Rio Recap

Sorry for not blogging for a while. Following my last blog I was banned from making any public statements leading up to the Games (WHOOPS!!). So I planned to do a recap once I returned, but I have put off writing this for far too long: 

1. Because I have been RIDICULOUSLY busy since returning from Rio

2. Because I just really didn’t want to write it! 

But I feel I need to recap on one of the toughest things I have been through and also to let people who have followed my progress know what went on.

So I was selected as the reserve athlete for the Rio Summer Olympics. Yes that sucked, but after a few weeks of crying and shouting and sulking, I accepted that I wasn’t going to go and compete, but I was at least getting a free holiday to Rio! 

This was then made worse after my last blog which pissed off  upset the selection panel. They decided that I needed to prove my commitment to my reserve position and do a fitness test two weeks prior to flying out. This consisted of swimming a 200m race- on my own, in our training pool and hitting a time that I had only achieved once previously all season (in a race situation I might add!)- followed by a full combined (again on my own!). 

Save to say this didn’t improve my mood. Not only were they saying that I wasn’t good enough to compete at the games, they were now saying I wasn’t even good enough to be a reserve. GRRRRRRR. More crying and ranting followed this! 

After some negotiating I managed to get a pacer in the swim and combined. A huge thank you to Luke who made the day possible!! 👍 With his help I managed to swim a seasons best and combine 30seconds under their set combined time (Not bad considering I was diving into the water with tears in my eyes and I had only shot once in two months!!). To top it off the 4 coaches stood just behind my shooting position with stopwatches at the ready (these coaches hadn’t spoken one physical word to me since before the selection was announced) so all I could hear through my shooting series was the beeping from all their stop watches!! In response to finishing the test the performance director said….. 

 “so that’s that finished. Well done, here is a support staff t-shirt, oh it might be too big, we only have a medium”

Well that got shoved straight back in his face!! Grrrrrrrr!

Sorry I promised I wouldn’t rant. I am pleased I did the test and I got to finish things on my termswith my head held high but it was absolutely horrid at the same time. 

So I was allowed on the plane to Rio!! We flew business class out there which was lush!! I obviously took full advantage of the lounge and the free champagne on board!! 

Leo enjoying the lounge 🙂
Kate’s boyfriend Leo who was on my flight. He snuck up to the fancy seats but had to squat at my feet!

Then we were taken to our accomodation which was where all the support team and some reserve athletes from other sports were staying. It was pretty SWEEEEET! 

the view from my balcony (olympic park on the left and our private pool on the right!

I then embraced 6 days of watching sport, eating out, and partying in true Olympic fashion!! There is such an amazing atmosphere at an olympics that makes people so friendly and open! I absolutely loved it. 

Myself and Leo front row at the athletics supporting the one and only Jack Green


It was exhausting however and a nightmare trying to get around. It would take up to three hours to get to a venue and I swear I must have walked over 10k per day!! 

watching the womens triathlon!

Excuse the state of me but i had to share this!!

Watching the womens semi-final match, GBR vs NZL
Watching the final team show jumping. There was a bronze medal jump off which was epic!
Jo and I at the best club ive ever been to… there were water falls and everything!
Spent the day at the british house… jumped into the media booth for some interviews!

Met some amazing people! I just love the olympic spirit 🙂

I also got to catch up with some other pentathletes that were out watching as well which was lovely! 

Alex Nobis who has been competing with me for YEARS! He was out at the German pre-games holding camp and supporting his girl friend who was competing.
 
Alex and I escaped the pentathlon for the afternoon and went to the beach

Just beautiful!

When the time came to watch the pent I was surprised that I didn’t feel the need to be competing. I was quite happy not to be in sweaty fencing kit!! 

Frenchy on the show piste

The comp itself was very exciting, especially with the two hot favourites getting eliminated in the ride (my heart goes out to both of them as they had little brats for horses and couldn’t have done anything more to get them round, pentathlon can be a very unfair sport), opening up the rest of the competition. This lead to a great combined race at the end.

