Tuesday, January 31, 2012

PB shot put session

I had a great shot put training session today. Hit two out to 14.70 (my previous best in training was 14.60 and my personal best in competition is 14.74) and another half a dozen out around 14.40-14.60 so very stoked with the form, especially going into competition at the ITM in Christchurch on Saturday against Val! We found a really good new cue that works. Its also exciting as I have just come off a two week heavy training block and am feeling pretty fatigued so there is more in the tank when I start to freshen up over the coming weeks!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Article re Earthquake and the International Track Meet

Here is an article that ran in the NZ Herald about the earthquake and my part in the International Track Meet:

Olympic heptathlete Rebecca Wardell was lucky - all she lost in the Christchurch earthquakes was a running track. Now this week's International Track meeting at Christ's College is part of bringing back athletics to Canterbury.

Every Cantabrian has their own tale about where they were when the big one rocked Christchurch last February. Wardell was standing on a sports ground at Rangi Ruru Girls' School, preparing to coach javelin.

"The earthquake knocked me off my feet," she recalls. "At first, I thought I'd fainted."

Once Wardell had picked herself up and dusted off, she was suddenly standing in a puddle of water from the nearby school pool and surrounded by 600 hysterical girls evacuated from the school buildings.

"I was in Australia, on the way to the Delhi Commonwealth Games, when the previous one hit in September 2010, so I'd never experienced anything like this.

"It was pretty freaky all right. From then on, [the shakes] just kept on coming. It's not a nice way to live."

That 6.3 magnitude shock has had a profound effect on New Zealand's third-biggest city. For the sporting community, it rendered many of the region's major sports stadiums unusable. For local athletics, it meant the loss of leading middle distance coach Brian Taylor, who died when the Canterbury Television building collapsed, and the cancellation of the international track meeting, scheduled for four days later.

"The high performance facilities at QE2 Stadium were running but they were pretty badly damaged. I was injured at the time, but towards the middle of the year, I realised I needed to find another all-weather surface to train on."

Wardell, 34, who had lived and worked in the Rangi Ruru boarding house, relocated to Dunedin, where she found similar lodgings at Columba College. After more than a year recovering from foot and hip surgery, she's now fully focused on achieving the London Olympic selection standard of 6050 points, within the 6108 personal best she set qualifying for Beijing four years ago.

"All my training indicators have me at that same level, if not better; looks like a year in the gym paid off."

Wardell will contest the 100m, long jump and shot put at the International Track Meeting, which takes on a Chariots of Fire feel with its historic setting and old-school grass track.

Despite the slightly archaic facilities, organisers have the support of New Zealand's top athletes. World shot champion Valerie Adams will compete, Olympic 1500m silver medallist Nick Willis faces an unfamiliar challenge in a handicap two-mile event and rising shot star Jacko Gill will show his ability in the discus circle. Double Commonwealth Games silver medallist Nikki Hamblin is under an injury cloud but hopes to line up for the Brian Taylor Memorial 3000m.

"The response we've had from athletes, public and sponsors has been fantastic," says trustee Paul Coughlan. "They're so supportive of the fact we're keeping it in Christchurch and making it happen.

"There'll be some challenges, especially with the capacity of the venue, but we're expecting a packed house of about 3000, so the atmosphere will be superb."

The meeting also marks 50 years since Peter Snell's 800m/880 yards world records - on grass - at Lancaster Park.

By Grant Chapman

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The fridge that jumps on your back

There is a term in track and field "the fridge jumped on your back" which basically means that your body has filled with lactic acid and you start to stumble rather than run!

I had a big white fridge jump on my back yesterday in a 400m at a mid-week meeting in Dunedin. I ran a really solid first 300m, probably a little too fast, and paid the price in the home straight, stumbling a bit over the last 80m! I was running with the men so was chasing them hard. I still ran 55.5sec which ranks me 2nd in NZ this summer. Whilst it is a long way off my PB of 52.67 its the fastest 400m I have run in several years, again indicating that I am in great shape despite the lack of running training I have been able to do. A good 400m time bodes well for good 200m and 800m times and is a great training run.

