New date: July 23 2021.
I was getting ready and feeling so excited to represent Australia at a 3rd Olympics, but while it was disappointing to realise the Games wouldn't take place this year, it’s the best for the health and safety of everyone and there are more important things than sport right now - even if for us it’s our whole world that is turned upside down.
For me, the dream is still alive, it’s just been delayed a little and that’s okay. I feel this way now, maybe in July I’ll be struggling a lot more… but I’ll do my best to do what I can with what I have and be grateful, optimistic and stay healthy and focussed with some other goals. It’s an extra 420 days to get better :)
The last 2-and-a-bit months have been so different. I should have travelled to Tokyo twice and Europe once already for some training camps and competitions. I keep getting calendar notifications reminding me of where I was meant to be and what I was meant to be doing!
Instead, I’ve been home, spending time with my family, playing cards, learning my grandma’s recipes, reading books, trying to learn other skills and doing lots of zoom interviews. Since we can’t travel this year, we are also fostering a greyhound which has brought us a lot of joy and is a great thing to do for her to be socialised and transition from racing to family life and hopefully be adopted. Greyhounds are so weird and wonderful - I recommend.
For that eight-week strict isolation period, I stayed fit and active doing what I can at home, or close to home. This has and still includes flatwater sprint boat paddling, slalom drills on the flatwater or in my pool, and gym workouts at home. Paddle Australia and NSWIS have leant me some gym equipment so I’ve been able to do some solid sessions in the backyard under the watchful eye of Pink the greyhound and Mamie (Nan in French), who has never seen us in ‘training mode’, only around competitions! We even got her doing yoga with us, and walking 3km a day. She inspires us a lot!
Recently, we have been able to get back on the whitewater for two sessions a week, as the restrictions start to relax and some things return to (closer to) normal functioning. This is our new normal - We get our temperature checked on arrival, we maintain social distancing, we get changed at our cars not the changerooms, we have had to fill in a daily symptom check for the last month and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.
There are no competitions in the next few months, but we are waiting to hear on whether there may be some in October and November in Europe, but for now training is about enjoyment and the process of skill execution and learning as opposed to specific race preparation.
It was so wonderful to be back paddling on the whitewater, the joy and excitement of seeing an old friend! The days are getting cooler and I am bracing myself for the longest winter period I’ve ever had in Australia!
While it’s frustrating that we won’t be travelling, we can’t train as normal and I know that other athletes overseas can depending on the country, I can find other things to do that might give me a 1% edge and I find motivation in working on other areas e.g. mental skills, , flexibility, gym, fitness, study, baking….
Who knows how long this will go for, it’ll be the longest time I won’t have competed since I was probably 12! World Cup #1 in Ivrea, Italy was meant to be starting next week… I will miss that startline feeling but I’ll do what I can to be ready whenever we get to strap on the helmet and line up again.