Anglian Home Improvements are sponsoring Olympic stars including Louis Smith and long distance runner, Charlie Grice, who has taken some time out of his busy schedule to write us this blog.
February has been an interesting month! Despite the grey gloomy weather, I have had plenty to occupy myself with. Training has been going really well and I am still enjoying competitive racing during the indoor season. The National Indoor Championships in Sheffield went well. It was a busy time because on the Friday before the Nationals, I was due to visit the Olympic Park in London and there was lots to see. Although it is very baron at the moment and still a lot of machinery around, once all the planting is completed I think it will look much better, but it was really cool to have a look to see how it is all progressing. It was bitterly cold and bleak during my visit with grey skies and a biting wind, but even so it is all very impressive. Unfortunately, I wasn’t allowed to go onto the track, but hopefully I will get to another time!
I travelled on from the Olympic Park to Sheffield on Friday. My first race was on Saturday afternoon. I have never been to the Sheffield Arena or a senior major competition indoor or outdoor before. The Sheffield Arena is a lot bigger than where I have raced previously and the atmosphere during the competition was electric, there were TV cameras around and lots of familiar famous faces.
Before the race on my warm up the weather had been very cold and unfortunately, I slipped on some ice and fell and cut my knee just 30mins before the start of the race (not a good start!). Luckily it was only a bad graze and I didn’t let it shake me up, although my coach got a bit of a shock when I came back from my run with a lot of blood running down my leg!
I was in the toughest heat out of the two. On paper my PB put me fifth and the qualification procedure was that only the top 3 in each heat, plus the next 3 fastest losers out of the two heats were guaranteed a place in the final, so I knew I had to run very well to get through and qualify. I ran a good race and was second up to finish, but got out dipped on the line and came third in my heat with a tenth of a second separating the three of us, but we were well clear from the rest of the field.
Here is a brief interview of me after qualifying for the final: http://www.athleticos.org
After the race I iced my knee in order to reduce the swelling and then went back to the hotel and relaxed ready for the final the next day. I was lined up on the inside, in lane 1 alongside some very good quality athletes with some of them even full time. I was the youngest in the field and the commentator mentioned the age range was 18-28. The race went off at a steady pace although it was very scrappy and I got boxed in a couple of times, which caused me to run wide at some points. However, I was always in the top 6 and the plan was to hang on. With 400m to go the pace suddenly increased and it was every man for himself. We were now in a line and I was accelerating towards the end and nearly caught a guy in front of me. I came sixth and increased my indoor personal best from the previous day, which I was happy with.
Overall I have learnt a lot from this experience and I now know that I really enjoy racing indoors. There were only three seconds separating the front six in the final. This is now the end of my stint of indoor racing and it is now time to start building up the training again, incorporating longer reps for strength. I want to get in the best shape possible come the summer season when competitions will start in May. This is an important year for me and so far my preparations are going well.
Bye for now