Watching Chloe accept her gold medal! Congrats girl 🏅

 The hardest part for me surprisingly was sitting with Kate French’s family and friends watching how proud they were of her. This caught me unawares and I found myself starting to cry! It sounds pathetic but all I wanted, more than anything was for that to be my family and friends sitting in the crowd. This hit me again at the end when she was finishing, they were all crying (happy tears obviously) because she kicked ass and came 6th, and I was welling up again!! I loved watching them all but it still stung. Watching the boys was obviously a little easier (apart from the fact I was a little hungover!) and I could fully enjoy the competition. 


Oh yeah…. Thats Mathew Pincent! Oh and congrats on ur first Olympic games Cooke

As soon as the comp was over it was like a weight had been lifted. That was it. There was no more. It is sad that something I had aimed for for so long had finished but at the same time it meant I could now move on, move forward. I felt positive and happy again. The negative atmosphere that had surrounded me prior and at the games had really been hanging over me like a dark cloud and it was finally gone. I had a big triathlon when I got home which had kept me going training wise throughout this tough time and had given me something positive to aim for, so I was just excited to get home and crack on with something I could be proud of. This will all be in the next post and will be farrrrrrrrr happier, I promise!!

Sorry again for the long blog, I hope some of you have kept with me and the pictures made it all a little more bearable!! Lots of love as always xx

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Happy Endings Are Not For Everyone

Last week I was officially announced as the reserve member for the female Team GB Modern Pentathlon Olympic Team. This is by far the hardest thing I have ever had to write.

Qualification for the Rio Olympics has always been a race between three people and I have known that someone would have to be third. I just didn’t want to think about the possibility that it might be me.

When I think about it rationally I know the selectors had to make a decision and they selected the two people that they think will  be the strongest on the day… The non-rational side of me feels sick to my stomach. I feel that the people who I have worked so hard for and under, for the past 8 years have punched me in the face. They have looked at every result and achievement that I have done and simply thought they are not good enough. I literally can’t stomach facing them, seeing them or making myself train around them for another second. 

Yeah one girl is the Olympic silver medalist from 4 years ago and yeah the other girl has beaten me just as many times as I have beaten her but I still can’t get rid of that gut wrenching feeling that I deserve a spot on that plane. I do not mean for this to sound big headed or deluded and I definitely do not want to take anything away from the two British girls who have earned their place on the Olympic team (as I know how hard they have worked). I am just angry, SO ANGRY. 

No matter how many times I try to say to myself that the people going to the games have earned their place over me and the selectors are just in saying that I buckle under pressure after my poor performance at the World Champs… the fact that I am 14th in the Wolrd rankings snaps me right back down. They do not lie. I couldn’t have gotten there without earning it. Looking at the Olympic list and seeing that I am the highest Brit by a long way and seeing dozens of people who are miles behind me in the rankings but yet are going to the competition of my dreams is heart wrenching. Knowing that I will have to sit on the side lines again is possibly the worst thought I can imagine. 

The feeling that I have let everyone down that has supported me over the years is currently eating me up so I want to say a massive thanks and shout out to everyone. The biggest of all going to my family and friends back home, it was their dream as much as mine. I know you will say I don’t have anything to be sorry for…. But I am sorry all the same. This extends to all my original coaches back up north who encouraged me in the beginning and have stuck with me all the way through my career along with all the original pony club families who I grew up with, without you I wouldn’t have found my love for pentathlon. 

I am accepting my reserve spot on the team so I will still be training through this summer and will hopefully be able to go out to the games to support the team when the time comes. Although we have been competitors they are also my friends and I will look forward to seeing them flying the British flag out in Rio. 

