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JUNE 2008

I can't believe it's June already. When we first began the programme back in September selection seemed ages away but now as I write this I am only three weeks away from finding out my destiny; of whether I will become an Olympian or not!!

I'm not sure whether it's a good thing or not but am sure this month is going to fly by as we are now into a phase of playing competitive games and will travel to both Ireland and Holland this month. I must say I'm looking forward to getting to play some more International games and it's more exciting for me as I've never played the likes of Germany, Holland and India before so it will be a good challenge.

Today myself and my Scottish team-mate, Laura, travelled to West Midlands Safari Park to meet with two other girls off the team to do a photo shoot and some interviews in order to gain some publicity for hockey. They called it British lionesses because we spent the morning with baby lions. We had to hold them whilst having pictures taken. No one had ever been allowed to do this with the baby lions before who were only six weeks old but already frightening enough for a scaredy cat like myself. They were really cute though and even I managed to not be too frightened by the end of the day.

The lions were pretty heavy but i was a little disturbed to find that my arms were shaking whilst holding them but think this was more due to the heavy weights session we had done prior to this photo shoot. Regardless of fun we were having it was all over within two hours as we had to return to Bisham to do a heavy off feet session. This time we wore our waterproof jackets and leggings to try and allow our body to get used to sweating whilst we hammered ourselves on the x trainer and bike. Wouldn't recommend this unless it was a necessity like with us, not sure what other members in the gym thought of what we were doing

I didn't have any access to the internet whilst I was in Ireland for the Setanta Trophy so am going to have to fill you in now. Maybe it's a change to start at the end and work my way back. We won Gold!! Yup i returned with a gold medal after defeating Germany 4-1 in the final. A pretty good win but know it's not likely to go to our heads as every team is still keeping their cards close to their chest and are not wanting to show everything until the Olympic Games.

It was a good week though and we managed to play at times some good hockey. We beat South Africa and Ireland despite losing our first game to Germany 2-1 but that was enough for us to get into the final against Germany. It was all televised on Setanta Sports which was great for my mum and dad who got to watch back home. I'm starting to feel a lot better about playing in the system and while it's taken a little longer to get into the kind of hockey I know I can play I finally started to feel like i'm getting in the groove again. Not only was it nice to get a win in the final on Sunday but it was nice to get a goal for my dad on Father's day.

Home again now and selection is tomorrow. It's the weirdest feeling; that as of tomorrow I will know whether I will become an Olympian or not. I can only trust that I've done everything I can and if it's meant to be it will be but I'll openly admit to you now that if I don't get selected I will be devastated.

I DID IT!! I'M GOING TO THE OLYMPICS!! I can't believe it... I am so happy. It was the weirdest feeling this morning. We had agreed as a team for the Head coach to send us an email at 9am this morning. That way everyone would find out at the same time. It was probably a good decision because it meant that you could be wherever you wanted to be when you opened the email. Bizarrely I woke at 8.20am which was probably a good thing so I wasn't sat around worrying, I had done enough of that the night before hence the late wake that day.

I had a shower and got dressed although even that decision had proved a hard one this morning, I hadn't known what to wear even though it was only an email and no one was actually going to come tell me the news so it didn't matter how I looked. I had a shower and some cereal and already it was 8.54. I had never experienced the meaning of pacing the floor truly until this day. After brushing my teeth it was 8.59 and there I sat staring at a blank computer screen waiting for that email to pop up just as I imagine 24 other girls were doing.

It was pretty scary opening the email and I found myself searching quickly to find my name and there it was under the 16 athletes that would represent GB in the Beijing Olympics 2008. I then called my parents and my best friends however i had to be at Physio for 9.15 so the first person I actually saw was my Physio. I then had a weights session but afterwards went for lunch with a team-mate to celebrate.

We are off to Holland next week to play against South Africa, India and Holland in a four nations tournament at Rotterdam, where I play my club hockey so that should be fun. More so as the men's Champions Trophy is on at the same time so hopefully we will get to watch some of those games. I won't have email access again whilst I'm away but I will be sure to update you in my blog in July.

MAY 2008

So i'm at home in Hurley again now after being in Holland for playoffs. It was really nice to see my team and enjoy the experience of playing playoffs but unfortunately we lost to Amsterdam. They went through to the final losing out to Den Bosch who became eventual National Champions for like the 8th/9th year in a row.. unbelievable record.

Back to trainings with the Team again and it looks like it's going to be a tough month. We get to play Argentina early on this month which will be great but unfortunately we will be missing 4 of our key players as they have been released to go and play for their club in the European club championship.

This last week has been a heavy week of training moreso after having played a game in Holland on the weekend. We are currently doing 3 weights sessions a week and as i've said before you're body definitely notices it. We went into camp on Sunday where we trained and played two tests against Argentina. We lost narrowly in the first test 3-2 against a full strength Argentinian side. We were 2-2 until 2 minutes to go when Garcia (renowned striker in the hockey world) made it 3-2 to them. However in the second test we came back to win 4-2. A pretty solid performance against a team who boast some of the most skilful players in the world.

No rest day following the camp so we were all pretty tired doing weights 9am the next morning moreso as we hadn't played the game until 7.30pm the following evening. I'm the kind of person who's head is still buzzing after a game and so i find it hard to sleep.

Fitness testing however is next week and as a result of some hard training in preparation for that i've got a free weekend so i'm going to make the most of it and drive home to Wales to see some family and friends and get a short escape from hockey so i'm ready to go again on Monday.

It's Saturday evening and i've got fitness testing tomorrow afternoon. Normally we have an early start with camp and get it over with but for some reason we are starting later and won't be doing fitness testing until 5pm in the afternoon. Nobody likes doing it and can't say its one of the nicest things you have to do as a full time athlete but all the same it has to be done and i just have to trust that all the hard work i've put in is going to pay off. That's all left to do now is get a good carbohydrate meal, probably my favourite chicken and noodles and a good sleep.

A big sigh of relief.. fitness testing is done and went well overall and have completed my last training week in may. It's been a tough month with lots of hard running sessions in the heat and because it was an acclimatization phase we've been wearing long sleeves and leggings which has definitely made it harder. However June is in sight and we get into a phase of playing games against quality opposition and so i'm really looking forward to that and more importantly selection!!!

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