Saturday, 27 August 2016

114. Steeplechase

Event: Steeplechase  
Date: 21st August 2016 
Location: Colchester Harriers Athletics Club
Cost: Free 
Rules:  The Steeplechase is an obsticle race around a running track over a distance of 3000m and gets it's name from the horse racing event. In the women's competition, five hurdles 30 inches high are placed around the track. One hurdle is located in front of a water jump through which athletes travel. The hurdles are much sturdier than normal hurdles and don't fall over if hit. Athletes can use the hurdles to step on to help jumping over. Over the course of a race. athletes tackle 28 hurdles and seven water jumps. The winner is the fastest competitor over the line. 

The Event: 

Olympic Gold Medal London 2012: 9:08.37 (3000m), Habiba Ghribi, Tunisia. 
Sarah: 10:47.23 (1500m) 
Ellie: 17:24.10 (1500m) 

Sarah: Somehow, after four years and 113 events, we found ourselves on the date of our deadline, and up at the track for our final event! In true 114 Olympic Games style, things didn't go smoothly; despite our coach Chris' best intentions, someone drained the water out of the water jump, so we were left with a deep, slippery slope to drop in to and climb up! We ran our Steeplechase over half the Olympic distance, and it was a really enjoyable event to go out on! We were helped round by two of the Harriers, and it was fun clambering over the solid hurdles and into the water drop. We had friends and family there to cheer us on, and it was a really fun way to end our Challenge!  
Ellie: OUR LAST EVENT! This is such an odd feeling, to be writing up our last event. It feels so unreal! I'm really glad to be with the Harriers for this as we've been working with them for a great deal of the athletics during our challenge. The steeplechase is a real test of endurance involving a 3000m race, hurdles (that are really solid and would be very sore to mistime) and water (very slippy surface even without the proper water levels!). It was so nice to have some guidance from Eliza and Luke today and to have our long-term coach, Chris, there too. We also had friends at the track to cheer us on, which was lovely. So what now? A new challenge? Well, in the short term, we're off to the pub!

Huge thanks to Chris and the Harriers for all the help and support they've given us during the Challenge!  

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

113. Marathon

Event: Marathon 
Date: 15th September 2013 and 14th - 18th August 2016   
Location: The Essex Way & 2012 Olympic route
Cost: Free 
Rules:  The marathon is raced over 26.2 miles on a street course. The athlete to complete the course in the fastest time wins.

The Event: 

Olympic Gold Medal London 2012: 2:23:07, Tiki Gelana, Ethiopia. 
Sarah: 8:40:00  
Ellie: 10:37.00

Sarah: When we started this challenge, I thought it would be easy to find time within the four years to train and run a marathon. Alas, life, work and the little matter of 113 other events got in the way and after two operations on my leg last year, I had to accept it wasn't going to happen. Luckily back in 2013, one year after Rio, I went mad and decided to walk 26.2 miles one day. I'd had it in mind to do for a while, so got up early one morning and dragging Greg along with me, headed to the Essex Way. The route runs 82 miles from Epping to Harwich, and I drew up a 26.2 mile section from Aldham to Harwich. Things started really well. In fact for the first 13 miles everything was going smoothly and we were really enjoying it, making excellent time! We'd had a couple of hiccups with wrong directions but quickly righted our paths. Then the erratic signposts disappeared completely, our map-reading let us down and we found ourselves on a five mile detour. With perfect timing, the rain started pouring, the aches set in and our spirits sank. Luckily I'd borrowed a Garmain watch, so I could keep track of the distance or I would have had no idea how far we'd traveled! We finally got back on track, soaking wet and just wanted to get the damn thing finished. There were a couple more unintentional detours, but we eventually got to the imaginary finish line. With all the detours, we didn't make it to Harwich, and actually finished in Mistley. It was certainly an experience, and I was more than a little hobbly the next day. I still hope that one day I might run a marathon...maybe the training will be more realistic to fit in without the other 113 events! 

Ellie: I always knew that to run or to walk the marathon in one go would be far beyond my capabilities. After the Race Walk I found it difficult to walk for a week so I knew I had to modify my approach for this event so that the same didn't happen again. I chose to walk the 2012 marathon route, which is really picturesque, over 5 consecutive days. It was a lot more manageable than I expected and although not something I'd want to do regularly, it was a really nice way to see the city and get a bit of 'fresh' air and exercise. It is also so inexpensive as exercise and sightseeing goes! Above is my silly face - one mugshot for every mile - including some helpful walkers along the way - Elaine and John, Wellington, Justice and the Queen Mother to name but a few! 

