling over - today is the OFFICIAL opening day of the London 2012 Olympics. 

It appears the issues with the Olympic Road Network (ORN) and the fact that lanes are closed for next 3 weeks have died down, the UK Immigration Worker strike has been averted, and on a personal note, all our Olympic event tickets are finally in hand (the diving tickets arriving yesterday). 

Team USA and GB clothing apparel has been purchased, US flag (for waving at the events) has been procured, and work calendar cleared (for the most part) for the days of my Olympic events.  As is our usual practice, we will be rooting for dual teams:  our home country (USA) and our host country, the country where we are living during the major sporting event (Team Great Britain), so we expect the medal tally to look FANTASTIC from a combined perspective.  Of course, I will also be cheering Teams S. Korea, Taiwan, and Germany when they are also competing unless it is against Team USA or Team GB.

No tickets for the opening ceremony could be had for less thatn $3500 per ticket, so TV viewing is on tap for the evening.  We do have tickets for the Hyde Park Opening Ceremony Celebration concert (a loose connection to the Olympic spirit but not officially tied to the Olympics) of which Duran Duran and Snow Patrol are on the bill....truthfully, I might just opt for the Danny Boyle extravanga "sofa -side".

Offically, the London 2012 Opening Ceremony begins at 9pm GMT, with the pre-show starting at 20.12pm.  Apparently, everyone in London is supposed to ring a bell at 8:12 PM to commemorate the opening....

Tomorrow, men's road cycling - "bring on the games"

Sunday, July 22, 2012

London Olympic Torch Relay 2012

Yea, it was a long way to go for 15 minutes  - and that was for the the waiting for the torch relay AND the actual torch relay to roll by.

Although west London will have the Olympic flame and torch relay later this week, work and other commitments preclude from being able to attend.  So, the Budman and I took the tube 1 hour and 15 minutes one way to east London to catch a glimpse of the torch...and on a perfectly sunny London Sunday morning.  The sunshine just seems to bode well for things to come...

Our timing was perfect!  We exited the Becontree tube station and positioned ourselves along the course just 10 minutes before the torch came down the street.  Pretty exciting if I am totally honest.

The actual torchbearer and Olympic flame were preceded by a few corporate sponsors shiny vans and floats, including Coke, Samsung, and Lloyds Bank, as well as the Olympic Torch Relay bus (yes, there is in fact such a thing).  And then the flame appeared.....and was past us in less than 30 seconds.
All told, we were there less that 15 minutes in total.  Was the 2 hour, 30 minute round trip tube ride worth it? 

You betcha!

I can now say that the London 2012 Summer Oympiad officially open for the Hachie Gal.

Olympic Ticket Update

This time last year, I was so bummed I had only received 1 pair of London Summer Olympic tickets through the Olympic Ticket Lottery...kept telling myself that I did better than most, as many Brits came away with nothing!

Being the tenacious person I am, I am happy to report that the persistent checks (and a little luck) to the London Olympic ticket website has definitely paid off.  The following tickets are in hand:

* 2 pairs of gymnastics (thanks, Cyn!)
* Women's gold medal beach volleyball
* Women's marathon
*  Men's road race cycling
*  Men's water polo
*  Women's diving
*  Men's volleyball

Woo- hoo!.  Let the Games begin!

First Brit Wins the Tour de France

I know it seems ludricous that this Texas Gal is soooo into the Tour de France, but I look forward to it every year.  Years of living in Europe have definitely made me a convert.  I am even thinking the Budman and I need take in a couple of stages in the 2013 Tour De is definitely one of those "bucket" list things.

In a summer of London Olympic dominated sports, don't let today's winner of the Tour de France go unnoticed.  For the first Tour de France history, a Brit, Bradley Wiggins, has won the Tour de France, the premier road cycling race. 

Thank you, Wiggo!  See you in person on the Olympic Men's Road Cycling Race on Saturday!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Exciting sports times

I must respond to a question I have been often asked in the last few weeks. Do/did you want Andy Murray to win Wimbledon?

I should have said yes, given I am living in the UK, and no British man has won a singles men title since Fred Perry in 1936. But no, I am a Federer fan.

That said ... I am cheering for Wiggo all the way in Tour de France.

Yea... I know... These are not the sports I always followed back home.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Happy 4th of July

Happy 4th of July to my friends and family back in the US....these greetings sent from the "mother country". 

Enjoy a parade, barbecue, and fireworks for me!