Tuesday, 27 April 2010

A Day at the Races

A day at the races, or better said, The Race - The 2010 London Marathon.  Bursting with inspirational runners and emotional crowds, this grand race yet again rallied London with a magnetism like no other and proved an exciting day out for LLC and me.  

Two short years ago I finally pulled my finger out and completed the London Marathon after years of running regularly.  In fact, my marathon mission partially contributed to my starting this blog.  It was a real achievement for me and an electric experience but alas, I'm not one of those who "catches the marathon bug" after one under my belt.

This year was Chris' turn.  He's a strong runner with a healthy pace even when he doesn't run regularly; he's gotten into triathlons over the last couple of years; his fitness level is generally pretty good.  Yet I still thought he was slightly nuts to commit to training for a marathon during our early days with LLC.

He needed the support of his girls on the day.  So we bundled LLC into her carrier and she and I took to the course.  We met a lovely Scottish fellow cheering on his wife near the start but unfortunately missed Chris in the initial mad dash.  We then hightailed it over to the Cutty Sark where we cheered on many a runner but again never spotted Chris.  I fed her and we next took the train to Charing Cross and scouted out a ideal viewpoint on Victoria Embankment to "cheer daddy home."  I felt like I had just run a marathon.  My shoulders ached.  Yet I told LLC that we'd definitely catch daddy from this perfect position on the home stretch.

It was about that time that LLC conked out.  She'd been very alert throughout the day but no doubt had her fill of sensory overload.  She slept peacefully through the commotion and the heat of the growing crowd at our back until - bam! - she awoke with an almighty start and went into meltdown.  We were pinned in by people.  And I expected Chris any time in the next half hour or so if he was to achieve his sub-four hour goal.  (Yes, he sets his sights high).  I tried bouncing, ssshhing and stripping a layer off LLC, all to no avail.  The pensioner to my left's stare screamed judgement to the likes of  "Why do you have such a young baby in the heat of this marathon commotion?"

So I pulled out the final trump card in my bag of tricks - my breast.  Down I squatted behind the barrier, out of the carrier and into my arms came LLC, into my jacket I adjusted my top and presto - silent, happy, feeding baby!  Muslin in place, up I popped, back in the game, eyes searching for Chris.

We waited.  And waited.  And I began getting nervous Chris would not make his sub-four hour goal.   

Then my phone rang.  It was Chris.  He was finished.  Somehow we missed him.  Well, not somehow really... from his finish time we worked out that he must have run by just as I was squatting behind the barrier getting my boob out.  

But nevermind.  We supported him in spirit and he triumphed with a finish time of 3 hours 36 minutes.  LLC could not have been prouder of her dad, or of her Uncle Tom who also came home in under 4 hours, as you can see from these photos.  She could not wait to get the weight of gold in her hot little hand!

These portraits are for this week's Sticky Fingers Gallery.
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