Thursday, 16 August 2012

The London Olympics - Part 1 - Pre-camp


The past three weeks have been truly amazing. It has been far better than I could of ever imagined and the whole experience is something that I will never, ever forget. I can not explain how grateful I am to have been selected as part of this team, Team GB! Although I was unhappy with my performance and disappointed not to produce a better time – I would like to thank everyone for their support and kind messages along the way. If some one told me five years ago, when it was announced that London had won the bid, that I would have even a minuscule chance of making the team – I would of laughed at them, a lot. And to even think that it would be possible, only ONE year after breaking my foot and having surgery – is an achievement in itself! This for me has been a massive stepping stone towards the next few years. 


Although every member of the general public is behind the Olympics (and rightly so), sport and especially athletics doesn't stop! Every year there are major championships for us, wether it be Europeans, Commonwealth or Worlds. Fortunately for many of us young-ins we have two more home games to look forward to! Moscow- 2013, Glasgow 2014, Beijing 2015, Rio 2016, London 2017 are (hopefully) the next stops within our athletics calendar. The games have only made me more determined than ever to make every little improvement I can. It gives you the chance to witness top class athletes and evaluate how the gap from you to them can be closed - if ever so slightly!

As the Olympics was obviously such a huge event in my life – and the fact that so many things happened along the way - I will split my blog into several smaller parts (so bare with me!). Hopefully I can give some insight into what it really is like being part of a home games and share some videos and pictures! There have been some hilarious moments and I have met some of the most amazing people through this trip – it's actually been really sad to leave it all behind and get back to the normal daily grind again, knowing like nothing like this will ever happen again. Every single person I have met through Team GB have been lovely and that really is the honest truth. I am extremely proud to be a part of this team and what they have achieved along with all the volunteers, officials and supporters. It has been unbelievable. Rio 2016 definitely have their work cut out.

Portugal Holding Camp

As many of you know, all of athletics were based out in Monte Gordo, Portugal – 10 days prior to competing in the Olympic Games. I am not fully aware of the reason behind this, perhaps to get everyone away from the media attention of a home games etc.. but it really did work well. The whole camp was totally relaxed and gave me the chance to be a full time athlete for the 10 days I was there. It also made a huge change getting a bit of warm weather for once!

The previous week I had set a new Personal Best over 1500m at the Stretford BMC. It was a PB by a around a second – but I was disappointed with it. After not getting out quick enough over the first 200m, I found myself stuck behind the field of 18 girls! This meant that I ran wide for the majority of the race and really only started to focus and knuckle down over the last 150m... a typical Eilish manoeuvre.

I had two of my best ever sessions out in Portugal – which is why I was so disappointed not to preform at my best at the Olympic Games. I know i'm in the best shape of my life and so I was frustrated not to have shown it on the biggest sporting occasion going!

I asked one of the coaches George Gandy to film some of my session so that I could send it back to Big Liz (coach) – but after my session was over, I came back to find a 6minute video of the grass and George's feet.... bless him. He tried!

video
As all of the athletes were out in Portugal we actually missed the Olympic Opening Ceremony. Initially I was a bit gutted about missing the whole experience of my first ever major championships (and the fact it was an Olympics!) but to be honest, it was in the athletes best interest to miss it. It involves a lot of standing around for hours on end and for athletes wanting to compete at their best - it is not the best preparation. Luckily for us, we all got together as one big team to watch it live on a huge screen in the hotel theatre. Wearing our matching space outfits, sorry.. I mean Opening Ceremony outfits, we all watched the events together! In the beginning I had no idea what the hell was going on. There was grass all over the track and sheep running all about the place but someone soon explained to me the reasoning behind it all!
Myself and Jack Green
Laura Weightman and me

If i'm honest, I think Danny Boyle did a great job. It was weird and wonderful but had all the underlying history of what makes Britain, Great Britain. We were all given silly Olympic glasses to wear for our official team photo – one of the best freebies i've had so far. Haha.

