Beijing World Championships

Hello all! Sorry for the delay in writing any blogs this trip, I've been flat out with all the travel, training and preparations! But a lot has happened in the last few weeks so I will try to bring you up to speed.

Firstly, one month ago in the Sunshine Coast the relay girls and I had a training camp and raced each other over a 400m. Very surprisingly, I ran a personal best time of 52.29 seconds which bumped me up very close to the top 48 in the world! This meant all of a sudden I was very close to qualifying for the World Championships in the individual 400m. Even though I had been training really well this race was a bit of a surprise because it was on a very casual Sunday morning meet, I had a cold, and was basically running out on my own!! So I knew from this race that I had a lot more in the tank. So then a nervous 2 weeks would ensue waiting to find out if I would be selected or not. Either way, I knew I was selected as part of the relay so I was preparing to travel to Tokyo in the beginning of August regardless.

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I packed up and left Sydney to meet the relay team in Tokyo still not knowing my fate in the individual 400m. However, just as I landed in Japan I turned my phone on to see that I'd been selected for the individual 400m as well as the relay! Very exciting! That weekend I raced in Tokyo over the one-lap to prepare for the World Championships, and to my surprise I ran another PB of 52.20 seconds.

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This is a great sign leading into the World Champs showing that I'm in the best shape of my life and ready to go really fast.

We then meIMG_3947t up with the whole Australian team in Osaka, Japan for our Australian Team Training Camp. This is usually 1-2 weeks before the major Championship to allow the athletes to finalise their training and preparations in a professional environment with all of the team staff, physios and coaches at hand. I trained really well and acclimatised to the incredibly hot and humid conditions quickly which I was pleased with! It also involved a few media commitments which is always a bit of fun too.

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Next up we flew into Beijing for the World Championships!! There has been a lot of drama and questions about whether the air quality in China was going to be unhealthy for athletes to compete in. However since we've been here they have shut down the factories and halved the amount of cars on the road. The first day was slightly smoggy but since then (and you can see in the pics below) it has been nothing but blue skies and beautiful weather so it should be great conditions to run in!

IMG_3958We are staying in a hotel with a bunch of different countries such as Russia, Ethiopia, Poland, and Kenya and this is only about 5mins from the Birds Nest. We can even see it from our room! It's really exciting to know I am running in such an incredible stadium and that holds so much Olympic history.

So now down to business... I am running in Heat 1, lane 4 at 10.45am Beijing time (12.45 Sydney time). They are taking the top 3 in each heat, and then the next 6 fastest times through to the semi-finals. It is aired on Eurosport live, and also SBS 2 have a highlights package each day. There is a live stream (but not sure if it's available in Aus): https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCK54EO7U_eGh-Ch1db4OaZg It will be really tough to progress out of the heats l due to the depth and quality of athletes here but I am confident in my fitness and think I have a great opportunity to break the 52 second barrier!! Hopefully that will give me a shot at making it to the semi finals.

You can read my heat draw (running against Allyson Felix the Olympic 200m Champion) here: http://www.iaaf.org/competitions/iaaf-world-championships/15th-iaaf-world-championships-4875/results/women/400-metres/heats/startlist

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Wish me luck!!

A. xx

World Relays Wrap and RIO !!

Hi guys, I have returned home from the World Relay Championships and as I am slowly getting over the jet lag I am coming to terms with the fact that we have qualified for the Rio Olympics!! We had the 4x400m on Saturday night against some quality teams such as Nigeria and France. Running the heat we had Caitlin Sargent first, Jess Gulli second, myself third, and Morgan Mitchell fourth. Every single one of us run out of our skin and extremely well tactically which meant we ended up winning our heat in a time of 3:30.7 which earned us a lane in the Final! This in itself means that we have gained an automatic qualification for the Rio Olympics. Coming into the Championships this was our main team goal, and to not only have just completed the goal but knocked it out of the park by winning the heat we were all extremely excited!

Watch here: [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jhzy4cPueMM&w=560&h=315]

Between the heat and the final we had a few team management issues which made selection of who would run the final extremely difficult. We had a team of 6 which meant that unfortunately 2 girls would miss out on running the final. We ended up finding out the final running team only hours before the actual race which was difficult emotionally and mentally to prepare for the race. However despite these challenges the team (Myself first, Jess Gulli second, Morgan Mitchell third, and Lyndsey Pekin fourth) stepped up to the world stage and we came 7th, in a faster time than the day before of 3:30.03 !

