Tuesday, 29 March 2016

90. 4 x 400m Relay

Event: 4 x 400m Relay
Date: 20th March 2016
Location: Colchester Athletics Track 
Cost: Free
Rules:  Four athletes each run 400m to complete a lap of the track. During their individual legs they carry a baton that has to be passed to the next runner within a 20m changeover box, situated 10m before and 10m after each subsequent leg.

The Event:

Olympic Gold Medal, London 2012: 3:16.87 -  USA.
Team Olympics: Ellie, Eliza, Amelia and Sarah: 8:43.75
Ellie: 3:31.88
Eliza: 1:34.71
Amalia: 1:35.85
Sarah: 2:03.32

Sarah: One more time of running flat out, or as close to it as possible, for 400m whilst trying not to drop the baton. The team events are always fun, and this was no exception; cheering each other on and trying to run that bit faster for the team time. I was trying to concentrate on making my stride longer and breathing easier, but could feel myself slowing about halfway round, trying to leave a bit in the tank for the final 'sprint'.  
Ellie: I am very much ready for the running to be over now. I am definitely not suited to it! So, it's quite nice to have something to do with your hands - i.e. hold on to the baton, don't drop the baton, don't put the baton in your pocket in case you'd be disqualified, make sure the baton is in the right hand to pass on to your team mate. Lots to think about!!!
Huge thanks to Eliza and Amalia for helping us with this one, and for being so quick around the track!

89. Heptathlon

Event: Heptathlon
Date: 13th and 20th March 2016
Location: Colchester Athletics Track 
Cost: Free
Rules: The Heptathlon is a test of strength, skill and endurance with points awarded for the athletes best performance in each event. Day one covers; 100m Hurdles, High Jump, Shot Put and 200m. Day two covers: Long Jump, Javelin and 800m. The scores of each individual event are totalled to give the overall results and leader-board. The men's and women's Heptathlon consist of different events.

The Event:

Olympic Gold Medal, London 2012: Jessica Ennis, UK - 6955 points.
Team Olympics:
100m Hurdles
Sarah: 26.24 - 2 points
Ellie: 45.55 - 0 points
High Jump
Sarah: 0.88 - 58 points
Ellie: 0.76 - 1 point
Shot Put
Sarah: 4.52 - 178 points
Ellie: 4.62 - 185 points
Sarah: 0:50.38 - 0 points
Ellie: - DNS - 0 points
Long Jump
Sarah: 2.10 - 0 points
Ellie: 1.50 - 0 points
Sarah: 9.00 - 88 points 
Ellie: 10.22 - 110 points
Sarah: 4:35.74 - 0 points
Ellie: DNS - 0 points

Total Points
Sarah: 326 points
Ellie: 296 points 

Sarah: I've been looking forward to this one! The chance to return to so many events and give them another go with the added bonus of points up for grabs for your best performance. I really enjoyed the four events on Day One and was so happy to get PBs in each event- beating my times/distances/heights from last time we tried them. Alas I was out of the points on my 200m run, and I could feel my legs get more and more wobbly as I tried to push on. It was all to play for going in to Day Two!
The second day started with Long Jump, but two 'no jumps' left me with just one distance, and that didn't meet the points requirements. A slight technical hitch (not being able to get in to the equipment shed) meant unfortunately we weren't able to do the javelin, so had to use the distances from the last time we did the event all the way back in 2012. It would have been great to give the event another try, and we may try to squeeze another throw in later in the year. So, the final event loomed, and I was going to have to increase my PB by 10 seconds to get in to the points...but my legs didn't get the memo and I was actually slower than last time. Despite a ridiculously low end score, I really enjoyed the Heptathlon; it's been one of my favourites that we've done and I've loved returning to lots of the athletics events. Did someone say 'Decathlon' for a bonus event....?!

Day One: I do not recommend trying four of the Heptathlon with what could be whooping cough*! Despite not being at my best; I really enjoyed the events we did today. High Jump is a real joy as it involves tumbling onto a crash mat and the Shot Put is a nice, Ellie-friendly, static event. By the end of the session though I couldn't feel my lungs or my legs so sat out the 200m. All in all though a great start to one of the most heavy duty events that we are taking on. 
Day Two: With the Victorian Ages illness all but gone it was lovely to get back out on to the track in the bright weather and finish off what we started the week before. We had a very sandy start with the long jump and as Sarah says, used our distances from our first Javelin session to gather points. I suspect we'll persuade Chris to let us loose with those at some point over the summer which would be great. Again, for my own sanity, I sat the running out and became last lap bell-ringer for Sarah and our other Heptathletes. My favourite things about these events has been the crowd work - getting everyone clapping - and looking up the scores and seeing how much of an improvement one would need to make to up your scores. It would be lovely to think that in another 4 years we could get together and do this again!

A big thanks to Chris from Colchester Harriers for setting this one up for us, and being an excellent coach and time-keeper! 

*It was probably at worst a chest infection and best low-level flu but I have been in proximity to someone with whooping cough and I'm allowed to use artistic license! 

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Bonus Event #5 - Darts

Event: Darts
Date: 10th March 2016
Location: The Greyhound pub, Wivenhoe
Cost: Free
Rules: Players take it turns to throw three darts from the Oche. Each player starts with 501 on the board and must count down to zero, finishing with throwing a double.


Winner: Ellie

Sarah: I'm not sure I've ever played darts sober before; the lack of booze certainly made the maths much more difficult (possibly indicating previous scoring has been approximate rather than accurate). It was a lot of fun, but I have no idea how you're meant to aim. My throws were completely random, scattered around the board, and the prospect of being able to end on a double was laughable. But then up steps Farrow, and lands the double 12 for the win!  

Ellie:  Recently I've gotten into the Let's Play Darts for Sports Relief and so I was really keen to go for a game ourselves. it was a beautiful spring day and we had drinks on the table so this is a event I'd happily repeat! Sarah took a massive early lead and I definitely lucked out by hitting the double 12 considering getting the dart on target up to that point had been practically impossible!

The winning dart

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

88. 1500m

Event: 1500m
Date: 28th February 2016
Location: Colchester Athletics Track 
Cost: Free
Rules:  Runners race 3 & 3/4 laps around a 400m track. It is the biggest middle-distance track event in athletics. It places high emphasis on aerobic endurance and requires a slightly lower sprint speed than shorter distance events.

The Event: 

Olympic Gold Medal London 2012: 4:10.23, Asli Cakir Alptekin, Turkey.
Sarah: 9:48.22
Ellie: 16:05.02
Sarah: With slightly blurry heads after an ale festival yesterday, we weren't especially looking forward to the 1500m! We had some excellent pacemakers who gave us encouragement during the race, and it was very much a case of 'head-down and get on with it'!. My normal mile time is about 11mins (1500m is just shy of 1 mile), and after only recently starting up running training again after two operations on my leg at the end of last year, I was really pleased with my time.  
Ellie: I don't enjoy the long 'runs'. I'm not build for any sort of running and I find it quite boring. So today I just tried to think of it as a brisk walk that I made brisker with each lap. I even managed to 'run' the last 100m or so - that's the best result I can hope for!
Thanks and high-fives to Eliza and Rachel for being our pacemakers and cheering squad!