Competitive sport is a beautiful thing; It is exciting, challenging, thrilling and ever-changing. It is also however, cut throat and brutal. I always used to believe that if you try hard enough then you can achieve anything you want, I now know that this is simply a childish dream. It is about time that I grew up. I do not have many regrets from the past 8 years and I know I can take an awful lot away from my experiences and they will shape me for the rest of my life. I also know that being able to look back on those years and smile will take some time. 

»» Sorry there are no pictures but I didn’t think it suited this post««

😘 To all my followers X

Taper Time

From glancing at my previous blogs I realised they all follow the same theme; competition travel, Semi-final review (if I have time) and final summary. I feel that even for (the few) pentathlon enthusiasts/followers this is undoubtably  becoming a little repetitive. So I thought I would go a little crazy and do a something a little different!

What do pentathletes do when they have some time off? This is a fairly rare occurrence, what with 5 sports to cram in in a week, and I used to be terrible at it. However, experience is a wonderful thing and I feel I have nearly perfected the art of chilling! 

With World Champs approaching we have had a taper week. This basically means a reduction in the volume of training, (quality over quantity, as they say) to allow our bodies to be rested and ready for competition. The intensity of our sessions has still been high but they have been shorter and more focussed. So what do I do with all this extra time….

1. Acquire a new non-taxing skill. Especially one that allows you to be out side and appreciate the rare occurrence  of sunshine! For me this meant  a glorious afternoon spent in Sydney gardens (watching Aki play tennis) getting severely frustrated at my inability to throw three balls in the air. Who knew juggling was this hard!


2. Put our media training into action at the World Championship Team announcement press day. We were prepared for the usual couple of photographers and a few reporters, how wrong we were. In rocked tripods and videos with reporters from the BBC, Skysports and even the Daily Mail (this made Jamie Cooke’s day!). We were all very relieved to have been given an extra 30mins to recover from our run session and put some make up on! The interviews went by without too many tricky questions until I got to the final one which was a quick fire round…. Imagine a camera stuffed in your face with no idea of what might be coming at you, and you get

What’s your favourite film?

The realisation dawned on me that this might not go so smoothly! But I had this one in the bag…. Without hesitation (or embarrassment) “A Knights Tale”

Straight on to the next 

What’s your favourite song?

 “Errrrrrrrrr…..” PANIC!! I mean what do you say to that!!

” I love music and have so many favourites that I couldn’t possibly limit it to one. ”

That would have been a good answer, what came out of my mouth however, was a stutter and a mumble which was probably completely incomprehensible. Damn it!! Until then it had gone so well. I was then flustered for the remainder of that interview 😦 Oh well! Let’s hope to never see it!!

So a little challenge for you all, quick fire round, you have 5 seconds to answer, GO:

  • What’s you favourite food?
  • What’s your favourite movie?
  • What’s your favour song (don’t panic!)?
  • Who is your biggest inspiration?

Have fun!

Here are some of the snaps from the media day

Thanks for our great new kit SkinsGB

3. Treat myself to my annual pamper! 


By pamper I mean get my mane hair cut and dyed. Any guy reading this will not appreciate the time consuming process of getting highlights….  It took 3 hours to transform my unruly mess into a respectable hair style! When I am training I usually haven’t washed or brushed my hair for a number of days and wouldn’t dream of letting a hair dresser near it, but not only that, I am also fairly tired and teasey. This means I detest small talk and could think of nothing worse than being pinned in a chair with a chirpy, well polished hair stylist asking me idle questions that she doesn’t care the answer to. Not this time tho…. I loved it! I even came out with a dry throat from talking too much! Thanks Material Hair! 

4. Spent a large portion of time in carefully chosen cafes eating cake and coffee ✅

5. Finally (cringe moment) get my fix of quality time with my boyfriend! Whether that be watching movies (finally got round to watching Silver Linings, Completely understand why it cleaned up all the awards! Very good film), eating good food, playing board games or sunset chasing 🙂 thanks for distracting me 

Experimenting with his new camera!

