by Julie Alpine-Crabtree
So Stephen Kiprotich of Uganda wins the Olympic men’s marathon, running 26 miles in two hours, eight minutes. And is still a force to be reckoned with at 11pm when he steps up to the podium to claim his gold. While, on a quiet road somewhere in Godawful, my chef and I struggle to stay conscious till the end of the BBC’s coverage of the Olympic closing ceremony, having done nothing more challenging than travel to Hadleigh Farm, Leigh-on-Sea, sit in a field, eat barbecued chicken and watch the men’s mountain bike final, kids safely at home with their grandmother. Although we did do it in wellies, having taken the ‘wear sturdy footwear’ advice a little too literally. Everyone else was in shorts and flip-flops. You know, you hear the word ‘farm’; there’s a chance of showers… Final estimation is that we each lost five pounds in weight as a result of extreme overheating in the relentless 26-degree sunshine. And that’s taking into account the rotisserie lunch.
There’s just something about working till around midnight and getting up pre-7am every day for another day at the sharp end of a one-year-old and three-year-old that takes it out of me. And, despite the fact that I’ve never in my life felt as much in need of performance enhancement, were I to be subjected to a drugs test tomorrow, I’d come up clean. Not that I’m suggesting I’d fare much better trying to do this gig with a serious chemical habit to maintain. At least not in the long run…
Odds are I’ll fall asleep on my son’s bed tonight, after singing Little Donkey, a nightly bedtime ritual that’s been a part of our lives for a full 21 months now, the words having long since taken on a profound allegorical resonance:
Don’t give up now, little donkey, been a tiring night,
Don’t give up now, little donkey, Bethlehem’s in sight
That pram in the hall, that oft-lamented ‘enemy of good art’, is either going to inspire me to move mountains or send me to the knackers yard.
I think it’s time I upped my training regime.