Hitting the hallowed track..

September 24, 2019

I found myself with a cup of tea and half an hour to think. A rare occurrence at the moment. I thought “I know, I’ll write to the Realbuzz faithful!”

All this hoo-haa about Royal Mail restricting the supply of stamps comes just a couple of weeks after an amazing announcement. During the Olympics, the Royal Mail will be issuing stamps commemorating our Gold Medal winners. Think about that; they’re going to capture the golden moment and within 24 hours, people will be able to buy a stamp to commemorate the occasion! They must have some seriously clever people working on this. I enjoyed the launch day for this excellent initiative, but don’t ask me how on earth they’re actually going to do it. I just hope they’re nice and busy…

You might remember me angling for a go on the Olympic track a couple of months back. It didn’t happen then, but I got my chance recently, along with 6,000 other people. We all did the Olympic Park 5 mile run, which ended up in the Stadium itself, on the very track that our boys and girls will be racing on in a few months’ time. Now I like to think of myself as a no-nonsense, down-to-earth Essex Girl, but to be honest, I got totally over-excited by the occasion. I found myself waving at other runners and at the spectators; it took me right back to the excitement of my racing career. I felt a bit silly the next day, but that’s what the Olympics do to you. I can hardly wait.

I’ve spoken to a few of our athletes in recent weeks. It’s all getting quite serious now. Most of them are away on their last stint of high altitude training before they come home to sharpen themselves up for the summer. Things are going very well indeed for quite a few of our medal hopefuls. High altitude and warm weather training camps are designed to give athletes a bigger “take-out” from each session. In simple terms, it’s harder to train in the heat and altitude, so a 90-minute session at a camp is worth a good couple of hours plus at home. The other side of the coin is that a break from an athlete’s normal routine can be disruptive, so it’s not necessarily a given that you’ll do better if you go on a camp. That explains why some athletes have stayed home, where they can carry on with their (very tough and grueling) routines.

I got asked the other day how I would advise today’s athletes to approach the Games. That’s not an easy one to answer. Everybody has their own pressure points and motivating factors. I’d say that attention to detail is crucial; don’t leave any stone unturned. Think through the whole experience from start to finish…over and over again. Imagine what you’re going to do and when. I spent days visualizing. Would I have won if I hadn’t? Hard to say, but I know one thing; I wouldn’t have had so much fun out on that track if I hadn’t thought hard about what every step, every hurdle would be like…

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