Dominic King's Blog

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Welcome to my Blog

Its been a long while coming but the wait is finally over. Welcome to my first ever blog! I Apologise if I ramble on for a bit as it may take me a while to update you on all the things I have been up to over the last few months and get used to blogging!
So the aim of this blog is to inform you of what I have been upto in 2009 and where I am going both in and outside of my sport.

What Sport do you do?

I participate for Colchester Harriers Athletics Club and am also a member of the Great Britain and Northern Ireland Athletics Team for Race Walking. Race Walking is a discipline within Athletics and there are 2 events at the Summer Olympic Games. The Olympic Events are over 20km and 50km.
A little know fact... Great Britain Racewalkers have won more Olympic medals than any other individual Athletics event by a Britain!

How did you get into Race Walking?

Through my parents at a very young age I was involved in the local Athletics Club Colchester Joggers now called Colchester Harriers AC. After a number of years at trying all different events within Athletics and other sports such as Badminton, Cricket, Football, Swimming etc. I was introduced to the Race Walk by Jerry Everrett, a club coach at the Athletics Club (and my main coach for many years). Once a month the club would hold a club 2000m handicap race walk which involved members of the club walking around the track 5 times. The slowest walkers would go off first and the faster walkers would start later, resulting in most people finishing about the same time. At the age of about 11 I decided to give this a try and soon realised that I was pretty good at it. From this point onwards I worked more and more on race walking technique with the club coach and soon began to win local and county races. Within a few years of starting race walking I was selected to represent England as a youngster.
It was when I went to University in 2001 and started working with my current Coach (Andi Drake) that I started to make real improvements and focus more on my training.

Now that you know a little bit about myself and how I got into Race walking I will update you on what I have been upto this year.
Team Essex Ambassador Award

In December 2008 I was informed that I had been successful in receiving a grant from Essex County Council in return for me becoming a Team Essex Ambassador. This meant that I was invited to the Launch of the event at the House of Lords Early January. This was a fantastic experience to be acknowledged for the years of hard work put in by both myself and my support team. I was also honoured to be asked to talk on behalf of the 12 Ambassadors at the House of Lords about our aims for the year in return for the funding.



The Amabassador Award was awarded to 12 of Essex' top sportsmen and women who will potentially represent the County at the London 2012 Olympic Games. The main ambassadorial duty is to encourage people to get more involved in sport and healthy exercise by going into schools and attending workshops and explaining what got us involved in sport.



Ambassadorial Duties

Since receiving my Award, I have been involved in a number of visits to schools and community groups to help spread the positive message of sport.

One of my first tasks was to assist Essex County Council with their application for Beacon Status by appearing in a short film about the Essex Ambassador Award. I'm pleased to say that Essex County Council were successful in this application.
A clip of the video can be seen below.
video
Early in the year I was involved in a project called Upstarts. This involved attending a number of schools in Essex promoting the message that Healthy Eating and Exercise were important in the development of young people. I attended the Kings Road Primary School, Chelmsford and St. Peters School, Burnham on Crouch where Steve Cram officially launched the scheme.

In June, both myself and my twin brother (Daniel), were asked to attend Passmores Secondary School to launch Healthy Schools Week. Whilst there we spoke about our experiences during our school years and the various activities that we became involved in other than Athletics. We also spoke to the children about what it takes to be good at a sport and tried to encourage children to be more active. This was a really good experience for us as it was good to talk to the young people about what motivates them.
Towards the end of June both Daniel and myself were asked to run a Sports Day at one of our local Primary Schools. We visited Montgomery Infant School where we worked with Years 2&3 in creating their first ever Sports Day. Parents were invited and the weather was really warm.

The day was really good and encouraged lots of young children to participate in healthy exercise.



Recently I attended the Opening of the newly refurbished Braintree BMX race track with Lord Sebastian Coe, Daniel and Russell Hampton (Another Essex Ambassador). This was good to see lots of young BMX riders having a go on the new track and going super fast over the jumps. I prefered just to watch on that occassion!











On Sunday I was asked to be the lead runner for the Cancer Research Race for Life. This was held at the University of Essex and involved over 2000 women racing over 5km. This is something I have volunteered to do for the last couple of years. It's always a great feeling knowing that people are raising money for such a great cause. Also it is nice to know that you have over 2000 women chasing after you! :-)







The winning time was 20:46min, not bad considering the course was pretty hilly!



