Thursday, 11 October 2012

Ice, Ice, Baby... Time to chilllllllll

Racing in Gateshead

After a disappointing performance in Italy over my last track race of the year – I was really looking forward to my first ever road race, the New York 5th Avenue Mile! However, before this, I was pulled in as a last minute replacement for the City Games Mile as part of Team GB in Gateshead. Again, I had a disappointing race after feeling very fatigued all week. The event was a great experience though and totally different to how track racing feels. I couldn't believe how quickly it passed by! But it gave me a real insight into how racing on the road, two weeks later in New York would feel like.

Gateshead
Kids all doing the mo-bot!
My younger siblings taking part in the Junior Run!
Last year, I was extremely upset to have missed the opportunity to race in New York due to injury – so I was very glad that things had been going well for me and that I could take part in my first American road race! I flew out very late on the Thursday night but the British Airways flight was superb and really comfortable. The New York Road Runners had organised everything for me – which made it truly amazing. There was absolutely nothing that I had to worry about – the organisation was top-class. Luckily, I got the chance to spend 3 days in New York – in the Hilton Hotel – just a few metres from Central Park. So, so good! I really didn't want to leave. The only downside was that, with only being there a few days and with my race obviously being my only priority – I never got the opportunity to do all the normal, touristy things! I did however, manage some shopping... not for myself, I might add!

5th Avenue Mile
Race bib
The hustle and bustle of Times Square really never stops – it's crazy. But for a few hours on Saturday morning – part of 5th Avenue actually shuts down to allow the mile races! The whole event really was unbelievable and I hope that the NYRR will have me back again next year! After not feeling particularly well with the cold the previous week – I wasn't too sure how my final race of the season would end – but I was pleased with my performance. The route is completely different to the one in Gateshead as the full mile is ran along the straight road of 5th Avenue – with only a small increase in gradient in the second 400m. There are also timers at every 400m so that the athletes know exactly what pace they are doing – and more importantly (for certain athletes) there is a cash incentive for whoever crosses the half-way line first (and for women – finish under a time of 4.32). The cash incentive is a further $1000(!!!) on top of the money prizes for the top 8. At half-way, the cash incentive didn't even cross my mind – the only thing I could think about – was how close to the leaders I was and how slow the pace felt!

GB girls :)
Naked Cowboy!
 I managed to finish a credible 9th in 4.29. It was nice to break the 4.30 barrier and with such a strong world-class 1500m field – I was pleased with my performance. Again, with a little bit more confidence – I do feel I should of started to move a little earlier as I had far too much left at the end. On the plus-side, I was the baby of the group by a good few years, so hopefully I can look forward to several more attempts!

Myself and Anna Pierce (USA) in Coogan's
After the race, the NYRR took us along to a dinner hosted by Coogan's – which claims to be the only track and field bar in the city! For me, it was the only track and field bar i've ever seen! (Do they exist anywhere else!?). The walls of the bar are covered in famous athletes signed vests and pictures – it's actually pretty cool. Probably only cool for athletes or running geeks like myself – but anyways, it was really nice evening. We did however get in trouble for dancing beside the bar whilst a few of the athletes were singing karaoke. The bouncer told us we had to stop dancing as it was illegal and that the bar didn't have a licence for dancing! Again, do these even exist – a licence to dance?! This may sound like we were perhaps dancing on the bar or something more extreme, but we were definitely not that exciting nor drunk.
Bernard Lagat (USA)!!

The next day felt like the longest day of my entire life. After very little sleep the night before – the return journey to Scotland was truly unbearable. With all the time differences I was wandering around like a zombie and actually scared myself when I caught sight of my face in the mirror. Horrible. I then missed my connecting flight due to the huge queues through Heathrow's security and almost cried when the attendant told me the next two flights home were full. Finally, I got a flight back home along with a £5 food voucher. I have never been so happy to see an egg and bacon baguette at 6am in my entire life.

Enjoying my break... Frisky Yoghurt in Edinburgh!
Eventually, I am now on a break. However – after such a long season it would have been a nice feeling to have genuinely not moved off the sofa for 3 weeks straight. But unfortunately for me there was a massive kick in the butt back to reality. The remainder of my 3rd year studies in Maths and Accountancy and part-time work. I have however, managed to sneak in a little 5 day holiday to Spain soon. THANK THE LORD.
Back to uni.. in the cold!
Highlight of being back to uni... discovering the Chinese Supermarket!

My break from training is almost over already – scary how quickly it's passed! I have had two weeks off and now have another two weeks of slowly building back my easy runs again to twice a day. My actual training sessions will not start until the 22nd October, so if you meet me at some point that week – it's probably in your best interest to avoid me. My coach (big Liz) sent me my training schedule for the next two months and it is horrible – but to be honest, I really cannot wait. If I can stay injury free and healthy, 2013 will (hopefully) be another huge step up in performance for me.

Day-trip to Aberdeen..
Cheering on all the Border Harriers at the Great Cumbrian Run
Great Cumbrian Run where I had the pleasure of starting!
Due to all my racing, I unfortunately missed both the main Team GB parade in London as well as the Scottish home-coming in Glasgow! I did however, get extremely jealous due to the over-load of pictures that all the athletes were posting on twitter and facebook! It was crazy to see how many people turned up – even in Scotland in the peeing rain! Disappointed that I couldn't be a part of it!

A few days ago, I took a flight over to Belgium to get my current orthotics re-checked and analysed. The whole business is run by the one family and they really are the nicest people you will ever meet! So, so helpful - and deal with the 3 million questions that I fired at them! The tests involve you running over pressure pads in order to work out which areas of your feet are possibly receiving the most impact as you hit the ground. They then do more tests including a back scan in order to work out the shape of insole you need in order to give you the best, natural running style and to minimise any possible injury risk. I honestly would not be running without them and their service is World-Class which is why hundreds of top athletes make the small journey over to the tiny town of Zwijndrecht in Belgium. 
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If I have time, I will scan all the information I was given with regards to my running style and post it on here as it really is interesting, honestly! 

Runners Service Lab, Belgium
My last day in Belgium was meant to be a chance for myself and my boyfriend Howell to do some sightseeing around Antwerp. However, it ended very quickly after a 10minute tram ride with Howell spewing at the side of a tram - what was definitely the remainder of our dinner from the previous night (broccoli and carrots from what I could see.. yum!) Great day out for us both... but it served him right for eating the raw meat that we were offered for lunch! I did feel really bad for him though as he genuinely thought the world was ending. The thought of our RyanAir flight home didn't make things any easier!
Zwijndrecht, Belgium
My weird feet against Paula Radcliffe's feet moulds!

Over the next few weeks there isn't much happening – running wise. I will perhaps do a few cross country events for athletics Club Dundee Hawkhill Harriers – but i'm not sure how helpful I will be to the team! Cross country really isn't my forte... Maybe that has changed, as I have improved this summer over all track disciplines. But I remember the not-so-long ago times - of when 13 year olds were steaming past me up hills - whilst I was skating around in the mud like Bambi on ice. I suppose we will soon find out!

This may be my last blog for a few weeks – unless I go crazy with the amount of uni work I have and feel the need to vent (see below). Or until I feel I have something exciting to tell! Until then....

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My boyfriend filmed this whilst I was doing some uni work... unbeknown to me.. Ice, Ice, Baby was always a favourite... ;)



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