I hope everyone has had a good week. We are now out in Moscow waiting for the World Championships to kick off. I start with the semi finals on Wednesday. Please wish me LUCK 🍀🍀

Anyone following can check results here

Success Across the Pond

6TH PLACE…. YIPEEEEE! How did that happen? To be honest, I’m not really sure! Did my performance deserve 6th place? Again, I’m not really sure! This is not me being humble or lacking in confidence. Its not me doubting my performance or questioning whether I was good enough, it’s me being….  Well, let me explain.

Last week the competition followed the Olympic format and we did the main round robin fencing on its own, the  day before the other events. In terms of competition (mainly olympic) experience, I am pleased that I have tried this format as it felt very different to a normal competition. It was very hard to get into the right mind set when all we were doing was fencing. Although Im sure this will be VERY different at the actual games!!

Anyway, the fence started fairly well and it got gradually better with me getting some ridiculously good hits! I was loving life after two consecutive foot hits 🙂 This was short lived when the Czech representative smashed my foot straight after… Oh how I love fencing!! Something then started to shift, Im not exactly sure what triggered it or why it happened but things started to go South… and quickly! I started to tense up and stop moving, I fell for some of the simplest tricks in the book and missed some very easy, open targets 😦 I also had three double defeats (this is where neither of the two fencers score a point within the minute) during this period, which didn’t do anything to lift my spirits. I managed to redeem myself by fencing better in the last couple of rounds and hitting a Canadian opponent who I can NEVER hit (YUSS) and finish on a respectable score of 20Vs/15Ds. Job done. We then had the rest of the day to try and not panic about the following day rest and recover. I knew I had done my best on the day, but I also knew it wasn’t my best score and I had made a lot of mistakes. This meant that with my swim I would have a lot to do to get my top 10 finish that I had hoped for. The rest of my day involved a quick session in the pool (some of you might be very surprised by this…. But don’t panic, it was an outdoor pool and very sunny = Tanning time!!!),

Sara swim
YEY for the sun!

followed by supporting the other Brit representative, Jamie Cooke, in his round robin fencing later that day. I then went to the beach and enjoyed a coffee with the German team who had cleverly hired a car for the week.

Sara lunch
Not a bad view for a coffee!

The next day came all too quickly (especially with jet lag helping me to wake up at 5am!) along with the sickening feeling in my stomach that can only mean one thing, a 200m swim looms!! No, I joke. I was actually feeling ok and the fact that it was sunny and the pool felt really nice the previous day meant I was semi looking forward to my race. I had a race plan to go out a bit slower and hopefully be able to come back stronger, which meant I had something to concentrate on. Well I quickly F***ed messed that up, going out two seconds slower (some people would refer to that as a snails pace) and then still tying up on the final length and hitting my consistent time of 2.26. No matter how many times I swim it, it still really sucks to swim that slowly… especially when it hurts THAT MUCH!!! This meant I dropped about 13 places….. Its fair to say, not a great performance 😦

(No picture here because I was probably sobbing in a corner some where!)

I can bypass the bonus fencing fairly quickly as it was over within approximately 30seconds with the Russian hitting me on the foot. Thanks for that!

Bonus fence sarasota 2
my 30 seconds on stage. I blame the sun!!

So this meant I went into the riding in 22nd position. The riding course was so small I didn’t hold out much hope. The little hope I had pretty much vanished when I was drawn the second smallest ‘PONY’ in the competition. calling him a pony is not even an exaggeration. I quickly became very relieved that the course was so small!!! Anyway, despite Prince’s (that was his name!) meagre attempts to buck me of in the warm up arena, he proved size isn’t everything, jumping a clear round with only 1 time fault. Granted it wasn’t the prettiest round, with the occasional trot and head throw… but its the points that count, and he got me a lot! High Five to Prince!

