Wednesday, 29 May 2013

The 2013 season... A Huge Catch Up..

It has been a long, long time since my last blog but University exams have been slowly destroying my life. However, the good news is – these are now OVER. Goodbye University – Hello big,bad world – well, the athletics world for now. I never ever want to see a number again – unless it's winning lottery numbers. Over the past three months there have been some major changes, one being that I no longer have a home – which is why I have been country-hopping for the past two months! I spent a month training out in Portugal with my Dundee-based training group followed by a month spell in Font-Romeu with UK Athletics. This was my first ever trip to Font so I would like to take the opportunity to thank London Marathon for their support on this camp!
Portugal
Training squad in Portugal
Finally some sunshine!
A full 2 months without killing each other... success. Myself and Muhktar

On my return from Kenya, I decided last minute to test myself over a 3000m indoors at the Birmingham Grand Prix. Unsure as to how the altitude would affect me, I was very wary about how I would feel! Luckily for me, I reacted really well and came away with a new PB. As I was only a few seconds off the European Indoor Championships Qualifying time – I decided to accept an invite to race another 3000m Indoor at the Stockholm GP. I came away with another PB, this time a big chunk off my outdoor time – 8.49 and a second place behind Dibaba. To be fair though, she was so far ahead I could only just see her perky little bum metres ahead in the distance! It was clear that altitude training definitely works for me, so when I was given the opportunity to head out to Font-Rome in April, I jumped at the chance.

Birmingham Indoors GP
Sweden GP
Font-Romeu is a lot lower than Kenya at around 5000ft – so technically steady runs should be easier than out in Kenya. However, the first few sessions I was seriously struggling! Panting like a dog on a hot day, I was in a bad place. I did manage my first ever session over barriers (I realise this is bad – as I am meant to be a steeplechaser) but things actually went really well. Out in Portugal, training had hit a bit of a stand-still so I was glad things were starting to turn around by the time I was out in Font. I was slightly embarrassed to do my session in front of the French Olympic steeplechaser Tahri – he was probably cringing thinking what the hell is that girl doing. My technique is an acquired taste.... haha, but it has improved hugely! The only thing I haven't done since the Olympics is the water-jump. There have been numerous reasons as to why this has happened but every time we aim to do a few run overs after sessions etc. there always seems to be a bigger reason not too – whether that be bad weather or a slight niggle – I just want to limit my chances of getting injured before starting, what should be, a great season for me!
Font-Romeu's snow storm!
Death by the track... at 5000ft!
Font-Romeu Lake

The scenery out in Font is genuinely unbelievable - although I was ready to end my life when the temperature dropped so rapidly. One day I was out sunbathing in a bikini – the next day, I wake up to 10ft of snow, in minutes. Some of the athletes retreated to the underground car park and did their long sunday runs around a 75second circle – luckily for me, I managed to find a 2mile loop at the lake - of which a snow-plough had just cleared the way. God clearly thought we were too lucky though and decided to start a snow storm, which then meant the next few hours were spent trapped in the car, at the bottom of the mountain. One of the coaches decided to try and get wheel spikes for the car but the service station had run out of them! Luckily for us – they certainly hadn’t ran out of pain au chocolats and take-away pizzas. Our snow adventure was complete.
Preparing to run in the snow storm...
Made it to the top! 6mile hill session!
Myseld and Dean.. frozen to death
Pizza in the bath after a TOUGH, SNOWY day...

Another last minute decision to race the Loughborough International was made after a few decent sessions at sea-level.

My first race of the season – 1500m went really well. I managed to knock off two seconds from my personal best to record a 4.09. It also meant I clocked a Scottish Commonwealth Games Standard for 2014 – which is always a bonus! For hours and hours prior to the race, my mum had told myself and Morag (my good friend and training partner from Dundee) that we were both in sub 4.10 shape – and that in order to hit those times we needed to run a 66 first lap. She was constantly banging on and on about this, so when we both heard 68... our hearts dropped! I knew we were in for a bollocking unless we got a move on! Luckily, my legs felt great and so I managed to kick on over the last lap and drag my time back down to a 4.09. It's a far cry from my 4.26 opener last year so hopefully that's a sign of what is to come this season! The weather was perfect though, which is a first for the UK!
Final 100m
Myself and Morag - 1500m, Lough
Training in Loughborough

