No marathon, just a mountain to climb. (On a bike)

It’s not long since my last post, but I’m on holiday this week in Tenerife so I’ve got a bit more time than usual to put my thoughts down on screen for a tiny selection of friends and the odd stranger to look at. Plus this is a big week for a few reasons, so it deserves some recognition. The first one, I can’t actually go into detail about, as it’s not common knowledge yet but suffice to say someone I know has just made another person incredibly happy and I know how long they’ve been planning it so I’m delighted it all worked out in the end (don’t try second guess, most of you wont know them, but I’m just being careful!) 

Secondly, as I said I’m on holiday so the bipolar index is most certainly in the peak region with very little trough forecast for the foreseeable. It’s not all relaxing by the pool though. (Actually very little of it is, as anyone with a 2 year old will attest to) as it happens my brother is also here in Tenerife for the week, which was more of a lucky coincidence than a concerted plan but the end result is we are turning this break into a mini training camp for our Etape Caledonia sportive in May. Its mountainous roads and high altitude make this island popular with the pro cycling teams, indeed Sir Bradley Wiggins & Chris Froome both trained here on their way to Tour de France wins.

On a previous trip my brother booked a bike tour with a company on the island which took him up the main volcano on Tenerife, Mount Teide, where he was passed by the Astana & Cannondale Garmin pro teams doing training runs. Which for any cycling enthusiast, is the equivalent of going for a kickabout at your local 5-a-sides and having Bayern Munich playing a match on the pitch alongside yours.

So, it’s Monday today & I’ve should have already completed the first of our 2 planned training rides. On Sunday evening the locals said “tomorrow is gonna be a scorcher” 26 degrees was the prediction which had my brother and me fairly worried, especially me and my Scottish skin which can blister if I look too long at a 60W bulb. 

True to form, Milo took ages to get to bed, then I had a bit of a restless sleep. I rose at 7am got ready as quick as I could with Milo following me round the hotel room then opened the door to be met with a Glasgow Summer’s day. Absolutely pelting it down! 

  
I scurried along to the breakfast bar, scoffed a quick munch and made my way in full Lycra to hotel reception to a few bemused looks! My brother phoned me 10 mins later to say despite the downpour only due to last until 9am it had made the mountain roads too dangerous, so our ride was off. Gutted. Only I could fly 4 hours to one of the warmest destinations in Europe to have a bike ride rained off. (Glass half full klaxon)

It could be worse I guess, rain has cleared away, Milo is napping and I’m sitting on my balcony baking in the sun typing this. We’re still hoping we can reschedule and get a couple of rides in before we leave but they’ll be told of in a future post, not this one.
Anyway, the main reason this is a big week, is its London Marathon week. (Cue whoopin & a hollerin’) This blog all started 2 years ago because of my 2nd marathon attempt. It was a fairly big turning point for me in life post-Dexter. Even before this, I have a lot of history with London Marathon. It’s always been a big date in our calendar, particularly when we lived in Canary Wharf and therefore on the route itself. And before eventually taking part for the first time in 2009, I’d been part of the cheering crowds many times. This year it’s another supporting role, and I have a good mate, Bruce, running in it for his 1st ever marathon attempt. Like me, Bruce has been out to watch the marathon countless times and was suitably inspired enough to have a go at being on the other side of the railings.

I’m more than a little jealous that I’m not doing the run myself. I’ve absolutely loved the 2 I’ve taken part in, especially the 2nd one (read a review of my experience here)

The quietness of the first few miles, with the end not even imaginable at that point. The huge roars around Canary Wharf, The Highway & as you exit the tunnel on Lower Thames St contrasting with the smaller streets where all you hear is your lungs & legs cursing every step. Feeling mentally & physically done, then seeing a familiar face jumping & shouting like crazy which turns you into Mo Farah again for at least a few minutes more. It’s a proper roller coaster for the body & mind.

But it’s someone else’s turn this year, so my challenge is to provide as much support as possible, which is a tricky enough task as transport & roads are overwhelmed during the event. It’s sure to be a cracking day as marathon day always is in London even more so when you have a runner to look out for. I wrote before about the very un-London like behaviour you see .  I’m not lying when I say Mrs Pavement Therapy & I planned our holiday around the marathon date. We had a few hotels in mind but some of them would have seen us return to London on the day of the race and therefore missing it, so we had to rule them out.

I can imagine the nervous excitement he is feeling this week, especially as you walk to work and see the spectator railings being put up. Eager to get It all started, but keen to stay as relaxed as possible for fear of a last minute injury.

His training has come together just at the right time it seems and he hit his phenomenal charity target with time to spare so it’s all set up for him to have a ball & I’m confident he’ll love every minute. (Well maybe no every minute by at least the majority). I *know* he’s gonna finish it, no doubts on that front at all, so my only advice would be to soak it up as much as he can on the way round. Even the hard, painful parts, because they are as much part of the story he’ll tell later as the times he was flying round.

It’s a massive commitment, not just the run but huge time consuming amount of training, and he’s done it while preparing for a wedding! Huge respect to anyone that can take that on, it’s a great achievement to look back on, and I can’t wait to share a post race beer with him and his family who are making he trip down from Scotland for it.

If you are in London, go out and support the race, and get yourself caught up in the big altruistic love in that it is. Shout encouragement to random strangers, especially those who look knackered. It’s immeasurable just how much I helps hearing folk cheer you by name when you are on the ropes.

If you follow my Twitter account (graemestewart78) there’ll be a photo of the balloons we’re using, which the official Bruce cheer squad will be holding. So if you see us come and say hi. We’re a mostly friendly bunch.  Or how about you make a wee donation to Bruce’s cause here?
So there you have it, another positive entry in my blog, maybe after mount Teide tomorrow I’ll have a different viewpoint…

Graeme.

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