First Blog… Catch up!

Thursday, July 28th, 2011

Hello. This is my first time at blogging, so I will try to keep it interesting and will keep a constant up-to-date report on my weekly races, but I do speak a lot and so apologise in advance for this.

This year has been quite a big step-up in competition for me and I have improved over a range of distances. It has been a lot of travelling and time away from home, but it has been worth every minute. I have been lucky enough to meet some amazing athletes and management as part of Team GB.
If someone had told me I would have been in these sorts of races at the start of the year I would of told them to shuuuuuush, as I had been struggling to get myself fit again after injury. I will re-cap on my main races so far. This will be a bit of an essay, none of my blogs will ever be this long, I promise.
International Flanders Cup, Belgium and European Team Champs
I did my second ever 3000m SC at the International Flanders cup in Belgium a few months ago. It cost quite a bit for my flights but I was so desperate to get a race, as I knew I was in good shape from my training sessions. I cut nearly a minute off my previous PB and broke 10mins, 9.58. As soon as I crossed the line I was on the phone to my parents. I was just very pleased to have gone under the 10min barrier in my first race of the year.
This time along with my debut over 5k, got me selection as a travelling reserve for the European Team Champs in Sweden. Literally couldn’t believe I had even been considered, and kept telling people that I thought it was a joke or that they were going to change their minds. The fact I was only a reserve was totally fine with me, I thought I would get a weekend away watching all the athletics I would normally watch on TV.
The day before I was due to fly out, this all changed! Haha. I was moved into the steeplechase after one of the girls was unfortunately injured. This put me into panic mode. I had never practiced over barriers before, and usually just race and hope for the best. Again I ran another PB, but watching it on the TV was a horrible experience. It looked like I was having some sort of fit before jumping over the barriers and then almost drowning in the water jump. Not my finest moment.
Anyways, things have slightly improved since then, once a week I have tried at the end of sessions
to just run over a few hurdles to get myself used to it. I know that this itself isn’t enough to improve my technique but I don’t want to specialise in the steeplechase just yet until all my flat times are down to where I want them to be.

Diamond League, Birmingham
One of the most exciting weekends away I’ve had was to Birmingham for the Diamond League. I was very, very appreciative to have been given the chance to race in such a high-class race. Found myself totally staring at some of the more famous athletes and I was probably creeping them out.
Got the chance to walk along the same hall as Asafa Powell as I was coming out my room, but I was in so much shock that I couldn’t even ask for a photo or even muster a hello! Horribly embarrassing.
As I walked out into the stadium, I had never ever seen such a busy stadium. It was absolutely packed, nothing like any races I had competed in before. My mum, boyfriend and two flatmates were all down watching the races. I had absolutely no chance of seeing them in the crowd but at least I knew they were all there.
Really pleased with how the race went, I was dragged round in a little group of three girls and ran an 8 second PB 9.47.03, Scottish national record and a British U23 record. Don’t think I’ve ever heard my dad so happy, he used to steeplechase and so I think he’s secretly quite happy that I am doing well over the same even as he used to do. He’s definitely not passed me any hurdling technique genes though. Thanks da.
European Under 23 Champs
The European U23 champs in Czech Republic were one of the best trips I’ve been on. Mainly because the group of people we went out with were just all so friendly. First day there was slightly eventful though. We all decided to go out for a 20min jog in the woods nearby only to be confronted with two naked girls standing getting photos taken by some very dodgy looking men, that was the last time we went for a jog there.

I was very lucky to share with Stevie Stockton again. I probably annoyed her with the amount that I sleep. That whole week was the least amount of sleep I have ever had. Finding out my heat had been rescheduled to 10.50am, I was not a happy bunny. But I did it and qualified safely for the final. Feet were a bit sore, as I always get stiff after racing, so I struggled doing three steeplechases in a week, two in three days!

The final wasn’t as quick as I had hoped and I came 6th, a lot of the girls had ran PBs, so I can’t complain too much. To even get to the championships was a major achievement for me this year. Hardly slept at all the last few days we were there with all the other Europeans teams shouting outside the windows until 3am, again I was not a happy bunny.

After doing a 45min run the next day after a few hours sleep and in 30 plus degrees heat, I honestly thought I was maybe on my way out. I was considering different scenarios of how I would explain to a Czech person that I was perhaps dying. Thankfully I made it back to the accommodation though.
Seriously nap deprived over the last few days I lasted a full 20mins at the after party before sneaking back to our apartment. The girls stayed up chatting for a bit but I was like a zombie and ended up asleep by midnight. 
That night there was a fire alarm and management were supposedly almost breaking our door down they were banging on it so hard. Yet me, Stevie Stockton, Stacey Smith and Holly Bleasdale slept right through it all. They all had earplugs in and so had an excuse for sleeping through it, me on the other hand, no ear plugs! Just absolutely knocked out. I can honestly sleep anytime, anywhere and through any noise, it’s a skill.
Coming home a day after all the English folk got home was slightly depressing at the airport waiting for our final part of the trip, however I almost had a heart attack walking through security. I saw what resembled Usain Bolt, and it was actually him! I threw my bag into the security scanner and ran through the one that beeps, left my bags and literally sprinted (well.. quick jogged) over to Usain.
The security people thought I was mental as I could hardly speak and just left my stuff in the machine, passport, boarding pass, phone. But it was definitely worth it. He was very, very tall, and allowed us to get photos with him, however think he was a bit overwhelmed to meet me, as he didn’t say much. JOKING!
I think he was majorly creeped out that a bunch of Scottish athletes ran over to him in all their GB kit, panting out of breath and asking for photos with him. Highlight of the year, the photo of him and me has taken over my Facebook profile and replaced the screensaver of me and my boyfriend, on my phone.
So after my massive catch up with the past few months, what am I currently doing?
Currently I am typing away whilst my lovely boyfriend has offered to drive me down to Birmingham for the UK senior champs this weekend. He stated that he wanted to leave on Friday before 9am in order to miss all major traffic as it’s a six and a half hour drive from where we live in Scotland. But in true Eilish, late-style we left at 12, after having to pass by the post-office, the bank and petrol station for food and magazines. I am very lucky he puts up with me.
Very worried about the hotel I have booked us. It was extraordinarily cheap, however once booking it I decided to look at the reviews. 85% would NEVER return. Oh oh. We’re being optimistic though, aha.
I decided to race the 5000m at the UK champs this weekend as I have been given the chance to compete in the steeplechase at the Crystal Palace Grand Prix next weekend. Really excited to run the 5k though, as it will be my second time over that distance, and I really think I’m capable of running a massive PB.
After Crystal Palace I am straight to Heathrow a few days later to leave for China for the World University Games. Very busy over the next few weeks but it’s all pretty exciting. I will keep you updated with how it all goes. Fingers crossed.
Eilish Mc x

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