I’ll admit it – I’m that person, the one who drinks water instead of alcohol, although I have been known to unload from time to time with a glass of lemonade or if I am feeling extra fancy, a lemon, lime and bitters.
I am usually one of the first people to leave and my excuse is the same every time, “I have training in the morning.”
While most iiNeters know me as a member of the Solutions Team, I am also an athlete who competes at a National level over 400m and 800m in Track and Field.
A long held ambition
I have been involved in track and field since I was 14 years old while I was at school and I have been slowly improving my personal bests over both distances to one day achieve a life goal of making the Olympic Games and compete for my country.
Last year I made a big move in both career and personal life and moved from Adelaide to Perth for my girlfriend and in doing so I also moved athletic squads and started training with one of the premier coaches in Australia.
Running alongside Australia’s Olympic hopefuls
In training under such an elite coach, I also started training with elite athletes, one being Ben Offereins who is a poster boy for 400m having competed at the Commonwealth Games and World Championships as well as being the number 1 400m runner in Australia for 3 years with a lifetime personal best of 44.83 seconds.
When moving to such a squad, I knew that I would need to increase my performance on the track and when training with him. This increase in performance was not easy but after showing some good results on the track I was invited to compete overseas in Europe and also act as a training partner for Ben, who had recently qualified for the Olympic Games in London in two weeks’ time. This is the main reason I am writing this blog, to share my experiences in Europe and provide an insight into the life of a running geek.
The road to London 2012
I have been in Europe for two and a half weeks, mainly based in France and somewhat in Spain, in order to race a good 400m that will see me as a future chance to represent Australia and also provide a training partner for Ben while he sets himself to run for his country.
While in Europe I have been lucky enough to get a greater understanding of what it is like to run at an elite level and highlight the areas I need to improve on. In order to be the best athlete I can be, it requires training six days a week and on those six days, three include multiple training sessions.
It requires endurance, speed, strength and maintenance of your body as well as a good technique so you are maximising your speed while still remaining efficient so that you are not wasting much needed energy.
Combined with all these elements, you need to make sure that your body has no weaknesses such as weak hips, tight muscles or nerve issues. Any of these weaknesses will cause injury at some point and require a lot of stretching, pilates and strength work to keep your core strength at a good level.
Unfortunately for me, while I have been training for many years six days a week and handling multiple sessions, I do not yet have the required strength to run without something going wrong.
Ah, Paris in summer
I arrived in Paris in the early hours of a Monday morning, filled with ideals of somehow running out of my skin and qualifying for the Olympics before the deadline of July 13th. My first race was one week later in Toulouse and hopefully I had enough time to shrug off any effects of jet lag and have trained enough in order to compete to my best.
Unfortunately for me this was not the case and I ran below my best of 47.97sec. While putting aside my lofty aspirations for now, my focus switched to Ben in making sure that he would be in good form. From here we trained together and put some solid sessions on the board as we looked towards the Olympics and keeping his spot in the relay team.
After a week of solid training, my body was feeling ok and even my persistent knee injury was holding up under the workload. During this time Ben competed in a major meet in Barcelona where he ran an ok time of 46.5 seconds, needless to say that more work was needed for him to be competitive.
From here we travelled to the other side of France where I would attempt to run again in a local meet in Grenoble. Unfortunately, while my best efforts of training at 100% effort while keeping injury free came undone two nights before the meet where I injured my knee and caused my hamstring to tear as a result. With the news from the physio not so good, I knew that my goals of Olympics or at the very least, running a personal best while in Europe were diminished and I would be watching on the sidelines while my training partner and his fellow Olympic team members continued in their preparation for the Olympics.
The running geek
Although this trip has not been the success I dreamed it would be, I am glad for the opportunity to travel overseas and train and compete with the best there is. I am looking forward to the Australian season and to hopefully achieve a goal of making the 2014 Commonwealth Games and 2016 Olympic Games.
I would like to thank Paul McClumpha and Michael McBride as well as iiNet for supporting me in my athletic endeavours and being extremely understanding of this time consuming commitment. Hopefully I will continue to show iiNet that I am the running geek.