Monday, 17 September 2012

The Finishing Season...


The past year has been unbelievable. It's actually quite sad that this is almost the end of the 2012 season. Everyone has waited so long for this year to come around and then when it has – it's totally flown by in a matter of weeks! Along the way I've had my fair share of ups and downs but my season as a whole has been a huge success and a major step forward in my development. If someone had told me back at christmas time, when I was hobbling around with a broken foot in a cast for 2 months – that in the summer I would go on to have my most successful season – making the Olympic Games and PB'ing over 1500m,3000m,5000m and 3000m SC.... I would of thought they were a complete nutcase. But, I did. I wish I had another few months of racing left as I really feel like I am coming back into good form again.

Two weeks ago at the Open BMC I set a PB of 3 seconds over 1500m to clock 4.11. Although it was quite a significant PB, I really felt I could run sub 4.10 if I had a few more competitive races. It was the first time ever that I set off 'quick' (for me) and it made such a difference. I felt so much more comfortable running at a quicker pace and in my own space than any of the other 1500m's i've competed in this year. My main problem is definitely confidence, I need to start going off with everyone else rather than sitting at the back of the pack, loping around like Bambi.

Race bib!
Slovakia Race Accreditation
The following Sunday, I travelled over to Slovakia for my last steeplechase of the year. It wasn't brilliant but it was the second fastest time I has ever clocked at 9.44. The race was a weird one though – I had no idea what pace we were going and thought that because I wasn't too far behind the leaders and pace-maker (scheduled to be going through at 9.15 pace) that I was running quick. But this wasn't the case! I also decided to sit behind an athlete, whom I knew had a much quicker PB than myself – which is really stupid. After the Olympics, people start to tail off their season and as they have peaked for the Games they usually aren’t in prime form or PB shape. Again, this is something that I will learn through racing and gaining more experience on the European Circuit. I was also spending about 5miutes before every barrier worrying about my feet. I have had a few niggles in both my feet and was considering ending my season after the Games in order to prevent any serious problem occurring. Thankfully they seem to have cleared off now – just as the season is ending! But with another year of strengthening my foot – I hope that worry will be totally out of my mine. It was my first time in Slovakia and the area we were in was really nice, although the athlete hotel was a strange one. It was like it was stuck in a time-warp from the 1980's. A tiny portable TV, absolutely boiling rooms and a proper old-school alarm clock. The lift was something out of 'Faulty Towers', only two people could fit in it and the door doesn't even need to be closed securely for the lift to start moving! It's safe to say after my first experience in it, there was no chance I was getting in it again and took the 4 flights of stairs to my room instead.

Mysterious bites from Slovakia.. 
Just last Tuesday, I did my first proper 3000m race of the year. My PB before was set back at the Scottish Uni Champs in April this year but after doing a 1500m several hours before – 9.15. So I was extremely pleased to smash my old PB by 17 seconds and squeeze under the 9minute barrier. It puts me into the Scottish All-time rankings as one of only 7 women to break the 9min barrier – behind the likes of my own mum, Yvonne Murray, Steph Twell etc. I was clocking consistent 71's until around the last K and felt really strong doing so, and I only really started to fade a little over the last few laps. I found myself slightly detached and running into the wind alone which made me struggle even more! With about 800m to go, I was wanting to die and not even sure I was going to make it to the finish! But thankfully I did, in a new PB of 8.58 :D

My hotel in Italy
Italy
That would have been a great way to end my track season, however I managed to get into the World Challenge Meeting in Rieti, Italy. After feeling really fatigued all week, travelling down and up on the one day that Tuesday for my race in Manchester then training on top of that - I really struggled in the race. It was actually slower right from the gun compared to my race only 5 days previous but it felt like I was flat-out as soon as the gun went. I had absolutely nothing in my legs and no real reason why, apart from the fact I was perhaps still not fully recovered. It was disappointing to run 12 seconds slower than I did a few days ago – as I was really hoping for another PB. I feel that I am currently in about 8.54/5 shape but unfortunately that's going to have to wait till next year!

Rieti Track
After being a bit down about my race and wishing I had stayed at home rather than travelling all the way to Italy to run rubbish – I then quickly stopped sulking and realised how lucky I am. I have been fortunate enough to travel all around this world this year, visiting so many amazing places and all whilst doing something I enjoy – racing. Rieti is definitely up there as one of my favourite places so far. I had never visited Italy, but the small town of Rieti was so, so nice – I wasn't keen on coming home again! It looks almost like a little film-set, everything is prefect - along with the weather. The track is also really nice and would be a great place to train. I will definitely be looking into heading out there again – whether it be for a holiday or training camp. The only negative was the fact the women's toilets didn't have any locks on the doors and so you were wandering in, opening the doors slowly, hoping that no-one was inside! Unfortunately for me, I walked in on both Vivian Cheruiyot and Linet Masai (not together obviously, that would be weird) – which was really awkward. An Olympic Silver Medallist and a World Champion – not really something that happens every day. We clearly have similar bladder patterns, sadly for me – that is probably where our similarities end! Haha.
After-party

Street Artist
The evening after the races, all the athletes, officials and race agents were invited along to a huge villa up in the mountains for a buffet dinner and after-party. It was a really nice night, although it was a tad strange being at an athletics event - but not having all of Team GB there. The weren't many GB athletes to be honest.... myself, Hannah England, Michael Rimmer and Andrew Osagie, but it was nice to chill out. Most of the athletes there were finished competing but there has been no crazy nights out from me... yet. My season still isn't quite over!