Watch here: [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mZVXlOXzwsk&w=560&h=315]

This experience of running against the best of the world was different to any other Championships, as this time, we held our own and were very competitive! Personally, I have gained a lot of confidence particularly from the Final where I ran the first leg; I handed the baton over in third place (behind USA and Jamaica) in a split similar to my PB of 52.32. I was very proud of each of our performances and our level of professionalism dealing with challenges during the Championships. Our team unity has definitely grown and become stronger because of this trip and we are all so determined to continue improving as a team for the World Championships in Beijing in August and then for Rio next year!

Thanks for your message of support!

A. xx

World Relay Championships 2015

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Hey guys! A very warm hello from the balmy Bahamas! We got in on Monday and have been finishing off our final preparations for the heat of the World Relay Championships which is tomorrow evening (Sunday morning Aussie time). It's been a whirlwind trip so far, and unfortunately the weather has been less than ideal here, raining and storming most days. But we are expecting sun and warm conditions tomorrow which is perfect for racing!

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To automatically qualify for Rio, we need to finish in the TOP 2 places in our heat, or be in the next 2 fastest times going through to the final. This will secure our berth in the Final on Sunday night AND RIOOO!!!!

So here are all the details for this race:

Heat 1, Lane 2. Main competition will be in Nigeria and France, potentially Cuba. Run at 8:31pm Bahamas time (10:31am AEST) Running order - Caitlin Sargent 1st leg, Jess Gulli 2nd leg, Anneliese Rubie 3rd leg, Morgan Mitchell 4th.

You'll be able to watch the LIVE STREAM from the IAAF Youtube Channel - the link is below:

https://www.youtube.com/user/IAAFMagazine

Cheer for us nice and loudly to make that final!!

A.xx

Penn Relays

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Hi guys!

So the Australian Women's 4x400m team have arrived in the US and are already on our way to the Bahamas for the World Relay Championships!

After a long travel, we arrived late Thursday evening and had to get ready for a quick turnaround to race Saturday afternoon in the Penn Relays. This is an historic event in America in Philadelphia where high schools, colleges and even elite international teams come together to race Relays. Being the week before the World Relay Championships, we saw it as an ideal opportunity to have a warm up race and help adjust to the travel. We were in the Nike USA vs. The World 4x400m race and it was so exciting!! With a crowd of about 40,000, and against some of the best in the world, we managed to come third behind Jamaica, and USA! We ran myself first, Jess Gulli second, Caitlin Sargent third, and Morgan Mitchell fourth. We might have a slight change in order before the next race but same runners.

 

   

Now we are on our way to the beautiful Bahamas for our second competition of the trip. Here at the World Relay Championships, if we place in the top 8 teams we are automatically selected for the Olympic Games next year in Rio. Last year we placed 9th so are in a good position! This meet should be live streamed on the Internet so I will post a link closer to the date. 

  

2015 National Champion!

Hi all! WOW what a weekend I've had. After 4 races, a few season's best times, and some great weather I am very excited to say I've won the National Title in the 400m!

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Here is the race:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jahZxYKdKd0&w=560&h=315]

After winning the heat in a very easy 53.86, I felt confident going into the final as the fastest qualifier. I was running from lane 4 in the final and had my race plan down packed, was just a matter of actually running it! The weather was really warm with a slight breeze but great for racing. After the gun went off I was very focussed on what I needed to do and felt I executed my plan perfectly. Caitlin Sargent went out really hard to get a slight lead at halfway, and I was sitting just behind Morgan Mitchell. With 100m to go I was sitting in third place but very comfortably. I really started to kick with about 80m to go and then when I felt myself surging past Morgan Mitchell and Caitlin Sargent, I got a rush of adrenalin and charged home to the finish line ecstatically! My winning time of 52.77 wasn't extremely fast but is a season's best time.

