It’s the 27th December, and I’m on my way back to Bath for training after Christmas at home on the Isle of Wight. Most people pity me, ‘only’ having four days off for Christmas, having to travel back the day after Boxing Day when most are still nursing their well-earned food coma. I’m actually not fussed. I had a lovely Christmas; four jam-packed days of family, food friends and presents! And I’m ready to get back into a routine and back on ice for the remainder of the 2017-18 season (Olympics anyone!??).
This time last year was a slightly different story, I wasn’t really looking forward to getting back out on ice. My results had been less than inspiring and at times I questioned whether the sport was for me. Fast forward to this season and although I had a super tough time in Whistler (there is an unpublished blog on this) I’ve also finished top 3 in the GB selection, moved onto a new race circuit and had four podium finishes in Calgary and La Plagne. I am heading back to St. Moritz and Altenberg for the remaining races of the season, the tracks that I had my first tastes of success on in the sport. I feel optimistic and am looking forward to getting back on my sled and seeing everyone again.
It is the time of year for reflection and goal setting. I’ve spent most of the train journey doing this (as well as being kicked in the shins by a 5-year-old sitting opposite me!). I really love setting goals for myself; it keeps me focussed and stops any stagnation. Whilst in some ways my life has gone backwards since going full-time in skeleton e.g. quitting work as an exercise physiologist, being a nomad for six months of the year, it has also given me so many opportunities e.g. travel, self-development and business experience. I always like to think that athlete is only part of my person and identity. I probably take having ‘other’ things going on too far at times but to be honest I like to challenge myself on and off the track, and I want this experience to bring me more than just medals athletic success.
I am in Europe for the remainder of this skeleton season, racing in Switzerland, Germany and Austria. I’ve then got my best friends hen do at the end of January before spending February training on ice in Europe. Over the summer, I was selected onto the Olympic long list; a list of athletes eligible for selection for the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang in February 2018. This was one hell of an achievement in its own right in my opinion having completed just one season of racing. Because of this, the question I have been fielding all Christmas is the BIG one “will you be racing in the Olympics?”. It’s a question that as soon as you do any sport to a high level you get asked on the regular. Many people (at no fault of their own) do not realise how bloody difficult qualifying for an Olympics is (in any sport).
Anyway, the answer to that question is ‘probably not’. And that’s okay. As it stands GB have got two spaces for women’s skeleton at Pyeongchang. I am not ranked GB first or second so it stands to logic that I won’t get selected; and rightfully so. Of course, you never know what will happen but realistically I’ll be watching and cheering on GB along with everyone else! I’ll just be that little bit more invested as I cheer on my teammates to (hopefully) gold!