Ride sara 2

There was quite a range of scores in the ride with the time being very tight and the course being very twisty. This meant that my ride brought me up to 11th position going into the combined. Back on for a top ten finish. That was until I started shooting…

Lets just say my warm up didn’t go very well! It was very windy on the range but we train in Britain… I am used to the Wind! I hoped a poor warm up would mean a good comp (don’t ask me why but this sometimes happens!) but I was quickly corrected after standing for almost 30seconds on my first series 😦 Somehow I didn’t loose any positions, but I definitely didn’t gain any either. I then might have gone went off a little quick for my first 800ms, out of sheer frustration. This meant I closed down the gap to the group of runners in front of me but also meant I came in to the range slightly out of breath!! Suffice to say the next two shooting series weren’t great either so I was playing catch up on the running leg each time.

Run Sara
Looking slightly miffed

The final shoot went a little better meaning I ran out of the range in 6th, but as a result of running pretty hard in the previous laps my legs said “SOD OFF” to picking up the pace… I wasn’t far from the Russian in 5th place and I really tried to catch her but I had nothing 😦 My legs felt flat and drained. Im hoping that it was from the travel and the previous weeks of training and competing. My ability to climb up the field was down to the other competitors struggling with the wind, not through my accurate shooting. This was obvious from one of the German competitors, Annika Schleu, who shot amazingly and had the combined of her life moving from 24th to 7th place…. I was pretty scared when I saw her storming up behind me!! Congrats girl x

Podium 6
The top 6

I don’t want to achieve good results because other people have made mistakes. I want to achieve good results due to my own performances. I have one more chance to make this happen. World Champs are less than two weeks away…. Eeeeeeeek!

Finally I want to congratulate the King of Sarasota… Jamie Cooke won the World Cup Final. That means two straight wins for the superstar and moved him up the World Rankings to number 2 in the world….woooo yeah!! He once again had a brilliant competition and rose above the rest of the field. Very Very impressive.

So what did we do to celebrate… Shop 🙂 and a bit of sunbathing 🙂 Thanks Florida

Sara shopping
What do you do when you win prize money… SHOP!!!

Thank you to everyone who supported me and hopefully I will keep giving you things to cheer for. Peace out xx

Sara beach
One happy (sunburnt) selfie!

 

 

The Serious End of the Season

Last week UK sport put on a media training day, teaching us how to deal with the pressures of the media in the lead up to the Olympics. One of their key messages was to provide a story for your followers and not to build them up and just leave them high and dry when things don’t go as you planned. I realised this was exactly what I had done!! So apologies people! I will try to do better….

WC3 in Rome definitely didn’t go as I had hoped. I had one of my worst semi final performances to date and failed to qualify for the final (hence I tried to ignore it ever happened!). My swim was about the pace of a drowning goat, which really got to me after I was fairly pleased with my swim in Rio a few weeks previous. Anyway, this meant I started the fencing fairly near the bottom in the results. I don’t know if this made me put too much pressure on myself, or if I was just having a VERY bad day… but I couldn’t hit a barn door. Nothing I tried worked for me and there came a point half way through where I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. I finished on a miserable result of 10V (and I have no idea how many defeats…. but it was A LOT). This all culminated in me starting the combined event in 24th position, just a minor 16 places off automatic qualification!!! Luckily I had a very good combined event, which gave me a small positive to take away. It was only good enough bring me up to 15th place and 3 away from qualification. It was safe to say I was P***ED OFF!

But onwards and upwards right…..

WC4 was only round the corner and I was darned if I was going to give up that easily. I know I am better than my performance in Rome and I really wanted to get a chance to show it. Luckily this time I made it into the final without too much of a struggle and my dad actually flew out to watch me, which was wonderful, since he rarely gets a chance to see me compete with his work schedule.

The day didn’t start the way I had planned with me swimming a 2.26 and coming a solid 33rd in the swim. It really hits you hard when you give your all and get nothing in return. I sat up in the stands with dad watching the later heats and broke down in tears….