Not going to lie, it wasn't the most exciting few days of my life! I spent three days in Loughborough before heading down to London for the Olympic Garden Party at Buckingham Palace! But in the space of those three long, long, looooong, boring days... I watched a disgusting amount of 'car-crash TV'. More specifically, (and I apologise in advance.. I am cooler than this, I promise), 5 episodes of Britain’s Got Talent, 2 episodes of The Voice, 1 episode of The Valleys, 1 episode of Made in Chelsea (this doesn’t count as it's amazing) aaaaaand 2 episodes of The Apprentice. I did dispute, internally in my head, as to whether I should admit to this or not... Probably not.
Ready for the Garden Party!
Hey Queenie! 
Landaaaaan!
Buckingham Palace

The Garden Party at Buckingham Palace was thankfully a lot more exciting. Obviously, I was slightly upset that my chance to become royalty quickly vanished at the no-show of Prince Harry but the sight of the Queen and Kate Middleton, got me through such a tough time. It was pretty sweet getting the opportunity to walk through Buckingham Palace towards the gardens – although by the grand scale of it, it's not quite a 'garden', more a huge park! It was all quite a posh occasion – of which all of Team GB were meant to be in their matching 'Official Next Formalwear'. Not Eilish though, as usual, I couldn't find my GB dress! So it was a last minute scurry around my wardrobe to find a 'summer dress'. I also then realised, I had no shoes other than my trainers – cue my boyfriend's amazing sister, Katie – I had a lovely pair of flat shoes. Then... I realised I didn't have any black tights, which meant I spent the full two hours annoying my boyfriend asking if my dress was too short, if it had moved or if my bum was exposed. Queenie would not have been happy with me. This was all topped off by the fact, I also didn't have a hat! I think I can forget about marrying into royalty anytime soon...

Central Park
The next race of my summer season, my first 3000m steeplechase of the year, was at the New York Diamond League. I was pretty excited about the opportunity of heading to New York again and especially, for my first ever track race in America. Unfortunately it didn’t go as well as I had hoped – although it wasn’t a disaster. The weather was pretty horrific – strong winds, brisk temperatures topped off by torrential rain – it was like being back in Scotland! The pace was set for the top africans at 3.05 for the first K – which would have been perfect for me to just sit at the back of the pack. However, it was much, much slower right from the gun which meant that the whole field was very bunched. I ran consistent, consistently slow... but managed to pick up the last K by quite a bit to record 9.45. To be honest, I shouldn't really be disappointed as it's my quickest ever opener in the steeplechase and my 3rd fastest time ever – but I really was. I was so angry at myself, as I know I am in much better shape than that! My hurdling has improved greatly from last year and my fitness is a world apart compared to 2012 – however my water jump is still letting me down. This is something I will definitely start to work on and develop over the next few years. The main thing for me is that i'm healthy and injury free. I've had one good race, one mediocre race, two commonwealth qualifying times and a World Championship B time – only 2 seconds off the A standard - and its only May. So... I really shouldn't be complaining - although I am never happy and always looking for better!
Ichann Stadium, NY

Living the high life... Shreddies in a cup. Playa.
New york is amazing though – I wish I could go out at some point for a holiday rather than for racing! As an athlete you never actually get to witness the city or go sightseeing – my sights involved... a bus, a hotel room and a restaurant. That's a slight lie – this time I had a good few hours before my flight home and so spent a couple of hours running along 5th Avenue...but shopping this time!
Miniature cupcakes from Baked by Melissa, NY

It was also pretty cool getting to watch Tyson Gay and David Rudisha warming up after I had finished running. Both athletes, I have never actually had the chance to see in real-life – they are raaaaapid. Another favourite was Blanka Vlasic – I always get ripped for saying this – but she is unbelievable looking! I was too shy/depressed to ask for any pictures so your just going to have to take my word on those hard-earned facts I have produced for you guys!

Scraping my hair back for a 7.5 hour flight... creating my 5head.
My final investment before I left New York was a disgusting amount of Twizzlers. I think it might be classed as a serious addiction – so much so, that when I run out, I order them online at ridiculous prices! I'm determined to start a petition to get them brought out in UK supermarkets – they will genuinely enrich lives... and save me some pennies. :)

The best 'candy' in the world.
What's next? Well... it's now a waiting game to see what races I can get myself into. Fingers crossed – Rome Diamond League! If not, I will be doing a small 1500m race in the Netherlands followed by the 3000m SC at the Birmingham Diamond League at the end of June!
Back to training at Caird Park, Dundee

It's been a long time since I last wrote on here – hence this novel - eeek. Good riddance for another few months! :D

1 comment:

  1. Fascinating Eilish!

    Makes really interesting reading.

    Just saw you at Rome tonight, and began thinking that you must lose around 3m on every barrier by stuttering into it trying to work out which foot to use!. Add that up over the entire 3000m and that is really massive difference. Looking forward to seeing you at the worlds..

    ReplyDelete