So the season officially ended for us last Saturday with our final regatta of the year. As I’d mentioned in my last blog, this was my ultimate chance to prove to the coaches that I was capable of delivering under pressure, and I could transfer what I’d been producing in training in a race.
Yet again I was reminded that this isn’t a fairly tale, and the nature of sport can be pretty harsh!
I produced an average performance, finishing 4th in my heat in a time of 56 seconds. This qualified me for the B final, where I again did a time of 56 secs. This is a mediocre time, nothing special, nothing horrendous…..but what it didn’t do was prove what I knew I was capable of. I’ve been delivering consistently times of 53/54 secs over the last few weeks, but I allowed myself to get distracted, and this showed in my race.
I’m more annoyed with myself than anything….this was my chance to show them what I can do and I messed up. I let myself down from a mental perspective, I failed to get focused before the race and this put me in a position that I was easily distracted in the race. Over 200m you just can’t afford to do that!
However, I’ve been able to reflect on my performance and I know it was yet another massive step in the learning curve. I will NEVER let that happen again, and I believe there is a lot of work I can do myself, with my coach and with our team psych to help me with this and make sure I don’t loose that focus when it comes to racing next year.
Unfortunately I didn’t do enough to leave the coaches with no questions about my potential for next year. I now have to wait until the formal reviews in October to find out their decision on my funding and whether I will go to the training camp in Brazil in January. Nothing like drawing out the agony!!!!
I see the Brazil training camp as a vital step in the preparation for Rio so I’m keeping every little bit of me crossed that they believe in me enough to take me along. However, if they don’t, it’s not the end of the world, and it’ll be time to pick myself up, brush myself down and keep fighting…..again!!
It’s less than 9 months now until the selection regatta that decides who will be in the boat that goes to Rio. As soon as we return to training on the 28th September it’s going to be full on, with every athlete on the squad having their focus on that regatta and the Paralympics 3 months later.
It makes my stomach churn when I think of what’s to come over the next few months….it’s exciting, but daunting at the same time.
I watched an incredible film at the weekend called “Unbroken”. It’s a true story about an Olympic athlete called Louis Zamperini that ends up fighting in World War 2. He gets captured by the Japanese Navy and is sent to a Prisoner of War camp. He endures some brutal treatment, but shows a remarkable strength of character and resilience to survive.
When he was an athlete, his brother said to him “If you can take it, you can make it” and it was these words that kept him going.
I had to have a little word with myself…..so no matter what happens in October, I will take their decision, and I will take whatever the next 9 months throws at me. If I can do that, train hard and stay focused, then I will give myself the very best chance of being the one that makes it!