| 2016 | 08 | 07 | olympics |

4 years ago, I was a stakeboat holder for the rowing at London 2012.

I have never felt so privileged. Nor so stressed. I genuinely believe those two weeks were underpinned by pressure greater than the entirety of my degree. We were literally, for a few short seconds, in control of many an olympic dream.

The rowing I guess is quite different to many other sports because the start line is completely isolated, 2km away from the crowds and there's a lot of 'space' between the competitors. There were a lot of press restrictions up there, but that didn't stop them telling us how unflattering the angles were. 

As a stakeboat holder, you are put under the greatest pressure by the organisers.

When I was given the mens senior 8 (GB) to hold in lane 4, my supervisor looked straight at me and said 'no stress, but really don't cock this up'.

Having frantic voices in your earpiece telling you to move over half a tonne of shifting boat 3cm forwards is a tough. Knowing that the race will come down to a photo finish, so the start gets investigated too is terrifying. 

The other pressure was the TV cameras. They were everywhere, and we were in shot a lot of the time.

The first bit was catching the boat. Which is harder than we made it look!

You also had to not appear to be rushing the athletes. So you couldn't really drop your hands to the water until they 'acknowledged' you. See above. I am being acknowledged by those men there. 

this was one of the races at The World's the year before. That German crew was an interesting experience. 
I can't remember specifically which day it was, but myself and Mel had offered another pair the opportunity to hold Lane 4 (the best lane) for the mens eights. And am I glad we did. Before every race with a GB crew, we would get it on the radio which was the lucky lane.

It was me.

don't i look excited. 
I had the mens eight. Cue the twenty seconds of fame for my pasty white legs [10.05 onwards]. Such a flattering angle. You can see how much they are moving around, despite being held in the buckets.

I think the worst crew was the mens fours. Without the ballast of the cox to hold them steady, they really were unhelpful. 

The above picture is pre-pushing-forwards. You can tell because the boats are clear of the buckets and not really straight at all. From this position, you'd need to coordinate with them lining up and push them gently away, taking care not to damage the bow or place too much pressure onto the boat. 

the sweet relief of a start going well.


who needs entertainment when you've got my banging moves.  
As part of our training we had to pretend to do everything the athletes were going to do. So we totally knew how it would feel to win an olympic medal. and sing our national anthem

this was awful. I hated this bit

so the security guys weren't into any jokes about us borrowing the medals. At all. 

Once they were gone we had to stay lying down until we really couldn't see them. The camera angles meant that we'd block a lot of views and they just didn't like that. 

I tweeted those guys. and they tweeted back.

This is probably my favourite picture from the entirety of the process.

We actually had a lot of fun in between the stress of the starts. It was a great team building experience and I managed to not fall in once. Despite all bets being on me.

I remember this one because it was following 'UNCROSS YOUR DAMN LEGS SOPHIE WE'VE BEEN OVER THIS'
so maybe potentially i was texting on the startline. I mean. oops.


| 2016 | 08 | 04 | nice day 4 |

Today we climbed a mountain.

Actually we climbed more than one. My legs are barely functioning at present because I've gone from essentially no running to twice a day up really steep hills. 

I love this part of the world. It's just amazing in every single way.  Well apart from the bit where I can't actually speak french. That would be handy 

But of course. Jerry's mountain. It's a weird tradition we've found ourselves committing to, and some years, the drive has been particularly long. 

I lost my entire family to the wilderness and had to continue alone, trekking up the hill, battling the tough conditions for 900ft 

I love me some splorin'.  It's an amazing way to spend the day. Intentionally getting lost. 


So I have my second ultra next month. I'm really excited+nervous. I'm never going to break any records (my legs are too short an I like chocolate too much) but still, it's 42 miles. 

Jerry's been totally on board with the running thing this holiday (he doesn't actually have a choice)

My new strategy to get him to run is to take him far away from the house with limited supplies in the sun, and eventually he gets thirsty and needs to chase me down. 

I'm coming back from France on Friday. I'm going to paddle when I get back and then just sleep. I need to sleep. 


| 2016 | 08 | 02 | nice day 2 |

In keeping with tradition, we were up at 8 and ready to run.

The usual route, for the usual amount of time.

Then the usual shopping trip.

The usual nap.

The usual lunch

The usual post lunch nap

and to top it off. The usual walk down the valley. Well actually it was more of a run for me - I'm pretending to train. 

on the way back up. 0.4 miles to go.

I have hit the biggest blogging rut so far, and I was hopeful that this holiday would pull me out of it. But we've done this 6 times now and I can't think of a new way to spin it.

Like seriously.  

Take care.

Anyway, that's all in the past now and it's all about what's next. 

I have this holiday, and then one next week in Cornwall to look forwards to and hopefully I'll be back on the blogging train by then :).

Or I'll be so busy I won't.

It's too hot here. 


| 2016 | 08 | 01 | nice day 1 |

It was the oranges.

Those damn oranges I had picked up so thoughtlessly pre party were now the topic of every other conversation we were having. And they were causing a lot of stress. 

Jerry flips between the opposite ends of irrationality, on some days absolutely no food waste is permited to the detriment of our waistlines - others everything must go. See the grape incident. 

Today he was yoyoing back and forth by the hour, but the one constant was the oranges. He couldn't bear to throw thems, but we don't eat them. So it was an awful catch 22 underpinning the entire trip. 


The drive to the airport was somewhat tumultuous. A combination of over zealous aircon, a slight aversion to the satnav and too many suitcases resulted in a mess. I just napped.

I'm a pro at car napping, genuinely would love to put it on my CV. 

also since when was my brother going?


We arrived at Gatwick, who even follows me blindly anyway? But we got there eventually.

Amazingly nothing exciting happened, and that is definitely a first.

Then I cut my finger open and bled everywhere.

My dad popped his head through the door a little while later.

'if you were a better child sophie you'd have healed already'