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The European Athletics Championships
Date: 4/4/2007

Hi guys, I think Iím going to start this monthís diary log with the European Championships so I can get it out the way as it still annoys me to talk about it.  If any of you saw the Championships which were live on television, then you will know that things didnít quite go to plan.

The Championships started on Friday 2nd March and I had the heat, semi-final and final all on the same day.  Friday morning I woke up feeling good, I believed it was the day I was going to win and run really fast in doing so.

I had breakfast, 4 weetabix and a strong coffee, to wake me up, and at 8.15am I left my hotel and walked the short distance to the track.  Once at the track I started my warm-up to prepare for my heat at 10.05am.  Everything went really well, I was very confident.  You are told to go to the call room 30 minutes before the race where you sit in silence with the other competitors.   This is when the nerves really kick in.

We were escorted up to trackside about 10 minutes before the race and then led out onto the track. I was in the 3rd heat.  The 1st and 2nd heats werenít won in particularly special times which gave me an extra boost of confidence.  At 10.04 the race starter told us to take off our tracksuits and get ready to race, this was it.  

The crowd went silent

......on your marks, Iím the last to get in the blocks, I like to take my time to visualise the race before I get into the blocks,



Iím out of the blocks like a rocket, Iím in the lead at the first hurdle and Iím running very well.   I know Iím winning so I relax as Iím running, too much tension can lead to mistakes.  I cross the line 1st in 7.60 seconds, (a time that would of won me the gold medal). I felt so relaxed and easy that I wasnít out of breath at all.

The semi-final was about 5 hours away so I went back to the hotel, had some food and put my feet up for a while.  A few hours later I was back at the track doing my same warm-up then out onto the track.  During the semi-final,  I hit a couple of hurdles very hard which wobbled me, I  came 3rd with a time of 7.66sec, it didnít matter as I knew I  was good enough to win the gold.

The final was an hour and a half away, so I went to the warm-up track and did a very light warm-up. I put out a couple of very low hurdles to drill over and in mid-air over the hurdle I felt cramp grabbing me in both my hamstrings.  Oh no, Iíd had this before when no matter what I did the cramp kept coming back.

I ran to the physiotherapist who gave me a very light massage to try and ease the cramp but on the next practise run it came back. I was devastated, I didnít even know if I could run. The doctor gave me a couple of paracetamols which can help but by now it was time to go to the track for the final.

My confidence was very low, I was expecting the cramp to come back at any time, but I just thought, go for it, give it a try, hopefully, it would be ok.

When the gun went my reaction was terrible.  I was last to the first hurdle but I started coming back at the leaders, the cramp didnít come back, but it was on my mind.  I was catching everyone but I ran out of track and came 4th with a time of 7.67secs. I was gutted.  I felt robbed. The final was won in 7.63secs so I knew Iíd wasted my chance. This was definitely the biggest disappointment in my career so far.

The race has been on my mind ever since. It crosses my mind everyday.  In a way itís a good thing as every time I train Iím now thinking about payback, thinking about those athletes with my medal....I wont be beaten by them again.

When athletes finish competing we have wind down time, this was much needed as I wanted to get as far away from athletics as I could for a while.  I took a couple of days off to spend some time with my family. It was nice to have a full day with my kids as I very rarely get the chance.

I took Jasmin to Tigersí eye, a kids wonderland. Itís a big indoor play centre with slides, stuff to climb on, footballs to kick, skateboards and little bikes all over the place. I was loving it, I was first on the slides even though it said no adults, I was climbing all over the place, kicking the footballs, messing with the skateboards, all sorts.  Jas was getting tired but I thought there is no way Iím taking you home yet, this place is wicked.

The rest of the month has been preparation for the outdoor season which is coming pretty soon. This means a lot of hard training like long runs and lifting a lot of weights. Iím off to Florida at the end of March for a monthís warm weather training which Iím really looking forward to.

My girlfriend and the two nippers have gone on holiday to Jamaica with 55 friends and family. I was kind of looking forward to some peace and quiet when they went as life at my house is normally pretty hectic with Jasmin running around and shouting or riding her scooter into me when Iím not looking, but really itís been quite boring. All Iíve been doing is getting up, training, and coming home to an empty house.

I had to use the washing machine the other day, that was a challenge I think I put the powder and the softener in the wrong bit and no doubt  used way too much, but the clothes seem to be clean so Iím pretty proud of myself.

The best thing about having the house to myself is the unlimited playstation time Iíve been having. The playstation used to be in the bedroom on a pretty average sized television, but now my girlfriend isnít here telling me what to do Iíve brought it down and hooked it up to the large flat screen television in my lounge......

Next months diary should be pretty exciting as Iíll be in Florida all month. Iím definitely going to Disney World and Universal Studios, where they filmed the Jaws movies, which will be cool. Not sure I'll go on all the big rides though as I have to admit I'm a bit scared of stuff like that.  

Take care everyone and thanks for reading.

Andy T

Find out how Andy got on in America

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