Hi! Fancy an update on my return to the sand pit?
Competition One: Northern League, 12th May – Pulled out due to ankle ligament trouble Competition One (Try again): Manchester Great City Street Game, Friday 18th May – Pulled out for the same reason as above. VERY Sad face!
Competition One (Third time lucky?): BIG – Bedford International Games, Monday 28th May
Result: 6.28m for 1st.
YEAH! It wasn’t where I wanted to start, but considering how shaky and inconsistent training had been since 21st April, I couldn’t complain! Additionally, I was actually able to walk away INJURY-FREE which is a MAJOR victory considering the horrible end to my last two season-openers (2015 and 2016).
Competition Two: Northern League, Sport City Manchester, Sunday 10th June
Result: 6.50m for 1st.
It’s funny because I’m starting to realise that I am very rarely satisfied. I’m constantly searching for that 6.80m moment. But it isn’t always possible (clearly!). Anyway, 6.50m wasn’t setting the world on fire, but for me it was a big step from where I was two week’s prior and only 10cm from the European Champs standard. I was content. I thought I could’ve jumped further, but it didn’t come together. Maybe next week, I thought…
Competition Three: Meeting de Marseille, Saturday 16th June
Result: 6.60m for 5th.
I bet you’re wondering how I could finish 1st in the first two competitions above with those distances and then only achieve 5th place in this meet. Well, the first two competitions were ‘home’ meets in England. The competition isn’t of as high a standard generally in England at small competitions, that’s why. Whereas, here I competed against the likes of the excitable, effervescent Cuban, Caterine Ibarguen, one of Britain’s top long jumpers, Shara Proctor and French number one, Eloyse Leseur. The standard was SKY HIGH. The field was STACKED. It was INCREDIBLE.
It was truly a miracle that I even made it into this competition, but the meeting organiser, Laurent was kind enough to welcome me despite the fact I hadn’t yet recorded a decent distance (6.28m was my SB at the time of entry). I’m thankful for this opportunity, without which I would have felt less confident heading into the British Championships and I wouldn’t have been able to have a glimpse/reminder of the athlete’s lifestyle that I enjoy so much.
I had the most fun at this competition because it reminded me why I love this lifestyle so much – competing in front of a stadium full of eager fans keen to see big distances, experiencing new countries, cities and cultures. I LOVE France, especially Marseille because it is about 45 minutes’ drive from Aix-en-Provence where I previously lived for a short year of my life. I was equally grateful to see a few of my old coaches and training partners there. C’etait parfait!
Competition Four: British Championships, Sunday 1st July
Result: 6.64w for 5th.
Lorraine Ugen won with a MASSIVE Championship Record of 7.05m – her first legal 7metre jump. What an incredible feeling to break the seven-metre barrier! That’s my dream and future aim – one that I’m certain I can and will achieve before I finally retire (for good!). 2nd was Jazmine Sawyers with 6.86m (PB). With that PB, she actually now surpasses me on British All-Time rankings, which of course is a sore spot, but equally it’s an impetus for me to excel once again. 3rd was Shara Proctor with 6.81w and 4th a new lass on the scene from America, Jahisha Thomas.
It was genuinely heart-wrenching to miss out on a podium spot and knowing that I won’t be booking my spot on the plane to Berlin for the European Championships. I definitely shed a tear or two. But I’m thankful for all the positive perspectives around me reminding me how excellent of an achievement it is for me to come back after two years out and to still be able to jump distances close to my best.
This year was a tough year to return considering this was probably one of the greatest British women’s long jump showdowns for decades – literally. It’s unthinkable (I think?) that 6.64 would finish 5th at a British National Champs, and yet it did! Ian Roberts just commented on my Facebook post: ‘I cannot remember the last British domestic long jump with 14 girls over 6m’. Look at those stats! So it’s great for the state of British long jumping; not so great for the state of THIS particular British long jumper right here right now (I’m talking about me, guys). Oh well, first year back. I’ll persevere. I’ll push on. Next year I’ll be better. But the main aim is undoubtedly Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Third time lucky? Please God, I hope so!
What’s next? I don’t know! I’ll keep you posted.
How about you? What have you been up to for the past month or so? And what would you like to read about or be updated about in the future? Leave your answers in the comments or drop me an email.
THANK YOU, TEAM!
Finally, I need to give a MAJOR shout out to my team who have helped me get this far! Coach Tom Cullen who I’ve been working with since January this year, Nick Jones of DNA Fitness creating my S&C programs and Iris Van Ooyen of Bright Eyes, my awesome psych. x
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