Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Oslo Diamond League



I apologise in advance as this will probably end up being a huuuuge blog but there is a lot of stuff to cover and I have nothing to do for the next hour or so!

Last time I spoke about how excited I was to participate in my first ever International Diamond League in Oslo. Although I had done two diamond leagues last year, they were both in the UK and so didn't really feel any different to some other races. A lot of people think it must be great with all the travelling athletes do but to be honest, you don’t really get to see many parts of the places we visit – apart from the stadiums and hotel rooms! However, my flight home was quite late at night the following day and so for the first time – I actually got the chance to wander around Oslo and do some sightseeing!


Race number!

Preparation before Oslo was not the best. My last training session, on the Saturday before my race, went well but afterwards I decided to do a few runs overs, over some hurdles – bad idea. One of the hurdles was too low and put round the other way by accident. I absolutely clattered into it with my knee! The pain across my knee cap was pretty bad and I couldn't carry on running. After falling to the ground, I then could not manage to bend my knee at all. The first thought that went through my head was that I had broken my knee cap. I was panicking so much and got myself so worked up about it all! After crying for quite a while, I eventually managed to hobble to the car and head home! After hours (and I mean HOURS!) of icing, ibuprofen and all other possible things I could do to alleviate the swelling and pain, the knee cap was completely fine – apart from quite a deep cut that refused to stop bleeding! That night I managed to make the final part of our close friends (also in our training group) Laura and Graeme Oudney's Wedding! Although I looked like a complete geek wearing my mums old sandals with my bright blue insoles sticking out of them! But I really didn't care – and I refused to take anymore injury risks! Haha..

Howell and me.. with a creepy matthew
Miss Jenny Tan and Myself
The wedding was amazing! Although it is really weird to think that two of my really close friends are married now. I had only ever been to a family wedding before – must be getting old. I refuse to call Laura Brown.... Laura Oudney though. It's still so strange. The two of them did look beautiful though and the evening went perfectly. It was also a really good chance to get everyone together again – all the people we used to train with years and years ago and a few of our coaches.
Me and Howell :)

My extremely good-looking training group
The next day I woke up to a lovely bruised knee cap and decided it would be best to cross train for the next few days until the bruising went down as I was struggling to run on it. Luckily for me by the Tuesday I was back running fully again and so able to compete on the Thursday with no problems at all!

As you can see, preparations were not ideal before Oslo. I was a little bit worried about how things would go as I was perhaps a bit negative about the way I was thinking – but I knew I was in good shape regardless of what had happened the other day in training. To be honest, I wasn't nervous at all. Knowing that your one of the slowest in the race allows there to be absolutely no pressure on you – just like at training. I knew all I had to do was sit at the back, run my own race and work hard. To run a PB, a Scottish Record, an UK U23 record and an Olympic A time – I maybe should have been a lot happier than I was but I just felt that I could of gone a little bit faster. I lost concentration on the middle laps and only got back in touch with the race after the second last water jump – as I slipped on the barrier!! Instead of my spike plate going into the wood, I over-stepped it and hit it with my heel. Instantly I thought – not again! - as the last time I did that I ended up breaking my foot and swimming about in the water for about 10 minutes... Thankfully I managed to stay upright but the panic made me switch back on again. Hopefully i've done enough to put myself forward for selection towards London 2012 – I really feel that by the time the Olympics come around I will be in 9.30 shape and hopefully fighting for a place in the final. Will I be in with a chance for a medal? Of course not! Unless I managed to attach a rocket to the bottom of my spikes. But realistically I do believe I can make a final, just.

Whilst in Oslo, my room-mate was Steph Twell. This was actually the first time I had ever met her and it was weird to hear how we both had very similar stories about breaking bones, surgery and the rehab we both went through to get ourselves back racing again. It was quite nice to chat to someone who had been through the exact same thing I had – although hers was perhaps a bit more serious - being such a high profile athlete to begin with and perhaps a lot more pressure being put on her to return to form – than myself. She is genuinely one of the nicest people you will ever meet and I really wish her well for the rest of the season as she truly deserves to make the team for 2012 after what she's gone through – hopefully I can join her there!

I had two 'Oh my jesus' experiences whilst I was in Oslo. The first being with Usain Bolt. All the athletes in the warm up area were meant to use the one toilet. As you can imagine with one toilet and hundreds of athletes – the queues are long and the toilet begins to get horrible. So I decided to run into the changing room toilets which were to be used only for Taekwondo (supposedly!). But as I ran out of the toilet I was directly in Usain Bolt's face along with his three HUGE security guards. Usain was in his normal cheery mood but these security guards looked like they were going to beat me up so I avoided all eye contact with them and nervously ran out of the room as quick as I could! The room was purely for Usain only. Oops, so cringey. I think they thought I was just following them around but genuinely I was just using the bathroom. Haha.

