Going Home

There’s one thing I had in mind that I wanted to learn during my time in South Africa, and that was to appreciate wine. I’ve never been into wine, and I thought three weeks in the wine country I could do a wine tasting, learn to appreciate the nuances and maybe get to a point where I could enjoy a glass in civilized company and be able to pick out “plummy fruit undertones” to impress girls. Alas, so far I have drunk just one glass of red in the last two weeks and still have no idea why a merlot and a cab are different but I have learned a load of more useful things.

My inner-most feelings

Despite now writing a blog post once a week for several months now,  I still don’t really feel comfortable writing about what I’m doing. My main reason for this is I find it difficult to see anyone finding it interesting, but then for some reason I seem to think you guys would find my opinions on vaguely athletic related topics good reading. Like anything uncomfortable, I’m just going to keep doing it, pretend that I enjoy it, and eventually it’ll be second nature. Fake it till you make it.

So despite the expense and the hassle of transporting poles to another continent for this holiday, sorry, I mean training camp it has been extremely worth it. I love the sun, my body has always responded really well to it (hence my over-interest in maintaining vitamin D levels throughout the winter) but ever since arriving here my body has just started feeling better. All those aches and niggling problems that just won’t quite go away have started to dissipate. Its difficult to attribute all of this to the sunlight however, as there’s also the distressing effect of being away from work, as well as the decreased training load as we approach competition time, but something is working and South Africa seems to have amplified the effect

The on-going achilles

In a similar vein, the Achilles seems to also be responding really well. Again this is multi-factorial, it was already in a pretty good place before coming out, but several iterations of varying spikes and insoles seems to have found a pair that will house my over-grown calcaneous comfortably. Again combine this with sun exposure, decreased training loads, etc. The reduced discomfort in the Achilles could be a factor in why I’ve managed to put together a couple of the best full run pole vault training sessions I’ve ever done, and managed to run a new p.o.b. flying 20 (post-operative-best), but again theres other factors to consider…. See how quickly these things snowball. To try and attribute good outcomes to any one thing becomes extremely reductionist, but my snowball is currently rolling up hill so I’ll go against my instincts and try not to overanalyze.

Learning experience 

In addition to the great training that’s been going on, timing our training trip to coincide with the British Athletics Camp has been really beneficial to me personally. Its given me a chance to observe and ask questions of some of the countries best coaches and therapists. There is absolutely no reason why these people have to entertain me at all, but every single person (with one un-named exception) has been extremely receptive and really helpful. Even the exceptional still answered me, just with a less than helpful attitude. But within athletics I still haven’t come across a single person who isn’t willing to share their knowledge, and as much as the coach education system in this country progresses, this sharing will still always be the biggest asset in terms of a learning experience.

Return to normality

So we fly back on Saturday night, land and travel back Sunday and then return to normality Monday. The following weekends will be the meat of the indoor season, Welsh Championships, Vault Cardiff, then British Championships. Depending on how things go the next couple of blogs may be me bragging about how amazing I am and how well the competitions are going, or it’ll be a more eclectic mix of topics as I avoid admitting how badly things are going. Only time will tell.



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