“What am I doing here”

“What is the point in continuing”

There were a lot more that spouted from my lips but they were far less polite! Dad continued to give me a bear hug and told me to buck up my ideas and get on to what I do best… begin my climb!

So off to the fence we went and many things didn’t go well and definitely didn’t go as planned but I kept my head. I got some nice hits but also lost a lot of silly ones including the last 4 which meant I finished on one hit below half… no where near good enough to make up for my swimming score. This meant I was sitting in a solid 30th position after two events. Safe to say it wasn’t a great start to the day.

Fence Tamara WC4
Scrappy but its the hit that counts, not how you do it….

Then things started to improve with me winning two of my bouts in the bonus fencing (this only gives me two points but its better than nothing!).

Fence Bonus WC4
Getting my first point in the bonus fencing.

I then went and collected my horse (i feel bad as I don’t actually know what it was called!) and it looked well muscled and really sweet. I got slightly concerned when its rider told me:

 

Its a very good horse but don’t trust the little s**t……

Hmmmmmm! Ok then! This lead to me holding its head a little more than I would have before but he didn’t falter through the whole course and jumped like a star giving me a clear round with only 4 time penalties and a winning ride score… BOOM! Something good had come out of the day. I even got a hand shake from our performance director which means I must have done something right!

I then had a little while before the combined so I went and joined my dad in the stands and watched the rest of the competitors rounds. There weren’t too many disasters in the ride but there were very few clear rounds which meant with the scores being so tight I moved up to a (not so) solid 20th position heading into the combined. I looked up the field and knew there weren’t that many strong runners directly in front of me (Other than the fastest combiner starting in 19th…. I just blanked her out knowing she would be out of my sights VERY quickly!), so I set myself a target of 12th position.

Me and Proko WC4
Attempting to keep up with Prokopenko in the Semi final!

The first shooting series went well and ran out of the range with Prokopenko (the REALLY rapid combiner). We quickly picked off two girls in front of us and began our hunt. I stayed with her for the first 800ms (which worried me a little) but my running felt strong, so I carried on. My next two shooting series weren’t ideal (missing two shots in each) but quite a few girls were struggling with the wind so I didn’t loose any places… but I lost ground on Prokopenko (drat!) who had ran up to 7th place already….. Ridiculous.

So far I had just been a spectator, watching the battle that was unfolding at the front of the field. The top 6 had all entered the range at the same time for the final shoot, with Prokopenko only 10 seconds behind… Oooooo exciting!! As I was running into the range I just saw Prokopenko leaving… in FIRST place…. EH?!?! The top six girls had all panicked a lot slightly and allowed a 5 out of 5 shoot for the Belarussian to take her into the lead… and no one would be catching her, WOW!

I was having a little chuckle to myself as I entered my position and somehow had another good shoot. When I ran out of my position I saw my team mate Kate leaving at the same time… SHOCK entered my head at the same point as “YEY I have someone to run with”, this thought was quickly squashed when Kate took off like a devil possessed! That was when I noticed a small group of girls not far ahead of us and I changed my plan…. Lets get them I thought!! I had no idea what position I was in but I knew that if I caught some of them I would make my top 12. It turned out my legs had a lot left in them and I slowly but surely reigned all of the girls in, including out sprinting both of the other Brit girls on the line. To be fair I had no idea if I had caught Kate or not…. I think the officials felt a little sorry for my attempt of a ‘dip’ to the line and gave me the win!! I say win… it was 7th position, but I was very happy with that!!

IMG_2681.JPG
Coming into the final straight. Picture courtesy of Dad from the stands!

I have no idea how I managed a top ten finish with my start. I know a lot of the girls had an unusually bad shoot…. But this is pentathlon and that can happen. I managed to keep my head and  shoot well in bad conditions and get a good result. It really shows that in pent you have to keep pushing no matter what happens!

