When you post a blog that gives advice to people on how to act in difficult situations, always double check you are prepared to take your own advice!
I’ve been pretty silent on my blog in 2015. I was struggling with sessions in March, and then in April, I received the devastating news that I had a prolapsed disc and would not be able to run for the foreseeable future. I had to make an early exit from the spring training camp in sunny Florida, returned home to an empty house and proceeded to sulk for the next 3 weeks while nursing my back. I was angry things weren’t going according to my perfect plan.
And then a vague memory about a blog I wrote on my 30th birthday came to mind: Things I would tell my 20 year old athlete self. Point number four read like this: Make up a list now of all the things you will do when you get injured: new skills you would like to learn, classes you would like to take, internships that interest you. Notice I said when you get injured, not if. You are not special; it happens to everyone. It’s far better to use your time productively instead of moping.
Ouch. Reading it was like being slapped in the face. But it was a great reminder as to why it is important to do the heavy thinking in advance – it is too hard in tough times because emotions can make things cloudy and limit your perspective.
So, I picked an end date for my pity party, attacked my rehab program with 100% commitment, and decided what I wanted to do with this new block of time I now had for the summer. In fact, it has been an awesome summer! I interned as a BBC sports reporter, I competed in my first open water swim race, I auditioned as a weather girl, I was able to say YES to hanging out with friends and family, I developed a love for hiking (climbing Kilimanjaro is now top of my list post Rio 2016!), and I will be walking the catwalk for London Fashion Week!!!! To top it all off, I actually had a good time rehabbing my back and I am so thankful to the British Athletics staff who worked incredibly hard to keep me fit and motivated.
I am positive things will go off course between now and Rio, and I will once again have to re-adjust my plans. Knowing myself, I will have to relearn this lesson again, and again, and again. But hopefully, with two blogs now on record, my learning curve will improve!