The Best Laid Plans

Just when I thought I had everything about London 2012 figured out, the curveballs started coming. I knew my charmed life was too good to be true! :P

When I went to the women's triathlon an hour early, I got a nice spot along the cycling route but couldn't see the swimming and running. When I went to the marathon two hours early, I got a great spot in Trafalgar Square. So, being the logical mastermind that I am, I figured, "hey, why not get to the men's triathlon two hours early! I'll definitely get a better spot!" Well, due to a happy mistake, I thought it started at 11 when it really started at 11:30 so I was two and a half hours early... and was LITERALLY directly across the road from where I was last time.

I did the same walk from Green Park station, and I felt like I was in a legitimate competition. I mean, everyone going in that direction was going to the same place, so I don't know why nobody else seemed to be in a hurry. But I was doing some Olympic level race walking, and actually imagining the commentary in my head. "Oh, an untied shoe! That's unfortunate." "Ouch, getting stuck behind old people on the stairs is gonna cost her." The milk in my cereal this morning must've been drugged, because I swear these are not normal thoughts. Or maybe it's just delirium brought on by sleep deprivation.

But anyway, I reached the road in the park and as I began walking along it, I started to realize that it was fuller than it had been at the women's triathlon when I'd gotten there. Uh oh. I decided to walk further down and see if I could squeeze in somewhere, but I quickly abandoned ship at the next crossing point in the street and went to the other side; there was just no way I was going to get anywhere. So I walked back up the road looking for space on this side, and found it right in front of where I stood for the last triathlon. The best laid plans, man.

So now I had two hours before the race even started, and by this point my body is completely giving up. I don't think I've ever stood/walked so much in this many consecutive days and my back, feet and shoulders are pretty much screaming in agony all the time. So the standing wasn't fun, but I'd somehow managed to place myself in between a lovely English couple (that lives in Portugal now) and a group of three English ladies who were all chatty and friendly. They were a good time! When I pulled out my American flag (I bought a big one at a souvenir shop the other day because of reasons), the man on my left and the woman on my right said, "Well, I don't think we can let you put that one out!" Hah. We come with a reputation! ;) The flag also attracted the attention of an American journalist who was reporting for a news station in Orlando, and I let him interview me for his story.

The race itself seemed much quicker than the women's; it was definitely fewer laps, which I didn't realize, so suddenly people were leaving and I was like "...wait, what?" But there was some drama with one of the British riders who got a penalty, and two riders apparently crashed on the transition out of the water. We found all of this out because the guy behind me had his phone out and was watching the live feed of the race -- LOL I love technology!

When it ended, I went to a nearby stand and got a jacket potato for lunch, and then just sat for a little while because everything hurt. I did some people-watching, and then it was back up to wait in the massive queue for the bathroom and then to Tower Bridge to see the giant rings! Both of those took longer than expected, so I had to hurry to make it to 3 Mills to pick up the stuff Laura left for me at reception and meet up with Jo by 4. The first part of that went smoothly; I got two certificates of appreciation from LOCOG, another Games Maker pin, and a thank you pin. But 4:30 rolled around and there was still no sign of Jo. Conveniently, Lesley was on her way to out Tesco, saw me sitting outside and came to my rescue! :P It turned out that Jo had more work to do, so I walked over to Stratford and did some browsing (and sat on the floor for awhile, because I was developing a limp due to sheer overuse of my feet) while I waited for her. It took a little while, but I really like keeping an eagle eye out for members of different delegations so I was easily able to busy myself. Slight side note: how many Russians were sent to the Olympics? Because, oh my god, I saw them EVERYWHERE. And I also seem to notice a very disproportionate number of Kazakhstani athletes walking around. Hmm.

Jo ended up getting there at around 7, and she'd thought of a plan to try and get me into Olympic Park. It worked on the first attendant we had to get past! And then it failed. The giant LOCOG accreditation badges you see everyone official wearing is basically an all-access pass into the park, and I am without. :( They were also simultaneously making announcements that you're only allowed into the park if you have a ticket valid for today, so that shot my backup plan in the foot. All park tickets are sold out, the box office on site only does ticket collection (no sales), and that was kind of that. Definitely a bummer, but all I can muster is mild disappointment. The crowds there are so extreme that I feel like I'd just get annoyed if I had to walk around in it. And I also realized that my London 2012 goals were to, a) get event tickets, b) watch an event, and c) see Olympic Park. I have tickets, I watched FOUR events (three from the front row, no less!), and Olympic Park will be there for the duration of my lifetime. So I'll get to come back to London and frolic in an empty stadium and have photo shoots (Amanda, you in?) and it will be glorious. Besides, seeing the dress rehearsal was so worth it. (Nobody working at ceremonies understands my decision, though. They all think I'm crazy. I'm like ".....................................................YOU ALL TAKE SO MUCH FOR GRANTED WORKING HERE, OKAY? THIS IS THE COOLEST EVER.")

It was great seeing Jo one last time before I leave, though, and she said she's going to visit the park on Saturday and take tons of pictures (and more at the closing ceremony) for me, so I can at least live vicariously through her! She headed home after our failed efforts, and I did some souvenir and omg-thank-you-for-giving-me-your-house-for-a-week gift shopping, all of which was extremely successful. The London 2012 Shop was so gross, though. There are so many bodies in there and it was warm and humid and smelled like people. Grosssssssss. It's also kind of hilarious that the viewing gallery of the park, which was free when I went on Thursday, now costs £2 to get into.

I decided to call it a day after that, as it was getting late and I was getting hungry. It's so weird to think that my trip is basically finished. But I have tomorrow morning to do things, and I think I'll close things out with a trip to Sochi.Park in Kensington Gardens. Because I ALWAYS need some Winter Olympics in my life!