This past week I’ve been writing a blog about the month of January and how I have had many mental ups and downs. I do intend to post that blog, but earlier today I came across an old writing that I never published. On Saturday I begin my 2014 season in Budapest, the same place where my 2013 season and Senior competition started.
The piece I came across earlier today was from my time at my first ever Pentathlon, Junior World Championships in September 2012. As I start my second season in the Senior Circuit, and to be honest, my second season in Pentathlon I think there is no better time to publish my first ever Pentathlon experience than now.
I hope you enjoy it, and my next blog will be up soon, hopefully just before Hungary with another to follow after.
P.S I’m back from the wilderness :)
My First Pentathlon Experience (September 2012)
One year ago I had never held a pistol or èpèe, now I was in Drzonkòw, Poland representing my country in Modern Pentathlon! We arrived in Poland on Monday settled in to our room and went for dinner. Unfortunately, dinner was more like lunch and lunch was more like dinner, so after a day of travel we were treated to some ham and cheese sandwiches! (At least I think it was ham).
After dinner we received some disappointing news, there were more entries than expected for the men’s relay and there were not enough horses to accommodate all teams. With 18 teams accepted we were first reserve, although two of the teams had yet to receive their luggage with 12 hours left until the competition began, so we still had some hope that we would compete! It was tough to maintain the belief that we would be competing whilst knowing that when we wake up in the morning we could be let down. We set off back to the room to get everything ready, for me that involved shaving down! Coming from a swimming background this shouldn’t be a problem, get it over with quickly, and be finished in 20 minutes. It didn’t turn out that way! Arthur, who was travelling out the following day, had the razors we bought in his bag. So, I borrowed a BIC disposable from Tom, one disposable razor for my whole body. The next half hour involved a lot of shouting and a few curses from the bathroom, with Tom replying, “Is everything alright?”, I replied yes but by the end of it I had more than a few cuts on my legs with tissue patched all over them to stop the bleeding. Good start so far, Conor!
The next morning we didn’t get in to the relay as all of the teams had received their luggage. We had a good day of training, a short swim, run and shoot, then relaxed and watched the men’s relay competition. Wednesday we had a light session ad relaxed.
Thursday, the Men’s qualifying had finally arrived!! It was an early start as I was in group A with Conor Ledingham. We started with fencing and 7.30am warm up. I was excited! But also a little worried about whether I’d get a hit or not! Luckily I got a hit in my first bout and Conor followed me with a hit in his next bout, now we could relax and enjoy it! The fencing was a lot of fun, I went in to it with no expectations and thoroughly enjoyed every bout, win or lose. At the end of the fence I was a little disappointed not to have a got a few more hits but it was a good start and gave me plenty of motivation for the swim.
Although swimming is my background, I knew the 200 free was going to be tough! It had been about 5 years since my last 200 free so I was going to be a bit rusty! I started well I the first 100 but my second 100 was 10 seconds slower, which left me a long way off my PB! It was a really disappointing swim for me but I also had a few positives to take from it.
Next, the combined! I had so many thoughts going through my head, the main one was trying to be positive about the shoot, I was really hoping not to time out. My first shoot started poorly but I was determined not to time out and I finally got 5 lights, and was on my way! My second shoot was faster, my third and final shoot I completed in 29 seconds! If only my other two could have been a bit more like that. The support around the combined was incredible, fans along the side including my teammates were pushing me on and it made it a little bit easier, but it was still very hard!!
Finals & Arthur
That was it my first pentathlon, finished in a matter of hours. The following day was the women’s final, we got up early and watched the fencing and the rest of the events until it was time for Tom and I to get our lift to the airport. We wished we were able to stay until the following night to see Arthur compete in the final, we knew he could do really well. It would have been great to be there and see Arthur get his, and Ireland’s, first international medal in Modern Pentathlon as he placed third in the men’s event!
Unbelievable! I followed it all day on the internet and was delighted for him.
Overall I had a great experience at Junior Worlds. I learnt a lot from my first pentathlon and from all of the other competitors. I may have taken a bit of a beating but I have a lot of positives to take from the competition and I am happy with how it went. I can’t wait now to train hard and to keep improving.
Looking back on this, it’s amazing for me to see how far I have come and how much I can continue to improve. I’m excited for how much I can build upon in 2014 and the levels I hope to reach in the future. My next blog will be on mentality and ups and downs as it has played a huge role in my January training.