Thursday, January 1, 2009

2009 World Champs Campaign

27 November 2008 - 2009 World Champs Preparation

It seems like ages since I got back from Beijing and I've got back into the swing of things...it took a while to settle down after the hype of the Olympics!!
I got back into training at the end of September and have been struggling a little since then. I have been having a few niggly injury problems which haven't been going away so have decided to take some time off to let the body fully recover from the big year that was 2008!!
I am going to have complete rest now for 6 weeks and will start back into training in January. I will be working towards competing in Europe in June/July to confirm my selection to the World Champs team for August in Berlin, Germany.
This means that rather than competing this summer I will be in back into my main conditioning training phase. So unfortunately I will not be competing at National Champs or at Australian Champs this summer, however I have the bigger picture in mind and will instead be getting some good solid training done in preparation for Europe.

9 April 2009 - World Champs selection confirmed!

I have just received confirmation of my selection into the World Track and Field Championships team to compete in Berlin in August. Very exciting news for me, woohooo!
I am training well, have had a couple of injury issues which I mentioned in my last email, but am getting over them and am now back into specific training like high jump, long jump and javelin.
We head to Europe at the end of May and my first competition will be the heptathlon in Ratingen in mid June, the same competition where I did my Olympic qualifier last year, so I am hoping for another big score to start the European summer season off there! Its so nice to head over to Europe and already be named in the team rather than chasing last minute qualifiers, such a luxury!
But no time to relax, I have 6 more weeks of winter training to survive first and need to get myself back into peak condition. I have just been standing outside in a bucket of ice (post training recovery) in a howling southerly...brrrr!
My training buddies Sarah Cowley and David Ambler (100m) are coming to Europe too and will be competing in the World University Games in July and are both hoping to also qualify for the World Champs in Berlin.
Wishing you all a very happy easter, lots of chocolate and hot cross buns!

25 May 2009 - Off to Europe!

I head off to Europe on Thursday, off to summer which is sooo nice after a week of cold southerly rain!

We are going to be based in Leuven in Belgium until World Champs in August. Sarah Cowley, Dave Ambler (100m) and I are sharing an apartment and our coach Andrew is also coming over. Other kiwi athletes will also be based in the same apartment block in Leuven so it will be a great training environment.
Leuven is the same town the NZ team was based before World Champs in 2003 so it will be nice to go back to familiar territory.

I will be competing in 2 heptathlons, one in Ratingen, Germany on 20-21 June (the same event I qualified for the Olympics in last year) and one in Hexham in the UK on 18-19 July. Then its off to Berlin for the World Champs which are being held 15-23 August, with the heptathlon held on the first two days.

Training has been going really well despite the freezingness...I ran my 2nd fastest 600m the other weekend and a good 12.1 hand time over 100m so am coming into form. We will compete in individual events at meetings in Belgium in between heptathlons. My first comp is in Leuven on 6th June where I will probably race hurdles and do high jump.

We had the Athletics Canterbury Awards Dinner last Friday night and I was awarded Athlete of the Year. My coach Andrew won Coach of the Year and Dave Ambler won Junior Athlete of the Year so it was a great haul for our training group!

I will send through my next update from Europe, I will be back in NZ in the spring!

15 June 2009 - Belgium

A quick update from Belgium, we are all settled in in Leuven, a very cool town and we are living right in the centre.
We have been cruising around on old bikes which is great fun, especially seen as bikes rule the roads here!
At my first competition I was 2nd in the 100m and was presented with a box of Leffe Belgian beers and 2 beautiful beer glasses - true European style!
I also did the high jump and shot put which were solid but in the last event of the day, 100m hurdles I unfortunately strained my adductor.
Its coming right quickly, but unfortunately means I have had to pull out of my first heptathlon in Ratingen, supposed to be this coming weekend. I am gutted as its a great competition and not one to miss out on!
So the next focus is on being fit for a heptathlon in Hexham, UK on 18/19 July, where I will need to get the fitness standard of 5900 points to confirm spot on the World Champs team for Berlin.
My coach Andrew arrives in Europe on Friday so looking forward to that. He will be able to settle into life in Belgium by drinking my prize from the 100m!
I am hoping to do some of the individual events in small competitions in the weeks before Hexham.