I want to say a huge GET WELL SOON to Frankie. She suffered a bad injury during the bonus round out in Hungary which has left her on crutches and maybe needing surgery 😦 It was horrible to see a friend in so much pain and also see the rest of her season disappear right in front of you. She is being amazingly up beat and positive about everything and I hope she can have a speedy rehab. Much Love Franks xx

frankie Leg
It was great fun getting a private escort and a winch onto the plane! Smiles all the way home!

Finally a MASSIVE well done to Jamie Cooke who won the mens event. He has joined the prestigious group of men to win three World Cups…. Pretty impressive really!!

Cooke
Cruising to victory 🙂

The result at the final WC was a huge relief for me as it meant my ranking points were good enough to qualify for World Cup Final in Sarasota. This is a massive opportunity to gain well needed ranking points as well as experience at competing in a direct final (the Olympic games format). I am currently writing this on the plane out to Florida. The fencing round robin starts on Thursday with the rest of the competition taking place on Friday. Please wish me luck and follow my progress here.

Have a great week everyone xxx

The Olympic Test Event

The official Olympic test event took place last weekend at the Deodoro Stadiums in Rio de Janeiro… and I feel its safe to say they failed on just a few levels.

We had one day to recover from our journey and so we took the metro to the Copacabana and went for a run along the beach… Obviously! Well, holey moley it was hot. We only jogged for 25 minutes but I think it was the hardest 25 minutes ever!! The pavement was so hot you could feel it through your shoes, sweat ran off your whole body and as soon as you stopped moving you felt like you were being suffocated by the heat… This did not fill us with confidence with three solid days of competition looming over us.

The semi-final was interesting, there were positives; I didn’t re-dislocate my shoulder diving into the pool, my swim time wasn’t any more embarrassing than normal, my fence felt good and my score was respectable. There were also some negatives; it was SOOOO hot (I don’t think I have ever been as warm for so long!), I panicked so badly at the range resulting in my hand shaking so much I swear I could see 3 sets of sights (NOT a good thing), and i felt like an absolute troll running round. It also left me in 13th place which meant I had to wait until 10pm to find out if I had made it into the final, which started at 8am the following morning. Thankfully I made it through but hello 6 hours sleep 😦

The following day all 36 bloody tired blurry eyed finalists bundled to the venue to compete in our fencing phase. This was an abnormal schedule for us as they were trialling the olympic format.

Rio fencing
Getting a nice little hit.
It started early because we had to finish before the boys could start their semi finals. The only slight bonus in this was that the hall was a little cooler.

I felt surprisingly ok after my eventful comp the day before and somehow managed to fence really well. I was alert and awake, making the bouts seem surprisingly easy! that was until the last three rounds where I got a little complacent and managed to loose the last 4 hits… Damn it!!! But it left me on a solid 21Vs and 5th place. Pretty chuffed! We then had a quick massage and headed back to the hotel to get some well needed sleep.

fencing hair
Frankie and I making sure we looked our best on the piste!
The next day came around all too quickly and there I was again, struggling in the sweat box of a changing room, trying to squeeze my too big bum into my too small race suit. I had more confidence going into this race and it really showed. I swam over 2 seconds quicker, YIPEE! I still had a huge drop off in my last 50ms but overall I was really happy.

Rio swimming

Next up was the ride… this is where things started to go a little wrong. The course was very up to height, by far the biggest course we have had for a while, which should have played to my strengths. But I did not gel with my pony. I just couldn’t work him out 😦 I got him a little close, he hit it. I asked him to stand off and he completely demolished the jump and almost landed on his head…. such a mess!!! In total I had three poles down which wasn’t a complete disaster but I was very disappointed with how I rode.

