Shrewsbury School

A short Week in the Life of Seb Blake (S UVI)

Monday 7 January 2013

Seb Blake, Senior Whip for The Hunt, was asked to write up the RSSH Pre-Season training in Lanzarote just before the beginning of term.

Paperchase winners December 2012: Seb Blake, Ed Mallett, Rory FraserThursday 3rd January 2013

After camping out at Birmingham Airport, waiting for the team to arrive following on from a late flight the night/morning before, my first contact of a fellow Salopian was the sighting of teammate RICF indulging in a modest lunch of belini topped with caviar. Together we then found the rest of the Hunt, whilst OJC managed to lose his boarding card and passport mere moments after receiving it. To put things in perspective, this was not the start of an ordinary school week at Shrewsbury, but the start of the Hunt training camp to Lanzarote. The flight out was cursed due to its great length while still being classified as short haul; therefore no in-seat TVs were to be seen, despite the many hours spent on board.
Upon arrival at Club La Santa, we were greeted by a Moroccan style Olympic Village, with spandex and trackie clad athletes being our new neighbours. (Sadly... limited amounts of Kukri kit was to be seen). Despite their youthful appearance, they did not seem to approve of the muffled tunes of DJ Clarke's music coming from the Huntsman and Senior Whips' room, resulting in the first complaint of the trip.

Friday 4th January

The first run started at 8 am. However, some runners had already undertaken a hill workout at school before heading to the airport. Interestingly, upon sighting the hill in question Freddie Hill Esq. promptly threw up. This could have been due to a number of reasons: ranging from a lack of promised training over the winter break, an evening out the night before, or the story he spun about a recent full English breakfast, although this seems significantly less likely.

Back to the first run of the trip; although intended to be a light 10km to get everyone up to speed, it resulted with the last few kilometres turning into a typical Hunt "Run In" at full pelt as the competitive spirit overwhelmed everyone. After breakfast IPH and PJM gave us the freedom to do as we wished. This time therefore, was usefully invested in improving the beach volleyball skills of the team; a sport that school does not yet offer, but I can safely conclude that neither of the school's first pair would originate from the infamously uncoordinated Hunt team.

The afternoon run was on the track and involved a pyramid session; which as the name indicates involves progressively longer efforts before reducing back to the shorter, faster sprints. The team managed to survive this, despite running on a painfully firm Spanish track. Hence afterwards an ice bath equivalent was required to ease the pain experienced by everybody’s legs, with the outside-unheated pool providing the venue. After finding the adult's pool too cold, we practised our improving volleyball skills in the waters of the children’s pool. Before being forcibly ejected by an angry, non-English speaking security guard.

Training - with IPHSaturday 5th January

Fortunately today was not started with a morning run so a lie in was in order before an unusual event occurred, this being runners working out in a gym. Naturally the weights had to be reduced considerably from their former levels to ensure stamina rather than strength much to the relief of Angus Heyward who found his upper body strength letting him down... Following this to loosen off we headed to the to the 50m pool where sadly many found themself considerably out of their depth resulting in an exceedingly low average number of lengths swam by the team.

As might be expected IPH and PJM's decision of to have a lighter morning was not entirely with our best interests at heart. Instead the aim was to allow sufficient recovery to participate in a 10k road race that took place to the nearest village and back. PJM was disappointed to be beaten by Huntsman Ed Mallett despite tactically sitting out the previous day's track workout to ensure he was suitably rested. Otto Clarke, Angus Hayward and Tim Atkins came first, second and third respectively in the 5k race – a truly unbelievable result considering the stiff competition from women and children.

In the evening the team, after a series of decisive pool victories to PJM's team which confirmed the many hours spent alone in Rigg's Hall practising during the holidays, we ended up participating in a Karaoke aided by Dutch courage, the hunt budget clearly having no limits. The only notable rising star to report was that of Tim Atkins in his rendition of superstitious, although the barmaid did later turn him down in his offer of a duet.

Sunday 6th January

Another loosening run took place in the morning but the strain of the camp was clearly evident with the pace dropping severely and many not making it to the third lap of site. The morning then followed with a highlight of the 5 aside football match. This was always going to be interesting due to the abilities ranging from 1st XI standard at the top end down to occasional 2nd league players at the other.

Following on from this the team relocated to a private room with curtains drawn in order to talk over and plan the up and coming season. The primary aim that has been set for 2013 is to regain for the fist time in fifteen years the National Coventry Relays. Further details are unfortunately not available in the public domain.

The last workout of the trip took place again on the track and took the form of 8x600m. Tim's singing had clearly worn him out and he had to drop out after one and it was a very small group that managed to finish all eight.

In conclusion, the total mileage was 47km with an average of over 15 per day, not to mention the biathlon element of the mighty 200m swim and the athletic 5-aside football match. Sporting wise our biggest improvements where made on the volleyball court but the running training that was completed on the trip put us in good stead for the National Knole run on Saturday.

Track session, Seb on the Left

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