21 July 2009 - Hexham Heptathlon

Not really the news I wanted to email through, but I missed the World Champs fitness standard in Hexham UK this weekend.
I scored 5678 to win the competition, but was more than 200 points shy of the 5900 fitness standard.

The first day was average in all events, 14.43 hurdles, 1.60 high jump, 13.43 shot put and 25.43 200m. All very much below par events, so unfortunately it left me with a lot to do on the 2nd day.

Day two long jump was again average, 5.63, when I needed close to 6m to give myself a chance at scoring 5900. I was lying in 3rd place overall after the long jump. My last 2 events were probably the best of the whole competition.

My javelin was a good series with a best of 45m (3m more than I threw at the Olympics) and my 800 was 2.13 (same as I ran at the Olympics) and both combined enabled me to leap frog the two Czech athletes and win the competition overall.
So I got a nice trophy and some prize money but the real prize of a confirmed ticket to World Champs was not to be!

I was really gutted when I finished the comp as felt that my World Champs campaign was over, but luckily I have today been offered another shot before the cut off date of 27 July. The meeting manager for Hexham said there was a chance I could get a start at an international combined events match between UK, France and Switzerland which is being held just out of London next weekend. This afternoon I got a spot confirmed so will head back to the UK next weekend to nail that 5900 score.

I arrived back in Leuven today and will spend the week recovering and tweaking a few of the technical events before heading back to the UK on Friday.

27 July 2009 - Watford Heptathlon

My comp this weekend in the UK didn't go well at all, rather than improving on my results from last weekend in Hexham, I actually got worse (apart from a 1cm improvement in the high jump and 1m improvement in the javelin). So unfortunately I will not be going to World Champs in Berlin. I won the event with a score of 5609, still a good 300 points shy of the fitness standard.

Its really tough, having been named in the NZ team in April, to not be fit enough to go with the team to Berlin....I am really gutted, I gave it my all to try and get to the start line, but I just ran out of time to get into shape. I don't like to make excuses, but I put my poor performances over the last few weeks down to a lack of good consistent blocks of training and a lack of competition due to injuries. I thought I could do it but unfortunately my body has not behaved itself enough to enable me to train and to get into the kind of shape I need to be to be competitive at World Champs level.

So now I will return to NZ, have some time off training and recharge the batteries before resuming training for the Commonwealth Games, being held in New Delhi, India in October 2010. My main priority will be staying injury free to enable me to train and compete to the level I need.

I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has supported me in my World Champs campaign and I am sorry it hasn't been successful. A specially huge thank you to my coach Andrew, who has more grey hairs than ever now, has lost a few kg in stress over the past weeks, and has been riding the ups and downs of the last year with me but still remains positive that I can be back at my best next season. I would also like to thank my physio, doctor and masseuse for putting up with me (!) and enabling me to have a good crack at competing in the World Champs. A huge thank you the people at Adidas, Skins, Horleys, Smiths Eye-wear, Blackmores, Ems Cookies, GHD Ltd, University of Canterbury, NZ Academy of Sport, Athletics NZ, Athletics Canterbury and Old Boys United Athletic Club for all your on-going support. Thanks also to all my training squad for your support, especially to Sarah and Dave who were with me in Europe and were also unfortunate to miss out on qualifying for World Champs - you guys know exactly how I feel! And last but not least, thank you to my chief support crew: my family and friends whose support is absolutely outstanding and I couldn't do without (oh and Mum and Dad now have some spare tickets for great seats at World Champs on sale if anyone will be in the area and might like to go and watch!).

What doesn't kill you only makes you stronger, and I am still breathing so will be back next season, this time with a good block of training under my belt, fitter and stronger and ready to make another assault on that NZ record and the Commonwealth Games.

But right now I am heading back to Belgium to sample a little of the local delicacy - a waffle with some Belgian chocolate!

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