Rio ride 2
Nissan and I….
This meant I started the Combined in 13th again…. Im beginning to think its unlucky for me! We all rushed over to the range as the warm up was supposed to start at 6pm but we were then told there was going to be a 30minute delay. No one could give us a good reason for this, especially when there were very obvious rain clouds approaching and it was starting to spit…. hmmmmm? So we all sat and waited and twiddled our thumbs (and got drizzled on). At 6.30pm we started our warm up and funnily enough it had begun to rain properly, which worried us as our guns are electronic…. We were told repeatedly that we couldn’t cover our guns, which meant they were left completely exposed as the organisers had decided not to build a roof over the range (NOTE for the future.. AWAYS HAVE A ROOF!). By the time we ran into the range for our first shoot the rain had reached monsoon standards and it wasn’t long until the lightning kicked in. A considerable number of pistols stopped working, including that of a Chinese athlete who was in a medal position and the current World ranked no. 1 who would most certainly have run into the medals. It was complete chaos. The rain was soooo heavy the commentator couldn’t even see who won the race. It was an absolute shambles!

Rio range
Mid combined event… the Chinese athlete leading in this picture ran in and her gun failed…. she finished around 10th place!
I am not making any excuses, I still shot horrendously badly and I know this needs to massively improve. But there was a hell of a lot of distractions!!

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Look at the rain
To then complete our brilliant third day of competing, the buses waited an hour to pick us up. I presume they didn’t want to travel in the lightning (yet it was fine for us to run around in it….?). Then after everyone bundled aboard… we got stuck on the main road back into Rio because the roads had flooded!! One bus took over 4 hours to get back to the hotel… and running out of fuel meant they had to turn off the air conditioning!! It was the funniest sight ever to see grown men walking off the bus in speedos!!! So after finishing a day of competing, having no cool down, soaking wet kit, no food and a lot of broken pistols, its safe to say we were not a happy team.

I have to admit the venues were pretty impressive. The fencing hall was smart, the pool was nice, the horses and ride course were good. But thats about all the positives we could take from this World Cup. There needs to be a lot of improvements between now and the summer.

We are back at it next week in Rome for World Cup 3… Fingers crossed it will go a bit smoother and we will be a little happier. Please follow my progress online and wish me luck

xxx

First Road to Rio

With my first World Cup competition of the season just over a week away I thought it was about time for another blog. World Cup No. 2 is to be held in Rio De Janeiro and is the official Rio2016 Olympic Games Test Event. The competition kicks off on the 10th of March with the women’s semi-final.

These past two months have been testing; numerous hours spent in the physio clinic,

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I had a lot of these to look at and a lot of pictures drawn!

countless hours spent in the gym doing all sorts of rehab exercises (including diving onto crash mats!),

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After a casual sunday rehab session…. 

lengths and lengths in the pool attempting to swim (when in fact doing bissare arm waving movements) and hundreds of minutes spent stabbing a sword into a wall! But I have finally started to train fully again, with diving being the last part of my training to be introduced.

About 4 weeks post dislocation I was cleared of any serious injuries after having numerous MRI and CT scans as well as having them checked by specialist after specialist. It turns out I have a small Bankhart lesion (what ever that is!) at the front of my shoulder but it is not big enough to warrant an operation (phew). They tell me I was really lucky… hmmmmm! The leading shoulder expert in the country even came down to examine me and give me the green light to go back to full contact training. His only advice was to not fall off my horse!!

So my training has increased over the past month in the attempt to get me in to a competitive shape.

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All smiles after one of our many wet and muddy run sessions along the canal. No we werent wearing make up but yes Sam might have done a little bit of edditing!!! 

I am excited to get the season started after watching the first World Cup, which kicked off last weekend in Cairo. After such a long training block over winter it is nice to have a goal on the horizon and to put all the hours of work into practice. Training has been going as well as I could have hoped. The only unknown is my swimming… training has had to be severely adapted it could be interesting to see how much fitness I have maintained. My swimming surely cant get much worse… Can it???!

As everyone keeps saying, this is the most important season. So its safe to say the pressure is on. I really hope people will follow my progress online. Wish me luck!!!

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