Monday, 13 October 2014

65. 100m Hurdles

Event: 100m Hurdles
Date: 5th October 2014
Location: Colchester Harriers, Arena Sports and Leisure Centre, Colchester 
Cost: Free
Rules: Competitors sprint over 100m, whilst jumping over 10 hurdles evenly placed along the track. The fastest wins. Each athlete must stay in their allocated lane. They are allowed to knock the hurdles, but will be disqualified if they hit the hurdle with their hand.

The Event:

Sarah: 0:26.35
Ellie:   0:35.90 

London 2012 Olympic Gold Medal: 0:12.35 - Sally Pearson, Australia.

Sarah: We couldn't have hoped for a nicer day to hit the track and tackle the 100m hurdles. We started with a warm-up and introduction to the hurdling technique before working through clearing one hurdle, increasing the height, then two and three so we could develop our stride pattern. The demonstrations by the other Harriers were a huge help, and showed up how effortless it should look! I was really pleased with the hurdle height I reached in the practice, but by the time we came to the proper event, my legs were starting to tire and I had to reduce the height. I threw myself into this one, and felt it in lesser-used muscles the next couple of days! I really enjoyed hurdling, and am looking forward to returning to it over the longer distance.

Ellie: I was really glad to be attempting hurdles with no warning (we were originally down to do pole vault today) as I'm not too fond of running and it was good not to have time to dwell on it. The magic thing with hurdling is that the athletes manage to keep their upper body constant and still and that they 'just' bring their legs up and over the hurdle. We had some young Harriers giving us tips and demos; it was amazing to watch it done so well.
It was a lovely day for an outside event and our hurdles were set nice and low. The strangest thing was that I experienced a real mental block. After successfully, if not a little clumsily, hurdling for about 6 turns I was suddenly really conscious of what I was doing and unable to launch myself over. Thankfully, that wore off for the main event and I was able to trot through the 100m without any negative thoughts. I actually enjoyed it and really look forward to returning to it in the 400m form and the heptathlon event.

Big thanks to Chris for the coaching and Harriers Ellie, Ellie, Hannah, Imogen and Jess for their enthusiasm and showing us how it's meant to be done!  

Monday, 6 October 2014

64. 100m Butterfly

Event: 100m Butterfly
Date: 3rd October 2014
Location: London Aquatics Centre, Stratford
Cost: £4.50
Rules: Competitors swim two lengths of butterfly as fast as possible. Athletes dive in, and some part of the swimmer must touch the wall at the end of each length and at the finish. Most will touch the wall and push off with their feet.

The Event:


Olympic Gold Medal London 2012: 55.98, Dana Vollmer, USA.
Sarah: 4:18.38 
Ellie: 3:50.26

Sarah: After a very early start and very hectic day in the office, the fact we even made it to the pool deserves a gold medal. We had to fight hard against the more appealing pull of loads of wine. But, like all proper athletes we put our training first and made it to the pool (postponing loads of booze until after the swim - again, just like proper athletes). I wish I could blame my slow time on tiredness, but I can't: I just don't get butterfly! We've done lots of practice, but I'm obviously not doing it right, as I just don't get anywhere. I seem to mainly go up and down and waste lots of energy rather than glide along in a more effective forwards movement. I love swimming, but this stroke just isn't for me! I'm looking forward to getting the 200m and 400m medley events out the way, and never having to do butterfly again!     

Ellie: Forcing water up ones nose does not seem like the most efficient way to get from one end of the pool to the other but, unless I'm doing it wrong, that seems to be the butterfly method. It's. So. Hard. I haven't been able to gain any momentum with this stroke in practice and this evening was no different; I think it was brute force that got me from one end to the other. I was super aware of others in my lane and at one point had the feeling that the lifeguard might get in and rescue me just to save me from the embarrassment. I'm not going to be defeated though as this is by far the most impressive/smug/irritating stroke to see people doing and I want to be part of that!