Zoe Boards The Orient Express to the Silver & Gold Mines of South Korea
Whilst our teams were slogging away at Gravesend, one of our number was slaying dragons with a fine set of races at the World Indoor Masters.
Zoe Doyle takes up the story:
After getting back from two stress fractures in 2015/16 I had a very sensible and slow return to full fitness. After Christmas my track training went really well. I retained my National W35 indoor 800m title and got a new Championship record of 2.17.01. Although the indoor season feels too short and I had only had three 800m races I was in good form for the World Championships.
I flew out on Friday the 17th to have a few days with my sister-in-law in Seoul. My sister managed to get me upgraded on the flight which helped my legs on the long haul flight. I also got a hilarious video message from Brendan Foster wishing me good luck. He had apparently looked me up on Power of 10 after his daughter, who I used to go to school with, told him I was going to Daegu. My last training sessions in Seoul were fine but the jet lag was making me feel very tired.
I travelled to Daegu on Tuesday the 21st. The venue was very new and the facilities were fantastic. I already knew a lot of the Master Athletes but everyday I made more friends. Everyone were so supportive and encouraging to each other. There was a wonderful atmosphere.
I was worried that the jet lag was not getting any better as I was still waking up at 2am and the longest block of sleep was 5 hours. My first race on the 23rd was at 4pm so I tried my best to get back to sleep after only having a 3 hour block that night. The accumulation of the continued jet lag was making me feel worse with each day. I tried my best to think about the process of the race but I felt such a huge pressure to medal this time. After missing out on my first championship falling meters from the line in silver medal position and in the second trying to run a tactical race only to be pipped on the line for bronze.
I had looked up my opposition. One of the Polish girls, Aneta, won the World outdoors in 2.10 and ran 2.13 indoors in February, so I knew she was probably too good to beat. In the call room she told us she was an ex-Polish International, her pb was 1.58 and she used to race Jenny Meadows. In the race my aim was to not go off too hard so that I could cope with running hard at the end if I needed to. I thought the other Polish girl was unlikely to be able to get too close to 2.17 so I needed to run a solid race. Aneta went off a lot slower than I had expected and I was not far behind her for the first 400m. After 300m the other Polish girl tried to over take me but I did not let her. I ran a fast third lap, the fastest 200m split. I finished in 2.17.35 with very even splits. A solid run to secure my silver medal. I felt extremely relieved and happy to have achieved my goal and won my first medal at an international championship.
The next two nights I managed to sleep better but I was still awake in the night. I was relaxed about the 1500m and it was at 11.22 which was better for my jet lag. Although I had done no 1500m races prior I felt confident I could sit behind the two Polish girls and outkick them. I had watched them race in the 3k and I didn’t think either had real speed. There was a Paralympic Tunisian in the race who said she could run 4.24. She went off very hard but I stuck behind the Polish girls and as they got tired they slowed but I felt fine at 300m I kicked. I had so many supporters by the last day plus my bother and sister-in-law watching me, which was lovely. They all shouted encouragement which helped having to run 7.5 times around the track.
When I was finishing I realised the Tunisian was just in front of me. If I had gone slightly earlier I would have got her and I did have something left but I was delighted with another silver medal and another solid performance of 4.46.06. The Relay was scheduled for 3pm. The Relay girls were a lot of fun. We wanted the gold but with two sprinters and two middle distance runners it would not be easy against some very fast Spanish girls. We did come in behind them but it quickly became apparent they had run out of their lane on the second leg. We got the gold and were very happy to be the World Champions!
I learnt a lot from my third championship. One to stop assuming people are better than me and instead just race them, two: if going long haul start adjusting your sleep before you go and three: I am now filled with confidence that I am capable of a lot more. The next goal is to get some pbs this summer and the next championships is the Europeans in Aarhus Denmark at the end of July.
800m: 1 A Kaczmarek (Pol) 2:11.89; 2 Z Doyle (GB) 2:17.35; 3 P Wlodarczyk 2:19.66.
1500m: 1 S Bousaid (Tun) 4:44.34; 2 Z Doyle (GB) 4:46.06; 3 P Woszczek 4:50.71.
4×200: [Spain DQ]; 1 GBR (L Rudd, M Thomas, Z Doyle, C Spurway) 1:49.86; 2 Pol 1:50.62.