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I am thrilled to have won the race but am also very happy to have shared the moment with the other girls in the 4x400m relay with Morgan Mitchell taking the silver, and Caitlin Sargent taking the bronze, Jess Gulli in 4th and Lyndsay Pekin in 5th. It's a great sign for the future of our team to have such a competitive field to push us all to faster times! They are all lovely girls and we are excited to head off to the US and the Bahamas in a few weeks (will write a blog on this later in the week).

Here is a post-race interview with Athletics NSW:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JoTQDVe6q9M&w=560&h=315]

I then raced over the 200m on Sunday and ran two Season's Bests times in the heat AND final of 23.66, and 23.60. I was pretty exhausted by the time the final came around but was happy to finish 6th behind my superstar training partner Ella Nelson who won in a time of 23.04 (which is a World Champs qualifier and huge personal best!).

You can watch the 200m race here:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MGcNMwmhNa4&w=560&h=315]

Thank you to everyone who sent me messages of congratulations and support. It means so much to me to have all of my wonderful family and friends who are behind me the whole way! Also special thank you to Mum and Dad, and boyfriend Lach. They spent the weekend with me and kept me focussed but most importantly, excited to run. Couldn't have done it without you!

A. xx

National Championships 2015

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Hi guys! Just a quick blog in between Uni lectures and flights to let you know that I am racing at the Australian Athletics Championships this weekend in Brisbane! I will be running in the Open Women 400m and Open Women 200m which will be held across Thursday-Sunday this weekend.

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I'm very excited to get up to QLD and finish off my preparations, and run the 400m Heats, that are on tomorrow afternoon (Thursday 6.45pm-ish AEST). I'm feeling really confident going into this weekend, and looking forward to having a great race come Saturday night! I can't help but think about last year's Nationals - where I came 2nd but ran exactly on the qualifying time for the Commonwealth Games. Hopefully I can replicate and go one better this year! We are very lucky to have Mossy & Robbo coming up and commentating the Live Stream again for the whole weekend! You can watch any of my races and more here:

http://mossyandrobbo.com

The schedule of my races can be found here:

http://athletics.com.au/portals/56/Marketing%20and%20Communications/Documents/2015%20Programs/nationals_2015program.pdf

But just so you know, the 400m FINAL is on Saturday night at 7:50pm (8.50pm AEST).

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I'd also like to take this opportunity before I race to say a quick thank-you to all of my sponsors & supporters. You can find links to their websites in the 'sponsors' tab above - or click their names below:

Firstly, all of my family & friends for your wonderful words of support! Sydney University Sport & Fitness Sydney University Athletics Club Village Pilates BMW Australia Nike

Wish me luck!

A. xx

Melbourne World Challenge

Hi guys!

So tonight is the final of the Athletics Australia Tour Meet in Melbourne, the Melbourne World Challenge! I am racing in the 400m which is on at 6:05pm tonight. The field is pretty similar to a national final (including myself, National Champ Morgan Mitchell, and Glasgow relay team members Caitlin Sargent, Jess Gulli and Lyndsay Pekin) so I'm sure it's going to be a fast and very exciting race! We have 5 girls who represented Australia at last years Commonwealth Games, plus the seasoned Tamsyn Lewis-Manou is making a return to racing after having a baby last year! 

After my 800m Personal Best last weekend I am keen to see how I'll go over the one lap, and hopefully get close to the World Championships qualifying time of 52:00 seconds.

As I'm sure all of you are as excited as I am about this race, here are your options to watch!

1. Head out to Lakeside Stadium in Albert Park, Melbourne at 5.30pm for all the action! Tickets are available at the gate. The sun is out so it will be a great afternoon of athletics!

2. Head online to  http://mossyandrobbo.com for the full coverage and very entertaining Live Stream! Again my race is on at 6.05pm!

Watch out for me in Lane 6 donning the white, blue and gold Sydney University Athletics Club uniform!

  

Hope to see you out there or through your computer screen!

A. xx

Sydney Track Classic Results

PB!!! Wohooo! 

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Very happy with my run last night at the Sydney Track Classic over 800m. It was a very strong field of girls who all held faster personal best times than me going into the race but I managed to finish 4th!

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I'm learning that the 800m is on a totally different level of racing to the 400m - it is extremely tactical and quite hard to judge your pace. We started out racing in a pack all bunched together across the first lap, then the field strung out into single file as we ran into the second lap. With about 200m to go the pace really surged and I tried to stay up the front to put myself in a good position for the final 100m - unfortunately this kick took a bit of extra energy out of my legs and I didn't finish quite as strongly as I had hoped.