Sunday, 14 August 2016

112. 800m Freestyle

Event: 800m Freestyle 
Date: 10th August 2016 
Location: London Aquatics Centre
Cost: £4.50 each
Rules:  Competitors swim 16 lengths of freestyle as fast as possible. Some part of the swimmer must touch the wall at the end of each length and at the finish. 

The Event: 

Olympic Gold Medal London 2012: 8:14.63, Katie Ledecky, USA.
Sarah: 29:00.00 
Ellie: 26:20.00

Sarah: Our final trip to the Olympic pool for the Challenge, and it was a big one; the 800m Freestyle. We both decided to give warm ups a miss and just get on with it. We dove in and got stuck in for the next half hour. At points I felt like I was pretty much stationary, and I kept getting preoccupied by a niggling pain in my hand. Otherwise, I'm not sure what I was thinking about; mainly trying to concentrate on keeping my breathing even and not bashing in to other swimmers. I'm pleased coming in under 30 minutes, and can't quite believe we're now done with the swimming! 
Ellie: That's our final swimming event ticked off and, for some reason, it feels like a particular mile stone. I've loved swimming all my life and this was a great event to finish on. it's a significant distance but easily achievable in an evening. I feel really powerful in the water - my size and my disability don't effect me as much as on dry land and I can feel the progress I'm making. I seemed to be in the zone tonight and I'm super proud of my time. I even got to change into the medium speed lane which I've never done before!

111. Triathlon

Event: Triathlon 
Date: 15th July 2016 (Ellie) & 29th July 2016 (Sarah) 
Location: Queen Elizabeth Park, Stratford (Ellie) & Various locations around Colchester (Sarah)
Cost: Free swim, £2 for the Santander bike, Free 'run' (Ellie). £4.90 swim, free cycle and run (Sarah).
Rules: The Triathlon is a multi-disciplined event, with three stages linked by transitions. The order of the events is; swim, cycle, run. The length of each stage can change depending on the event, but the Olympic distances are always; 1500m swim, 40K cycle and 10K run. The fastest athlete to complete the overall course is the winner.  

The Event:




Cycling around the Olympic Park and Victoria Park
Walking through the Olympic Park

Olympic Gold Medal London 2012: 
Nicola Spirig, Switzerland. 1:59.48 - Olympic Distance - 1500m Swim, 40K Cycle, 10K Run.

Our Results:
Sarah: 2:17.25 - Sprint Distance - 750m Swim, 20K Cycle, 5K Run.
Ellie: 1:50.00 - Super Sprint Distance - 400m Swim, 10K Cycle, 3K 'Run'.

Sarah: How much training is required for a sprint triathlon? Well, it turns out if you're not bothered about your time, then not a lot! This was hard, but I was expecting that after not putting in very much preperation. I even forgot to get any energy snacks or isotonic drinks, so ended up doing my Triathlon on a bowl of Cheerios. I was least looking forward to the swim, but it turned out to be my favourite stage, and I felt completely pumped when I got out the pool. The swim to cycle transition wasn't too bad, but my legs started to feel a bit wobbly during the cycle. I eventually finished, locked my bike up and attempted to run. Oh wow, the transition from cycle to run was so hard! My legs felt like they were made out of concrete, and it took about a mile for them to settle down. The middle section of the run was a slog, but the endorphins kicked in again on my way home, and I finished the race feeling euphoric. Then sick. And it took me about three hours to cool down to any kind of normal temperature. This was a big one, and I feel really proud having completed it. As the Challenge draws to a close, I'm wary of commiting to any other sporting events for a while, but I could definitely see myself returning to this one, but maybe doing a bit more training next time.... 

Ellie: I have invented a new type of Triathlon, it is called the leisure triathlon. I wanted to complete my triathlon in the Olympic Park; I live so close and definitely don't take advantage of it being on my doorstep. So I started with a lovely swim in the Olympic Pool - realising again that I am so much quicker if I don't move my legs. Then I borrowed a Santander bike and had one of the most pleasant and pain free cycles of recent times around the park and into Victoria Park. I then completed my run (walk obvs) by walking home. I managed to pick a really lovely evening, I chatted to people, heard the musicians at Lovebox in Victoria Park, saw bats, rode past my old house and petted a Chihuahua. I would highly recommend a similar activity to anyone looking for some low-impact sport and the combination of sports meant I didn't get bored with any one activity; the cycling gave me time to explore my neighbourhood in a low-impact way. I'd really like to do a proper super sprint triathlon now and get a medal given to me rather than buying myself one from eBay.

