Anglian Home Improvements are sponsoring Olympic hopefuls. Here is the latest post from guest blogger and Olympic runner Charlie Grice, who has exams coming up, as well as some hard training in preparation for this year.
Since Liverpool, I have had a lot of college work to catch up on as I have exams in January, so I have been pretty busy with work and training recently. Also, with running for England on the horizon, I knew I had to put some good weeks together as I wanted to run well for my country!
A couple of team mates and I went to race at a local Parkrun at the weekend after Liverpool. Parkrun is a 5km fun run, which is held every Saturday morning at 9am at various local parks around the country. It gets people up and out on a Saturday and it’s a great way to test your fitness as it is accurate chip timing. I wanted to test myself on my previous time which was last year at Brighton’s Parkrun, so I asked a couple of the guys at my club if they were up for joining me. Three of us turned up including Ben Tickner, Jon Pepper and myself. Ben and Jon are 5k/10k runners, so I knew I would have a great race and had planned to try and stay with them for as long as possible! The pace started off very quick and I knew it would be a case of hanging on and staying focused in the last third of the race when I would be out of my comfort zone. We came 1st, 2nd and 3rd (myself coming third). We all broke the previous record and ran personal bests, so it was a successful outing. I knocked over a minute off my previous time and achieved the 15-19 year old course record and also broke the previous adult course record, so I think it is safe to say that the altitude training is paying off!
I travelled to Brussels with the England team last weekend to take part in the Lotto Cross Cup, which is a series of races in the Netherlands/Belgium. England athletics took Junior and Senior teams to this race (4 in each category). I was really looking forward to this race after a couple of tough weeks at college! It was my first race for England over cross country and it shows how much I have improved over the last year. We travelled out on Saturday morning from St Pancras by Eurostar which was very efficient, dropping us off at Brussels and then taking a couple of tube stations to the very nice hotel we were staying in, right in the middle of the city. The race was on Sunday and we were returning on Monday morning so it was a very short trip!
When it came to race day I knew that Brussels is notoriously muddy and cold! Last year it snowed and it was snowing before my race, although luckily, it did not settle. I was in the Junior Men’s race, running with boys that could potentially be 19 years old. The race was 6km and extremely muddy! I was literally covered from head to toe and I even had it all over my face! Unlike any cross country races in the UK, the loops were 1km long! We had 6 laps to do which got a bit tedious, but I didn’t mind it because I am a 1500m runner it feels quite quick and I can split the race up in my head quite nicely. There was also a bell for the signal of the last lap which was pretty cool as that only happens in track races! The race was tough, with a couple of hills. I started off in 9th place and worked my way through pacing myself nicely and moving through to 6th. I then overtook a couple of people up the last hill before striding out downhill to get 4th place. I came 2nd for the England team which was above where I was expected to come so I was pleased. It was nice to be in the England team as so much of this sport is individual and the three of us in the team all knew each other and had good camaraderie for each other.
Brussels is such a cool place this time of year, that’s why the race is so popular throughout Europe. On the night of the race we all went out for dinner and had a look at the Christmas market. I took the guys to a restaurant that I went to last year and loved it. I knew they would enjoy it too. It is a ribs restaurant and you pay a set price and you can eat as much as you like; we managed to get through a mountain of ribs between us! That was a great post-race meal! There were lots of people about the town shopping in the Christmas market and the shops are open till late, there was a great Christmas atmosphere with lights everywhere and a massive Christmas tree!
For most people Christmas is a time for relaxing, but for me it is a great time to get some hard training and rest. Being an athlete, your body needs rest to recover and improve. On Christmas day I will be building up an appetite doing my Sunday long run (in a Christmas hat!) along the beautiful Sussex Downs. This will give me a very good appetite for my Mum’s delicious Christmas lunch, after which I will relax (after I have helped to do the washing up, of course!)
I have been picked to race in Edinburgh for Great Britain on January 7th in the Junior men’s race. There are some great athletes who will also be there in the Men’s race including, Asbel Kiprop who is the current World Champion and Kenenisa Bekele, who is undoubtedly the best long distance runner of all time. He holds World records over 5000m and 10,000m and is the current Olympic Champion over 5000m. He will pose the biggest threat to Mo Farah this Summer. I will look forward to watching this race after mine!
I would just like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very Happy New Year, you will hear from me again in 2012!
Bye for now,