Monday, 6 February 2012

We came, we ran, we conquered… Simmies until I die.

Due to the fact that I graduate in the summer, the weekend just gone will most likely be the last time I represent St Mary’s.  My preparation going into the race was far from ideal with a niggling knee preventing me from training following the southern indoor championships. In total I clocked about 20 miles in two weeks.  I know that it would have had no effect on my performance as the work had already been done. I did everything in my power to nurse my knee to make it onto that start line. I placed a bet with my housemates that if I was to finish outside the top 15 I would wear full GB kit in the first open Watford meet this summer.
Upon arrival I found myself lacking the motivation necessary to represent my university with all I had, a lot of the people around me were new, I had little connection with them as most trained with a different group. Living away from campus left me lacking the same bond that I have had in previous years. Once the men’s A race set off, I witnessed the fire in the eyes of the lads. They fought with everything they had, the passion soon came back and once again I felt part of something big. Ash Harrell gave everything he had to break Jonny Hay, unfortunately everything wasn’t enough and Jonny Hay came through to take the win. Still a great performance from Ash to take the bronze and with the rest of the scoring team all finishing within the top ten we destroyed the team standings. Our girls who I had never expected to win followed the boys with outstanding performances taking it to the other teams gaining the silver (Leigh Lattimore) and bronze (Louise Small) medal’s individually.

In the build-up to my race, the team captain Luke Allen fired up the team with an inspirational speech. The atmosphere was amazing, the lads were psyched and we were ready to go! As I turned towards the long finishing straight I found myself in 16th place and feeling absolutely fooked! The guys were screaming at me, they believed that if I could get the brum (Matthew Jackson) before the line that we would claim all three team medals and deny Birmingham of anything! Also concerned about the fact that I did not wish to run in a GB vest that I had not earned, I put my head down and embraced the pain! I not only kicked past Jackson but 2 other athletes holding off Harper as he attempted to run me down. I finished 13th and was part of the biggest domination that the BUCS had ever seen with 1st (Toby Loveridge) to 8th all being St Mary’s athletes. I was the 11th St Mary’s athlete to finish with only 2 Birmingham guys in front of me. Unfortunately Birmingham did enough to seal the bronze medal. Of the 18 prizes St Mary’s claimed 10 of them.
It’s a sad feeling to know that next year I won’t be on the line representing the blue and white, however in my heart when those simmies are standing on the line, I will be right there with them, their victory will be my victory and their defeat will be my defeat, I have great faith in the boys and girls to carry St Mary’s to yet another year of glory… Simmies until I die!

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Time for a change

At the end of last year I decided that it was time to move out of the athlete bubble (Clive U) and get a house. I moved in with James Bowness, Tommy Carroll, Ollie Crux and a girl not involved in athletics called Caragh. Though the house has its ups and downs, I feel it has been good for me to get away from the big brother house that is Clive U.
 Having not moved forward on the track, I decided that it was time for a change. So at the end of another disappointing summer, I decided to move across to Craig Winrow’s group. When I first moved across to Craig’s group I was incredibly out shape, and rather than doing my usual thing of running myself into the ground until I broke. It was decided that I would gradually build up the intensity and volume of the training so that my body could adapt to it without falling apart. I have really enjoyed training with the new group, we have gained a lot of new fresher’s that have become great training partners, we work together a lot pushing each other along. I have not been ill since September, and touch wood I haven’t had any serious injuries other than minor niggles that I have been able to mother whilst still training.
As the winter went on, I slowly became stronger and faster, and competing in low key events such as park runs, I found myself making huge improvements over short periods of time. I recently competed in the southern indoors at lee valley park and though I am disappointed to have only managed 6th place in the final, I ran a PB of 3.56 in the heat and was very competitive in the final.
I have the BUCS cross country coming up next weekend, I will not be going out in Camden the night before this year. I look forward to getting involved and giving the youngsters hell!

Thursday, 20 January 2011

the beginning

This is my first blog so I will begin with a small introduction. I am the oldest athlete from a strong and upcoming group of runners coached by Tim and Pauline Ash based in Norwich, in the East of England. I am very proud to be a part of that group, and I expect that over time we will continue to grow stronger. 
I am currently studying at St Mary’s university in Twickenham, and spend my time training with the group coached by Mick Woods, Mick has a good relationship with my coach in Norwich and watches over myself and the other Norwich athletes whilst we are at St Mary’s setting our sessions and helping out wherever possible. I am sure most people are aware of the strength of the athletes based at St Mary’s both in Mick’s and Craig’s training groups.
Before coming to St Mary’s I considered myself to be an 800m athlete, and through the years I progressed at quite a fast rate; within 5 years I moved from a time of 2.11 to 1.51, but I grew stale and in the seasons following that summer whenever I had finally got my body into PB shape it broke down before I had the opportunity to perform at the same level.
Since my arrival at St Mary’s, my stamina base has grown & I have toyed with the longer distances, moving forwards from a PB of 33.10 to 31:50 over 10km. And managing a 77th placing at the senior inter-counties when I had never even managed to finish in the top 100 as a junior athlete. I am currently on the comeback from a torn calf muscle which has troubled me since the national 6 stage road relays in early October. In order to maintain the fitness I had gained prior to my injury I have had no choice but to get in the pool.  When I got back home for the Christmas break I was fortunate enough to have a friend who owned a cross trainer, I went to his house to train on it every other day in between my runs to allow me to maintain my fitness levels. This has allowed me to recover from my injury and now I am near enough back into full training.
My current goal is to hit the next couple of weeks very hard, putting my body on the line and making sure I am in shape to be of use to St Mary’s when we head out to Birmingham for the BUCS cross country championships in early February.