Saturday, 6 August 2016

110. Track Cycling - Omnium

Event: Track Cycling - Omnium 
Date: 17th July 2016 
Location: Preston Park Velodrome 
Cost: £70.00 each for the session (five events)  
Rules: The Omnium consists of six events with a points-based placing system. It's usually held over two days. The events are:
1. Flying Lap: individual time trial over 250m with a 'flying start'.
2. Points Race: 20K points race with scoring for intermediate sprints and for lapping the pack. 
3. Elimination Race: the last rider over the start-line every two laps is eliminated until one remains. 
4. Individual Pursuit: ridden over 3K.
5. Scratch Race: over 10K, all riders compete to be the first over the line. 
6. Time Trial: over 500m, two riders start on opposite sides of the track, and ride at once.

The Event:
Flying Lap

Points Race

Time Trial

Elimination Race

Individual Pursuit

Scratch Race

Olympic Gold Medal London 2012: Laura Trott, Great Britain. 

Sarah: We left the small matter of the Omnium to last; an event that in itself has six sub-events. By this point in the day,we were pretty knackered, but we dug in and I really enjoyed this intense event! My favourites were probably the Flying Lap and Elimination Race. By the time we got to the Scratch Race, my legs were getting so tired and I had to force myself to keep pushing as much as possible. What an amazing day we had on the track! I bloody love cycling, and the whole day was so much fun. It really gave us insight into the skill and tactics involved in all these event, and I can't wait to watch the track cycling in Rio, understanding a little bit more about what's going on! 
Ellie: Although, not my favourite events I've really enjoyed today. Getting all of our friends together and doing something out of the ordinary is really lovely and I'll remember it for a long time. It also reminded me of when Sarah and I went to Amsterdam at the very beginning of our challenge and spent a day cycling around the parks and talking about the 4 years to come... it's gone so quickly! 

A massive thank you to Carl, Clare, Claire, Greg and Laura for all their help, patience and stamina today. We genuinely couldn't have done it without you. 

109. Track Cycling - Keirin

Event: Track Cycling - Keirin 
Date: 17th July 2016 
Location: Preston Park Velodrome 
Cost: £70.00 each for the session (five events)  
Rules: Six riders follow a motorised derny around the track, which gradually picks up speed before leaving the track with around two laps to go. The derny increases speed from 30 km/hr to 50 km/hr. Once it's left the track, the riders race to the finish line. 

The Event:

Olympic Gold Medal London 2012: Victoria Pendleton, Great Britain. 
Team 114 Results:
1st - Clare (5:01.99) 
2nd - Laura
3rd - Sarah
4th - Claire
5th - Greg
6th - Ellie

Sarah: We roped Carl in to be our derny, and he did an excellent job leading us round the track and gradually increasing our speed. On our longer track, we rode two laps behind derny-Carl and one lap racing. As with most of these races, we all started jovial and jostling for space, but as it got nearer to Carl leaving the track, it all got a bit tactical!  It was lots of fun, and as with all of these track events, I'd happily do them again!  
Ellie: Well, the allure of cycling was really wearing thin by this point. I'm quite happy cycling for pleasure, pootling around but anything where I 'have' to go fast or long distances isn't really my thing.... that being said, it was really nice to watch the race finish and see everyone else compete to be the best! 

108. Track Cycling - Team Pursuit

Event: Track Cycling - Team Pursuit 
Date: 17th July 2016 
Location: Preston Park Velodrome 
Cost: £70.00 each for the session (five events)  
Rules: Two teams of three cyclists start on opposite sides of the track. The winner is the team that finishes the 3K race in the quickest time, or if they catch the other team. Cyclists on the same team take it in turns leading, like a relay. After they have done their stint at the front, they move to the back. 

The Event:

Olympic Gold Medal London 2012: 3:14.051 - Danielle King, Laura Trott, Joanna Rowsell, Great Britain. 
Sarah, Laura & Greg: 5:21.79 win
Ellie, Carl & Clare: Caught at the above time - 3.5 laps. 

Sarah: A single lap of an Olympic velodrome is 250m, but Preston Park velodrome is much longer at 579.03m a lap. This means the track is far less steep and has much longer straights. For all our track cycling events we halved the number of Olympic laps to take our extra distance in to account. Before we reached the starting line, my team shared some tactics and had a practice on how to maneuver from the front to back of the line to make sure we didn't crash in to each other during the race. We set off and found our pace and decided we'd go for the overtake for the win rather than going to full race distance. In theory the plan sounded fine, but when we made the break, our tight peloton opened out and we had to close back together so not to leave anyone behind. On our next try we were expertly blocked by Clare and Carl on the other team, but eventually made our way through their weaving! 
Ellie: This event was much more style with a team around you and cooperation one of the main things to keep in mind. I felt a little like I was ugly duckling in company of swans but it was nice to just be on the water with them!