Category Archives: Blog

The show’s now up & running at the Tron, and is heading out on tour next week before settling into Summerhall at the Edinburgh Fringe from 14th August.

I’m thoroughly enjoying the mix of watching European Championships by day, and performing Tetra-Decathlon by night. Synchronised swimming is gloriously ridiculous and if it weren’t so flipping hard, could well have tempted me into a pool. Looking at the Russians, though, I dare say I wouldn’t be getting to the World Champs any time soon.

Photo: Mihaela Bodlovic

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It’s show time in no time

The days are counting down, like the steady clap before jumping.

Tomorrow, Tetra-Decathlon previews at Macrobert Arts Centre in Stirling. Next week, it’ll premiere at the Tron in Glasgow, before heading out on tour.

A little bit of me wants to believe that the reason I’m not in a state of abject terror is that competing in a tetradecathlon has prepared me for such occasions. But the truth of it is that I’m incredibly lucky to have such bloody brilliant people around me, and so I know it’s going to be a winner.

Deal.
Jenna Watt is directing the show. She wrote, directed and performed her solo show, and won a Fringe First Award. Oh, sorry. I mean she did all of those things…. twice.

Callum Smith (@Showroom) is a shit-hot producer. He jumped on board last year, and has made this all possible.

Ema Jayne Park is another brilliant maker who has been working with me to create the movement in the show.

Claire Halleran designed the show, and I’m really excited to be in the world she’s made for the show to live in. Giggy Argo is now making that world a reality. It’s looking so great and I’m sad that I can’t post pictures everywhere because it would spoil the fun.

Scott Twynholm is making sound for the show and that is SO VERY EXCITING! He’s also a marvellously calm person to have around and an excellent 4-square competitor to boot.

Jane Gilbey has been managing both the stage and me, and bringing cake and being great. She was the first person to bring a cup of tea and ask if I was ok when I was having a serious wobble a few weeks back, and she’s a rock solid woman who I’m glad is on my side.

And Kyle McAslan has made a really cool thing, which is kind of a secret but it’s a bit like this….

As ever I’ve had a ridiculous amount of support from this chump (now known as my “long suffering marathon-running boyfriend”- Daily Record). As if 600 days of making post-training dinner wasn’t enough, Arron’s been supporting me through every step of making the show too. I couldn’t have done the tetra or the show without him. Not one bit.

IMG_4903.jpg

I’m excited. I’m terrified.
I’m so bloody delighted.

Why?

To see if I could

To have a laugh

To forge an identity

To make a show that people might be interested in

To have a story

To show off

To only be able to improve

To look a fool

To be taken seriously

To push myself

To be pushed

To trust a process

To set a deadline

To be a hero

Competing without training

People who want to train but not compete have always baffled me, even as a kid. In my gymnastics club, lots of the girls would try to weedle out of competitions. However, without exception everybody loved Gymfest- a non-competitive team event.

Athletics doesn’t have a Gymfest- it’s racing or nothing. I just can’t understand those who go through the indignity of almost vomiting on their feet three times a week without the pay-off of racing to the finish line. Many times I’ve said that I’d like to compete without having to train.

So that’s what I’ve just signed up for.

It’s been 4 months since I’ve so much as picked up a shot, and I’ve just entered the Scottish Indoor Pentathlon the weekend after next. Given that there were only 4 seniors in last year’s heptathlon and one of them has now moved to London, I might strike it lucky. I genuinely don’t know if I can remember how to hurdle, but the 2018 column is blank on my Power of 10 and I’d like to fix that.

Sandra

Me: “What events are you competing today?”
Her: “Long jump, shot, 200m, sprint hurdles…”
Me: “Oh- we’ll be together for hurdles”
Her: “Behind me. You’ll be behind me.”

Silence as I’m taken aback by her words. She continues.

“What are you running? 18.5? I’m at 17.5. You’ll be behind me.”

I picked up the shot, the made the throw of my life to (briefly) overtake her.

I first met Sandra at the South of England Heptathlon in 2016. My first track race had been 3 months prior and I’d only picked up a javelin the week before. From afar I saw the pale pink cap and the hunched shoulders I came to recognise instantly.  For the next 2 days I was subjected to patronising advice and backhanded compliments. “The good thing about doing a really low high jump is that you get more time to recover before shot.”

In that competition, every time I closed my eyes and hoped for a moment of calm, without exception she was in my ear, talking about her training programme, her times, her achievements. Maybe it takes one to know one- I am after all making a show about all of these things in my own sporting existence. However, Sandra’s story always features herself as the heroine, and never, never the idiot.

On every start-line, up until the moment the official shouts “on your marks”, Sandra’s competitors are subjected to tales from her athletic treasure chest. In the case of the race pictured above, she recounted how irritating it was that Moe had always been against her in multi-events, always nudging ahead of her. Moe, who competes for both GB & Nigeria, did indeed just pip us all to the line by several hurdles.

With the pink cap popping up when you least expect it, no athlete is safe from misplaced bragging and pointed criticism.

Yesterday entries opened for the 2018 World Championships in Delft, Netherlands. Have there been any early entries to the TetraDecathlon, I wondered? Lo and behold. One female competitor has signed up. I cannot bloody believe it.

Missing out

Photos of friends across Europe on podiums for indoor pentathlons.
This photo of ducks on track at Finsbury Park on a sunny day.
Slight pangs that I’m missing out.

I start netball tomorrow.


Thanks to Noelle for the photo.

Things I didn’t know about before.

Spikes
Leg lube
That running makes you feel sick
Which direction to clear a hurdle
Winter training
Warm-weather training
A-string / B-string
That 400m hurdles would be grim
That 800m would be the worst
Throwing the captain in the water jump
Plyometrics
Hurdling and split leaps are not the same
36 year olds are “veterans”