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However I still bettered my old PB (2:05.48 secs) by almost a second and half to finish in a time of 2:03.93 secs. I am extremely happy with my progression from my last race, considering this was only my second real hit out over the two laps!

You can watch the race here: (Fast Forward to 2hrs 11mins on the video)

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2zxp3cwDDRM&w=560&h=315]

Now I am fully focussed on the Melbourne Track Classic this Saturday, and the National Championships next weekend where I will be running the 400m at both. Thanks for everybody's messages of support over the last few weeks; I am extremely humbled by your kind and very motivating words!

Until next time! A. xx

(Thank you to all of the amazing photographers who captured the meet last night...Chris Lew, David Wylie, David Tarbotton to name a few. These pictures are from a fellow Sydney University Athlete, Miles Cole-Clark.)

Sydney Track Classic

Hello! Sydney Track Classic

Sorry for the late notice BUT tomorrow marks the date of the Sydney Track Classic. One of our country's top athletics meets. This year it is one of the two finals of the Australian Athletics Tour. All the other tour meets this year have culminated in this weekend in Sydney, and next weekend in Melbourne where we will have our final chances to gain a qualifier for the 2015 World Championships in Beijing.

I am racing in the 800m tomorrow night (14th March) at 8:12pm against some top runners! Not only Australia's fastest 800m runners, but also one of USA's finest Molly Beckwith, and two Kiwi's from across the Pacific, Angie Petty and Nikki Hamblin, who have both competed at the Olympics and World Champs. Would be an understatement to say I'm a little nervous, but I'm also very excited to have a go at the two-lap event once again!

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There are two options to watch my race....

1: Come out to Sydney Olympic Park, Homebush! The actions kicks off at 7:20pm with Sally Pearson racing in the 200m, then continues with an action packed schedule of racing (including me at 8:12pm) and finishes off at 8:30pm with Sally Pearson once again racing over the 100m this time. Tickets are available at the gate on the night!

2. Watch the live stream from the comfort of your living room! http://mossyandrobbo.com/livestream/ Mossy & Robbo will be continuing with their incredible coverage of the Athletics Tour on Saturday night by suppling a LIVE stream of the whole meet. Yours for the viewing by clicking the link above!

Then next week I will continue on to Melbourne to run the 400m at the Melbourne Track Classic, busy busy! But very exciting times ahead.

Hope to see you out there...Or cheer extra loud for me through your computer screens!

A. xx

Two 400m races, four states, 7 days.

Hello! I've had a monster of a week travelling, training, racing and have finally settled back at home for a couple of weeks for my last block of pre-nationals training.

I started off travelling to Perth for the Perth Track Classic to race in my first 400m for the season. It was a great field with basically our whole Glasgow 4x400m team competing, minus two, and conditions were set to be perfect! Unfortunately, Perth had an anomaly of a day in weather, having the only day under 25 degrees in months and cold gusty head-winds on the track making it very less than ideal conditions to race!! I ended up coming third (exactly even with Lyndsay Pekin), in a  time of 54.20. I was quite disappointed with the time and result, but not completely disheartened because the weather and travel probably played a part in my slow time.

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On my way back to Sydney I stopped off in Melbourne to see my coach and train with squad for a few days. This was a great opportunity to get in a tough track session and plan the rest of my season. We did a 400m specific lactic session involving 300m 2mins 150m, 250m 90secs 150m, 200m 60secs 120m. Definitely opened the lungs!

I then stopped off in Sydney for a night before driving to the Nation's Capital, Canberra, for another 400m race! I had a much better run and fought with Lauren Wells to the line and ended up second in 53.53, almost a whole second faster than the week before. You can watch the race here:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8zcIVKbC8NA&w=560&h=315]

This weekend I have the NSW State Championships where I will be running the 400m and 200m, and am looking to defend my State 400m Title. Fingers crossed for a fast race! Then I have a couple of weeks off before the Sydney Track Classic and Melbourne Track Classic.

Until then, I will be enjoying the last couple of weeks of beautiful Sydney summer weather!

A. xx