I also threw javelin in the comp, and hit one out over 40m which was a seasons best, so heading in the right direction with that. 

Monday, January 23, 2012

Taking on the World and Olympic Champion

I am going to be competing in the shot put at the International Track Meet (ITM) in Christchurch on the 4th of February against World and Olympic shot put champion Valerie Adams. Last time I competed against Valerie at the NZ Champs in 2010 I was almost 6m behind, so the aim this time will be to close that gap as much as I can and throw a PB! Its a mixed event, with guys and girls all throwing their own weight, so I am sure there will be some close competition with a few handicaps worked out!

I am also competing in the long jump and 100m at the event, which is being held on grass at Christ's College after QEII was damaged in the earthquake only 3 days before the 2011 ITM. The organisers have done an awesome job of putting another meet on and getting world class athletes along, including Olympic medalist Nick Willis, who will be running in a handicap mile race, and World Junior shot put champion Jacko Gill who will be throwing discus.

If you are in Christchurch it would be awesome to have your support...the meet runs from 4-6pm, check out http://www.internationaltrackmeet.co.nz/ for more info.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The last box has been ticked!

I had just one last box to tick in terms of being fully fit and able to compete in all seven of the heptathlon events....and that was doing a session running over hurdles. I had been doing lots of hurdle drills just walking over them, but was yet to put on spikes and run over them fast....and today I did that - 5x5 hurdles out of blocks. It was a beautiful, hot sunny afternoon in Dunedin and Andrew had driven down from Christchurch for a few days training so it was cool he was there to oversee it. The session went really well, I wasn't as rusty as I thought I would be!

So now I am confident that I am well on my way to being fit to compete in my first heptathlon in Melbourne 25-26 February (Victorian Championships). Unfortunately I had to pull out of NZ Champs (4-5 February) as it was just a few weeks too early, but am thinking I will be good to go for the end of Feb.

I have been doing some more regular sessions on my legs and a bit more running. I am still not training at 100% of where I normally would be, but I am still making really good progress so am happy!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

First race - Lovelock Classic Timaru

I had my first race since Delhi yesterday at the Lovelock Classic in Timaru. I ran 100m, and despite having only run a handful of 120's in training at sub max, 2x40m at 100% and no blocks work I ran 12.23s!! It felt so so awesome to race again. I was third behind training buddy Anna Smythe and Fiona Morrison (who did a big PB - 12.16, nice work Fi!). The conditions were great - warm and a nice little tail wind of 1.3. Time ranks me 5th fastest women over 100m this summer, woop!

To put the time in perspective I ran 12.20s one month before recording my PB score in a heptathlon of 6108 to qualify for the Beijing Olympics. At that time I had done a full season of racing and running training. I have never run this fast in a first race of the season so I am very stoked! I am putting it down to being a lot more powerful due to the gym work I have done in the last year.

I also threw discus, hammer and shot put in the meet. I entered in the discus and hammer in order to be eligible for prize money in the shot put (you had to do all three throws). It was pretty fun throwing the discus...I haven't thrown it since 1999! I threw a PB 35.7m standing throw. There were some of NZ's top junior discus throwers in the comp which was pretty awesome to watch.

The hammer wasn't so successful...I only had one throw and chucked it into the nets, woops!

The shotput was the last event, phew...back into a familiar throwing event! I threw 13.82m twice, not quite what I was looking for (14m+), but still very close to my season's best 13.85m.  Interestingly I also threw that exact same distance a month before qualifying for the Olympics in 2008. Again pretty good for the amount of throwing training I have done. Its harder to transfer the new power I have in the technical events compared to the running....but I know that once I get into the right positions its going to fly!!

So I am very happy with my first outing on the track. The foot held up well, a bit of pain but nothing extraordinary. Now the aim is to try and get some more consistent running sessions in my training.