Thursday, 19 April 2012

Shock to the system...


It’s been a few weeks since my last blog – mainly because the internet connection in Portugal wasn’t the best. A few things have also changed since then! I decided against my first ever trip to altitude, Font Romeu – with UKA. There were many reasons for this but mainly I decided it would be best for me to stick with the same routine I had before, train in the wind and cold of Dundee, Scotland! Altitude would have been a great opportunity for me, however at the moment, after having such a serious injury and training my bum off over the winter months to get back fit and healthy again – I didn’t want any further risk, especially with my previously low iron levels. Instead I decided to head home after my 3 weeks training in Portugal with my training group.
Portugal


Training actually went surprisingly well in Portugal after having a horrible 2 weeks training previously. I managed to get all my runs back down to my normal easy pace and sessions had a huge improvement. The first week on my own was a bit boring as I genuinely didn’t have anything to do other that run, eat, sleep – repeat all over again! So it was nice when the rest of my training group came out in stages throughout the remaining 2 weeks I was there. Although the weather wasn’t the best (we were moaning about it not being bikini weather), every day we were out training in crop top and shorts – not something that would be happening back in Scotland, so we really couldn’t complain! It was also quite pleasing to hear that it was SNOWING at home for a week, bad, bad times!

Out in Portugal, our training schedule isn’t actually any different to when we are all training back at home. The only difference is the weather and the fact that we can all be ‘full-time athletes’ for the few weeks we are there. This does make a huge difference – no school/university/work, no distractions etc etc..
Second Place mini-golf.. stick to running..

This year our group also had the chance to train alongside Helen Clitheroe and Gemma Steel. It was a great opportunity for us all, and really opened our eyes as to what the top standards are, not only within the UK, but on an international standard - what you need to be able to do – in order to one day be up there competing with them. Our first session was a bit of a shock to the system. After trying to build up some fitness over the past few months, a shorter, faster session of 3x (600-400-200) almost killed us all! 

After a good two weeks of solid training I unfortunately got a bit of a cold – definitely passed on from my evil mother who had it a few days previous to me! I went to bed, as normal, and woke up in the middle of the night thinking that I MAY have been dying – it was horrible! Anyways, as you can tell, I didn’t die… I was definitely just over-reacting, when all I had was a sore throat and standard head cold. After taking one day fully off and two easy runs the next – I decided to give a session a go. I walked down to the track on my own with the vision of me doing an easy 150m strides and perhaps a sustained run. Spur of the moment I called my mum to tell her I was feeling a bit better and to ask what session she would want me to do. My first big mistake. Never tell your coach you want to do a session instead of strides. Her answer was 5x400m flat out with a 3minute recovery. This wasn’t the nicest session to do completely on my own! It also didn’t help that it was extremely windy for the first 200m of each rep. Anyways, I got on with things and Howell came down and timed me, just to make sure I didn’t take one extra seconds recovery! The session actually went quite well though and it was also the first time I had wore spikes for an entire session, which was a massive step forward for me mentally.
After my 3 weeks in Portugal were up, I then realised I hadn’t actually booked a return flight home as my previous flight was to FR! Nightmare, but I managed to book a last minute one home to Edinburgh albeit for just over 100 euros adding on baggage and every other little thing that Ryan Air charge you for! On my way home, I got stopped as my checked-in baggage was 5kg over the limit. This resulted in me taking out my spikes, trainers and racing flats along with some other items and squeezing them into my hand luggage. Winning! No 50 euro charge for McColgan! Although I then had to physically kick my hand luggage through the small contraption they have for measuring the size of your baggage at the boarding gate!
Returning to Scotland was a bit of a shock to the system. After moaning about the weather in Portugal – we realised we didn’t actually have anything to complain about, as Scotland is BLOODY FREEZING!
Attractive
My little sister thinking she's hilarious
Scottish University champs
After a good few weeks training in Portugal, I made a bit of a spur of the moment decision and decided to run the Scottish Uni Champs through in Grangemouth. I had previously planned to open my season at Bucs on the 4th May, but I’m really glad I started sooner. It always feels good to get the first race out of the way – especially after a serious injury! It was also the most I have done in my spikes, so I was very pleased to have still been able to walk the next morning!
I decided to double up and do the 1500m and 3000m as a bit of training, as normally I would be training Saturday morning. I then got dragged into a 4x400m for Dundee Uni which was a good laugh. Last year I opened my season in the exact same race, running a 4.28 for my 1500m, 9.31 for my 3000m and a 63 relay split and winning both events. This year the timetablings between events was the exact same which means the recovery time between them would have been very similar – making it good for a comparison year on year. This year I ran a 4.26, a 9.15 (which is also a Personal Best) and a 61 for my relay split and again won both. In comparison things were much, much better than last year!
The 1500m was a bit of a struggle, not due to fitness, but mainly due to the ‘speed’. By this I mean starting off at a quicker pace! I found it really hard to get going – perhaps not warming up properly – but my first lap was far, faaaar too slow to what I was aiming for. This then meant I was playing catch up for the rest of the race.
The 3000m felt a lot easier and natural to me, although I was expecting it to be a lot worse. I wasn’t sure what time to expect but I was hoping for a similar time to last year 9.25-9.30ish.Laura Muir totally shattered any chance of that and went off at a quick pace and was lapping constant 74’s. To be honest, she helped me so much - to clock a new personal best of 9.15 as I tried my best to stay on her shoulder. Although for some weird reason with 3 laps to go my legs started to feel less heavy and things felt a lot easier than the initial laps. At the moment confidence-wise I still have a bit of an issue and I am not sure whether this is due to my injury and the fact I’m quite conscious of how much training I’ve missed over the winter months, but I’m always too worried to push on incase I die a horrible last few laps. This is never the case though, so hopefully with a few more races that will eventually fade away! I only really pushed on the last 500m, getting a little bit of a gap that I maintained till the end, although I was told my last Km was a 2.58 which isn’t too bad – considering just a few weeks ago I couldn’t break 3mins!
2012 Season

