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Cardiff calling

Tom Fordyce | 13:38 UK time, Monday, 6 July 2009

Oh, the tedium of being injured. And oh, the terrifying speed with which the weeks are slipping by before the one-hour decathlon...

Time for a few numbers. Seven weeks to go until the big day, nine events to learn properly (God bless you, 1500m), four weeks out so far with the hamstring injury. It doesn't add up to a whole heap of happiness.

The good news? The hamstring is slowly mending, helped by dogged adherence to a labyrinthine series of drills called PATS and a load of strengthening exercise that have more than a hint of stable doors and departing horses about them.

At the weekend I ran for the first time in almost a month. The bad news? That run lasted 10 minutes. It was done at a pace that enabled an old lady out walking her daschund to accelerate past me like Kelly Holmes coming off the top bend in Athens.

To learn all that I have to left to learn in just seven weeks is intimidating enough. To do it all without the vestiges of my triathlon fitness, without the banker that was several years of middle-distance track interval work, feels like walking out to open the innings against Australia in Cardiff without a helmet or box.

At the start of this whole adventure, I had a few targets in mind. The concrete one was to finish with 4000 points, the hazier ones to demonstrate just how hard a decathlon is and to explore and explain the technical disciplines that make it up.

Those 4000 points seem an awful long way off now. And while dealing with the boredom and frustration of injury is an accurate reflection of many a proper decathlete's experience, there's an increasing fear that I could embarrass both myself and this great event on 30 August.

Decathlon is a fantastic sport. It deserves respect, not a hopeless incompetent throwing the javelin like a dart and clocking 400m times for the 110m hurdles. From a selfish perspective, I also wanted to do it well. This could be the only time I ever record a discus mark in my life. Do I want to have something on my track (and field) record that bears unfavourable comparison to the Middlesex under-11s girls record?

There's been plenty of time to ruminate on such things during the last month's interminable aqua-jogging sessions. When you're staring at the same spot of the swimming pool wall for 45 minutes four times a week, your brain starts behaving in strange ways.

Other random subjects that have occupied time in recent days include:

1. If I played tennis against Roger Federer, could I win a single point?
2. How long would it take an average-sized man to drink the contents of a 25m swimming pool?
3. Will the "what ifs" from the Lions tour ever stop haunting my every waking moment?

And so to a plea. I'm off to Cardiff to cover the first Ashes Test this week, something which could bring joy to the hardiest of hearts. The cricket will be fantastic, the opportunities for decathlon training less so.

I'll be there from Tuesday 7 July to Monday 13. If there's anyone in the Cardiff area who fancies some early morning training in any of the 10 events (caveat: I'll have to nurse the hammy) I'd be delighted to hear from you.

Javelin drills, conditioning stuff, even some aqua-jogging assistance - I'll do it all, as long as we're done and dusted by 10am. Pontcanna fields, Bute Park, the National Indoor Athletics Centre - name the location and I'll be there. Same goes for Leeds from 7-11 August.

One other thing while I remember. The hamstring means I can't dance like Usain B - that and a stifled sense of natural rhythm, an upbringing in Essex rather than Jamaica etc - but maybe you can. Have a look at this link if you reckon you can bust Bolt-like moves like ole Lightning himself. Personally I'm backing Ben Dirs to win it. That man's Electric Boogaloo - quite extraordinary...

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Hey Tom, the link doesn't appear to be working but if it involves some sort of rhythmic pulsating, I'm not sure I'd stick my pocket money on Dirsy, though perhaps you know something I don't.

    Best of luck with keeping the training up during the Ashes. I'm sure there'll be a bit of rain along sometime so keep your trainers in the boot of the car.

  • Comment number 2.

    In Cardiff you will find Nigel Bevan at UWIC. He is an 81m javelin thrower (in his day - threw at Barcelona 92) anc currently coaches the top UK discus thrower, Brett Morse who is also one of the top U23 shot putters. Nigel will be your best bet for some throws training!

  • Comment number 3.

    Hi Tom - My names Lewys and I'm a long distance runner for Cardiff ac and Cardiff university, currently struggling with a bit of a injury myself and no how spending hours in the pool can drive anyone insane, but if u fancy a off road reps session on Pontcanna fields or beasting a session in Maindy pool early Thursday or Saturday morning just drop me an email.

    Lewys - Runnerboy24

  • Comment number 4.

    Hi Tom,

    in Cardiff, you have a chance to train with one of the best young decathletes in the UK - David Guest. I have just asked him if he is available any of these days, I will let you know!

  • Comment number 5.

    Lewys - many thanks for the offer. Have hit the international pool for some swimming - might be down there on Monday morning if you fancy it.

    WelshAthletics - be my Guest...

 

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