The flight over to Rieti was a long one stopping in Heathrow, before finally arriving in Rome (British Airways)– we then had a 3 hour wait followed by a 2 hour bus ride. I was pretty happy to see my bed that evening. However, I thought I was being clever getting a direct flight (RyanAir) back to Edinburgh. Silly decision. People start queuing about 2 hours before the flight is even due to board, then everyone is pushing there way on the plane to find a seat – it's so hectic. Thankfully, I was so tired from the fact I had only a few hours sleep, that I really wasn't bothered where I would be sitting. Everyone is going to get a seat – so why is there such a rush?! I also don't understand why people bother paying for 'speedy boarding' or some of the other 'advantages' you get by paying for all these extras – at the end of the day, your still on the exact same RyanAir flight as me!

RyanAir Queues...
Aside from athletics, I got the chance to go along to watch my first ever football match. Dundee United Vs Dundee FC. It still amazes me that Dundee even has two football teams... but anyways, it was a lovely day out – thanks to one of my sponsors Stirfresh. My little brother Eamonn is a HUGE football fanatic, he can literally rattle off hundreds of facts and figures with regards to football – which is strange as our whole family has always been so involved with athletics! Even though I don't actually support any football team, it was a great day out nonetheless and the noise from within the stadium was ridiculous!
Great Scottish Run - This kid was definitely a favourite..

Just last weekend I got the opportunity to start the Toddler's race at the 'Bank of Scotland Great Scottish Run'. It was absolutely hilarious watching all these little kids, do their warm ups along side their parents, line up and then take off as soon as the gun went! They were only running 100m – but to these little ones it was a huge event! It really was such a great day out and I cant wait to take my siblings along next year - as The Great Scottish Run was one of my first ever road races when I was little.

I also took a quick visit to catch up with one of my local sponsors Mackays. As many of my family and friends know, I am addicted to Jam – so to be honest, walking into the factory store is like heaven. Paul and Martin Grant are also two of the nicest people, ever! So it's lovely getting the chance to catch up with them both. I also got some amazing goodies! Nom.
Mackay's Goodies!!
Quick school visit.

Also a quick Thank you to Phiten UK for sending me out some things to try out. Their GB Phiten Necklace along with some moisturisers and kinesio tape. I am still not fully sure of the mechanics behind them, but I have ran two PBs since using them – so they're definitely not coming off any time soon! :)
Phiten Necklace
My last race will be my first ever senior road race, the New York 5th Avenue Mile. To say I am excited about it would be a massive understatement. It's literally all i've been thinking about after the Games. I really cannot wait. Luckily, I got the opportunity a few years ago to go over and watch my mum complete in the New York Marathon for Charity and now I get the chance to experience New York alone! I also get (almost) a full day after my race so hopefully i'll manage to get some sight-seeing in (and some serious shopping). I do however have a little break coming up after New York – a nice little 5 day holiday planned to Calpe, Spain with my lovely boyfriend. It will be the first time i've gone away on a non-running related trip in a long, long time and I seriously can't wait. I will, however, cry if it rains for the duration of our stay. My tan from Portugal is slowly fading and i'm considering fake-tanning for the first time ever. My newly brown hair makes me conscious of how bloody pale my scottish skin is!
A lot of long journey's.. slowly turning me insane..

It's been a long, long season for me – but one that has been AMAZING. Considering how abrupt my season last year was ended and how much I struggled throughout my injury, everything really has turned round for the best. I honestly couldn’t of asked for any more.
Back at work.. where I have to put this ugly mug on all the clothing!
Kat.. haha joking of course!
Nice to see i'm appreciated.. got home to this lovely creation...
It's back to reality tomorrow as I head back to University to finish the remainder of my third year studies. Fortunately, I have split my year and so should have no problems with fitting in all my winter training. Things are taking a step up for me over the winter which I previously haven’t been able to do, due to injury. I am also going to start incorporating some barrier technique work – as I did absolutely zero this year and it clearly showed. I will no doubt be forced into some cross-countries by the big boss (coach/mother) and will also be doing some indoors – although again, I will be training through them in order to be in the best possible form by the summer. The World Championships 2013 is definitely my next aim and hopefully I will be in even better shape and in with a chance to make the final. 

1 comment:

  1. Glad this year's been good to you! Wish you the very best :)
    By the way, your writing style's quite good. You might try writing fiction!
    Keep up the good work!

    ReplyDelete