Usaaaaaaain
I had never really thought about this before, but Usain Bolt must have quite a tough life. He is obviously a huge earner and can buy himself whatever he wants – but in a way, he is isolated all the time. He doesn't have meals with all the other athletes and is surrounded by bouncers whilst he is warming up on the indoor track that only the athletes can access. It must be a really weird situation to be in – one where his every move is monitored. There is also a huge pressure on him to constantly perform. Before his race he is showcased to the huge crowds and then on the TV there is the 'countdown to Bolt' timer that gets everybody excited to watch him race. It must be really hard to keep performing and motivating yourself to go through the whole circus of press and media over and over again – but he does it so well.

My second highlight involved another athletics hero – Bekele. Myself and Steph sat down for tea at an almost empty table. But within seconds most of the table had been taken up by some of the Ethiopian team. Bekele then strolled over and sat directly in front of me. He is one of the few athletes i've never actually had the chance to see in real life – so it was pretty cool. I couldn’t help but stare at what he was eating, maybe if I ate what he did i'd become one of the best in the world?! Well i'm sorry to announce that the information I conduced from his eating was definitely not useful. Bekele sat down with a burger, rice, salmon, noodles, vegetables, baked potato and waffles. It was just a huge mountain of food with no real thought. Waffles – a desert – mixed with the rest of the buffet choices. Healthy eating – schmealthy eating, I filled up with seconds and thirds after witnessing it – all about the recovery obviously! Haha.


Oslo Opera House
Oslo Palace
The following day I decided to take my camera out with me after my easy run and do some sightseeing around Oslo – i'm not really into stuff like that but it was actually pretty sweet. I stopped at the Opera House and the gardens around the Palace which was so, so lovely. I also took the opportunity to take a picture of the statue outside the Bistlett Stadium of the late, great Grete Waitz. Grete Waitz (1 October 1953 – 19 April 2011) was a Norwegian marathon runner and former world record holder. Waitz won nine New York City Marathons between 1978 and 1988, more than any other runner in history. She also won a silver medal at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles and a gold medal at the 1983 World Championships in Athletics in Helsinki. Grete and her husband Jack were also very close family friends with our family – as Grete had actually coached and given my mum some advice in the final years of my mums career. Her and Grete were very akin athletes mentally and had very similar thoughts on training. Even after being diagnosed with terminal cancer, Grete was still up at 5am to go for her morning jog when she came to visit us in 2010. She really was a true inspiration and I am very fortunate to have met her.
Statue of Grete Waitz

My return flight from Oslo Airport ended up being a bit of a nightmare. Security strikes caused mile long queues that took over an hour to get through as only two of the security scanners were opened for hundreds of passengers! The staff were all so lovely though and handed out free bottles of water and ICE-CREAM!! I had never been so happy in my life – like a little kid at christmas I was totally beaming about this ice-cream – you would of thought I had never been fed before. But it was just the constant queueing on my tired legs – I couldn't wait to get home and lie down! It did make me laugh though looking around the queue at serious business men all scoffing down their ice-creams and looking pretty pleased about it all.
My free ice-cream.. nom!

Just quickly I would like to thank every one for their lovely messages, facebooks, tweets etc! It was so, so nice to read them all. I think I replied to everyone – but my twitter was playing up a bit! So I apologise if I didn't reply to anyone. Don't take it personally but I must really hate you. Jokingggggg.

After Oslo going well, myself and my mum decided the best idea for me would be to train from now up until the trials on the 24th June. For me to cement my place in the Olympic Team I have to come top 2 at the trials, fingers crossed I can achieve this! If not, I would possibly have one more opportunity to make the team at the European Championships a few days later in Helsinki. But hopefully I wont have that added worry of chasing competitions like I did last year! I would like to limit the amount of steeples I do this year to give myself some time to recover and lower my chances of injury!

Next stop: The Trials!



5 comments:

  1. That was a good read, thanks.I always followed your Mums career, now its great that you are doing so well too.
    Scott.

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  2. Really enjoy reading your blogs Eilish - thanks for sharing your athletics adventures. Totally agree about Steph being one of the nicest people in athletics, have had the pleasure of meeting her a few times. Looking forward to seeing you at the Trials - good luck!!

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  3. Good to read about your experiences. Well done to have the grit to carry on through injuries. All the best. I expect you'll be showing me up at the gym again soon:-)

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  4. One of the finest Blogs I have had the pleasure to read. Onwards and upwards Elish!

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  5. ps - about the Usain Bolt story - do you know that an anagram of 'Usain Bolt' is 'ablutions'! :-)

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