Despite the presence of a few clouds in the sky, the temperature remains in excess of 30 degrees Celsius. Andy and Bricey have resolved to run 5 kilometres on the track once the training session is complete. Thankfully no-one even considers asking me.
For Jess the day ahead holds javelin, sprinting and weights.
Mick Hill arrived on last nights’ flight accompanied by javelins and his unique assortment of training equipment. Toni reckons that he’s the most innovative coach on the circuit, a sort of Bear Grylls of the Javelin. Mick seems happy to oblige in cementing this new-found reputation by shinning up a fence to attach ropes to a tree branch. It’s all in the quest for throwing perfection.
Toni, still on his daily mission for ten thousand steps decides to walk around the track whilst Jess warms up. In these conditions I feel the need to come up with a new phrase for ‘warm up’ but fail miserably. Instead, I grab the chance to have a chat with the coach,
By the time we’ve completed our circuit of the track in a new stadium record time of around ten minutes, Mick and Jess are already into the Javelin prep,
Still Got It
It’s the penultimate session before the Olympics and the intensity is apparent. As the session progresses Bricey moves from interested observer to applying close scrutiny with his high speed camera.
Toni is less directly involved with these Javelin sessions, preferring to observe, allow Mick to his thing and engage in the occasional discussion. I ask Toni to explain the purpose of the session,
“It’s a while since the last jav’ session so we’re working on ingraining a full approach with more speed. The greater the speed, the greater the distance…..ideally.”
“It doesn’t look easy today”.
“It’s a lot about getting back in touch. It’s also scorchingly hot”.
I retreat for the shelter of some shade and continue to watch Mick putting Jess through her paces.
The Glue Has Melted
Ready to Launch
The mild breeze that helped move the two or three clouds away earlier has dropped and, as I comment to Alison, barring the occasional road noise it’s incredibly still and silent. The birds have shut up, obviously deciding that it’s just too hard to tweet at this temperature. Even Toni is heading for the shade when he has the chance. No matter, it’s time to sprint.
Toni blows his whistle and Jess sets off on her first attempt. The air appears to shimmer as she comes around the bend. The team roar their encouragement as she hits the back straight. Toni punches the stop-watch.
Like a Hot Knife Through Butter
“Take a rest. Head for the shade”.
I drag myself across to Toni, “If the javelin looked tough, this looks…,” I search for the word, “Unbearable?”
“It is pretty hot yes. This is all about high quality and low volume though. Plenty of rest in between. It’s about strength and the transition out of the bend.
We’re doing one bend off the blocks followed by two half bends and the straight.”
The heat is off the scale. I’m not exaggerating when I say I find it difficult just standing in the sun to watch and take photos. Everyone is drained. Goodness knows what Jess feels like.
Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot
Andy and Bricey have long since given up on the idea of a 5 kilometre run.
Toni makes the decision. No weights today. It’s time for an ice massage and rest and recuperation at the hotel. Remember, sometimes doing nothing is doing something.
Sitting in the relative cool of tree shade (don’t ask me what sort, I don’t know) I look across to Alison and Derry who are working on Jess with the ice. From one extreme to another, Fire and Ice. It seems a suitable metaphor for the trials and tribulations of preparing for the Olympics. Or maybe the heat has just got to me…