Rocking our Aladin outfits
Lynsey Sharp, me, Emily Diamond
The motivational speeches were presented by Charles Van Comenee and Dai Greene – our team captain. There has been a lot of media interest in wether CVC will leave UK Athletics this season after missing his target of 8 medals. Personally, I really hope he doesn't. 7 medals is a great achievement and team GB came 4th in the athletics medal table! Yes, sometimes people think Charles can be harsh but I think this is sometimes mistaken for honesty. He is completely black and white with what he says and doesn't take excuses. He has always been extremely positive towards me and has given me some good advice towards what I need to improve in order to make my next step forward in the future.

Anyways, back to the Olympics!

My last easy run in Portugal was definitely one to remember. Many of my family and friends were texting me in a panic after it was reported by the media that I had been hit by a car – which was completely... true! Some 'smart' people on twitter were slagging me off saying I should have been running on the pavement or that I should of 'watched where I was going' but I will clear all of that up now. There were no pavements as we were based out in the countryside of portugal. The roads were all very quiet and so for my easy runs I would go out jogging alone. I was running on a mile long stretch of straight road – facing the traffic – when a small white van came up behind me. The lady was driving quite fast and panicked as she got closer to me as I turned my head around to look at how far away the car was. The next thing I remember is the van braking harshly and swerving towards the opposite side of the road and clipping me. Thankfully the van was slowing down rapidly and only knocked the bottom of my feet and legs. I fell onto her bonnet but managed to push myself up and carry on running. I must of looked like a complete nutter though, as when she got out her car – crying and screaming – I quietly got up, turned around and starting sprinting away!

I ran a further 2 miles home completely pain free. The only problem I had, the next morning, was a slight stiffness within my lower back. The physios and massage therapists are amazing though and really do work wonders for all the athletes out on the camp. During my race I did get a little bit of cramp through my left hip and lower back but I have no idea wether it was linked to the accident or not – it could of purely been nerves and over-thinking!

Kitting out Process

The kitting out process was pretty cool although it did take over 4 hours to get through the whole thing! It involved getting changed several times over and over again, trying on every single piece of clothing that we were about to receive, for the correct sizes. Ultimately it was like a massive shopping experience – wandering through different rooms to get to more clothes – Adidas, Next then the Competition Kit. A females dream... the boys weren't as happy.

Unfortunately as we were one of the last groups of people to kitting out – some of our sizes were a bit off. The funniest thing I tried on was the 'GB casual skirt' – I was meant to have a size 6/8 but the smallest size they had left was a size 12. I went to the changing rooms to put it on and as soon as I moved the curtain out the way -everyone burst out laughing at me as this 'skirt' was hanging off me around my knees. If I had gone outside I would have been done for indecent exposure as my bum was hanging out!

The amount of kit is unbelievable though! It really is amazing how much you get given – I have no idea where i'm going to put it all. From bathrobes to flip flops, there is literally every item you could possibly think of! We also got given an unique iPod from BMW and a pair of sport headphones from Panasonic – both Olympic Sponsors.

During the kitting out experience there were loads of random things to sign and opportunity’s to get your photo taken. I have no idea where all these pictures go but I was told they eventually get put into large books and put into museums?! No idea how true that is.. haha. We also got a cast of our foot and hand which apparently also goes into some museum as we are now Olympians – pretty cool.

The last event of the day was the Adidas 'Take the Stage' photo booth. Every single person in Team GB had to get an individual picture taken. We then got the opportunity to take in some of the props they have... silly things like pirate hats, funny glasses, rubber ducks. It was pretty fun to be honest. I wish I had one of these booths in my flat.

4 comments:

  1. Sounds as though you have had a ball! So pleased to hear all about it. You did very well and look forward to following you progress. Sadly, we were in the US at the time of the games and the coverage was very biased - plus ads every two minutes it seemed:-)As a result we only saw a limited selection of events.

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  2. Thanks for a great blog, is really great to read all the 'behind the scenes' bits. Looking very much forward to the next installments!

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  3. Thanks so much for a great blog! Is nice to hear all the 'behind the scenes' bits :) Looking forward to the next instalments !

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  4. Well done Eilish; you made GB very, very proud :-)

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