So now I have brought you up to date with my Ambassadorial duties so far.


Competitions

This year has been another stepping stone of a year. There have been some highs and some real lows in terms of my competitions this year.


My season started exceptionally well with a good performance in the London 10km Walk (43.59, Feb). This was followed up with another great walk for England in the Lugano 20km walk (Mar). I recorded a time of 1hr 28mins and 33 secs which was my fastest time for nearly 5 years and my best start to a season. This also put me top of the UK 20km rankings.


Unfortunately after my awesome start things soon changed and I experienced a mix of bad fortune and bad planning.


I competed in a 20km race in Dudince (Mar) where I set my 50km Personal Best Time in 2008 (4hr 16mins and 19sec). Unfortunately the conditions were very humid, so much my number fell off after the first lap. Times were awful and I felt very light headed. I decided to stop at 10km with the view that times were not going to be good and there was no point making myself feel worse.


So I moved on and was fortunate enough to be selected for Great Britain in the European Cup for Race Walking (May). My selected event was the 50km walk. I spent a long time preparing for this race focussing on diet, and tapering my training in preparation for the race.


I knew going into this race that this was my only real attempt to qualify for the World Athletics Championship in Berlin in August. This is mainly because there are not many 50km walk that you can qualify in and also the fact that 32 miles of walking takes it toll on the body, hence on 2 or 3 events a year.


I started my race bang on schedule passing through the first 5km exactly as planned. Everything was going well and then all of a sudden I had picked up 2 warnings from judges at 8km. This must have been a momentary lapse in concentration. I then knew that my odds on finishing the race were looking slim, needing to walk 42km (A Marathon!) without picking up any warnings. Anyway I continued and tried to put this out my mind. As I went past 10km ,15km, 20km, 25km, 30km all within pace I began to think that actually I might be able to finish this race and get a personal best. Oh how wrong I was, at 32km i received my dreaded 3rd warning from the judges and was then disqualified from the race. After walking for more than two and a half hours I had no energy to complain. Unfortunately that is racewalking and that is what makes it a hard sport to do!


It took me a little while to get over the dissappointment and realise that my dream of walking the 50km in the World Athletics Championships, Berlin in August was over.


Through discussions with my Coach and family we decided that it was important that we worked on correcting my technique in time for London 2012. This meant making a tough decision, compromising my race speed and starting from scratch with my technique.


I immediately began working with a guy called Raphael Rinaldi, who is a former Italian Race walking Champion and a qualified Physiotherapist, who works in London.


Over the last 6-8 weeks I have been working with Raph and there has been a notable improvement in technique. However it will take a while for the technique to develop with speed and I must resist the tendancy to push the speed at this moment in time.


Since working with Raph I have particpated in the Aviva National Championship 5km (July)in Manchester. Unfortunately I pushed the pace too much and resulted in being disqualified at around 3km. On a positive note, there were comments of much improved technique at the start of the race, I just got carried away with the moment and pushed the pace too much.


I have now decided to focus 100% on my technique and Strength & Conditioning to develop my technique towards the middle and end of races, which is where I have a tendancy to lose control.


My brother is now back training and things feel like they are turning around for the better.

Looking to the Future
Whilst this year has had its ups and downs, I still believe that I have learnt a lot and have moved on in my progression towards London 2012. I have started to build a solid team around me in the Colchester area and together using their expertise, we are working on ironing out the faults in my technique, diet and approach to races.
It is now that I have to say a big thank you to these people as without their support over the last few months, I would be stuck. I would also like to thank my Family as without there understanding and support none of this would be possible.
So a big thanks to...
Andi Drake - Head Coach
Raphael Rinaldi - Technical Coach and Physio
Steven Rudland - Sports Masseur
Dominic Micklewright - Sports Psychologist
Brian Hanley - Biomechanist
My Wife - Jenny
Mum & Dad - for all the years of support
Daniel - for being my training partner and without his support, I probably would have stopped a long time ago.

Now I am going to stop writing this blog as it is more like an autobiography! If you are still reading I will be sure to post shorter more positive blogs in the future!
Happy Training!
Dom