I now have a solid 2 weeks of training before the BUCS championships in the Olympic Stadium. Which reminds me I need to book some sort of accommodation and travel otherwise ill be walking there! I am still not sure as to what I will be competing in. I was dead against doing the 5k (as it is a horrible, evil distance) but after running quite well and feeling good over the 3k – it slowly doesn’t sound like a bad idea anymore! My other option is the 1500m, with heats and semis and a final – it would be a tough 3 days of racing (hopefully!) and might be good for my current training schedule. I decided against doing the 2000m Steeplechase, mainly because it is only 2000m and not the Olympic distance of 3000m. I want to try and limit the number of steeplechases I do this year and make every one count in order to give myself the best opportunity of staying injury free and fit for the trials.
Dundee Uni Team 
I have noticed that over the past few weeks I have started getting obsessive about injuries. Any little niggle or tightness that occurs totally freaks me out and I start to panic that it might be a full-blown injury. I then notice myself not doing certain things incase it hurts something or constantly self-massaging my foot/legs. Hearing of other folk being injured makes me want a full-body scan in order to insure there is nothing wrong with me! It’s definitely not a healthy way to live your life and so I’m glad I’ve realised it and made a stop to it before I turned into a proper psychopath! Hahaha..
It used to always be in the back of my mind – what if my foot breaks again?! – what if this, what if that… At the end of the day, you can’t prevent things from happening – shit happens and we deal with it. I really hope I don’t ever have to go through the injury that I did.. or the surgery.. or the rehab.. or trying to regain fitness ever again, but you can’t stop anything from going wrong or right! Hindsight would be a wonderful thing sometimes. I have thought about possibly taking the year off of the steeplechase in order to allow the foot to be completely stable and strong – and concentrating on the flat events, but my surgeon and the physios I have seen have reassured me that it really shouldn’t be an issue and that the bone is getting stronger each day. With it being an Olympic year also, I want to give it my best shot at making the team – and I believe I have the chance to do so in the ‘chase. I really don’t want to look back in 15 years time and think I missed my opportunity to make the London Olympic team because I was too nervous and worried about snapping my foot again to really go for it and try the steeplechase again, but I’d quite happily accept the fact that I didn’t make the team because I wasn’t good enough. Fingers crossed though I will be able to make the qualifying time before the trails on the 22nd June. Although there will be a handful of girls all vying for the two automatic (and one further) place on the team!


Tonight was my first proper attempt at going over the barriers to see how my foot was. Landing/pushing off exercises to see how the foot reacted. I also decided to see how things would be switching legs! Over all the barriers I hurdle and land on the stronger foot but for some reason on the water jump I always land only weaker one! This evening I attempted to change that - to see how things would be - and it went really well. I definitely have a lot more confidence going into my first steeplechase the end of May. Fingers crossed my other foot doesn't break - otherwise I won't be too happy and will hunt down God and ask him why he gave me such rubbish, dodgy feet!
Mackays Jam
This week I was fortunate enough to go along to the Mackays Shop in Arbroath to pick up some Jam! With my racing season starting, I have races lined up almost every weekend from the 4th May, which means a lot of Jam sandwiches being consumed before races and in-between heats and finals! I also took the opportunity to try some of the new chutneys and relishes they had in store (Mrs Bridges). I had never tasted chutney before but these ones are so soooo nice. I’ve even looked up recipes for my boyfriend to cook (as I am an absolute pleb at cooking)! Nom nom..
Jenny's 21st


Straight after my race at the weekend we drove straight to one of my friends from trainings 21st (Jenny Tan). It was a really good evening - filled with the majority of our training group and the Tan Family. The night was definitely not like most other 21st's I've attended in the past - this was a posh version! haha.. Nobody being sick on the floor or falling over- there was just a LOT of cake being consumed and some sweet moves from Jenny's Dad! I had ran out of steam (like a proper granny) by the time it hit 11pm and so headed home. It did make me realise how close our training group is - we really have all grown up together, like a little family! awwww! haha..

Scottish Country Dancing
Matthew, Craig and Robbies sweet moves
Me, The (almost) married couple and Morag!

Myself and Howell
Myself and Matthew
I will try to post some of our training videos from Portugal and from the weekends race soon, aka when I can be bothered to find my videocamera cable! 




Till then :) 

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