Back on the sled

The start!

As always, it’s been a while! I am currently in Whistler, the venue for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics where I am racing in a week or so! It’ll be my first Inter-Continental cup (ICC) race, and it’s over my birthday.

Let’s rewind though. Because I only just recently got back on ice in the first place. I left Bath for Lillehammer, Norway on the 1st October. Winter was here! With approximately 100 kg of kit and luggage all painstakingly packed to the last gram it was time for pre-season. Not having a sliding track of our own us GB athletes have sort of adopted Lillehammer as the next best thing! It was my first ever track, and although it has caused me issues in the past it is now a firm favourite; mainly thanks to a decent pre-season the year before.

Full moon for day (night) one!

I had some equipment issues the first couple of days, issues that didn’t resolve until the few hours prior to the first training session. I chose to start my season from a lower start (actually where I took my first EVER slides from two years ago) to ease myself back in to sliding. This was a good call as I was every so slightly stressed by the time all the issues had been resolved, plus the session was at 10:45pm! A time most of us are usually tucked up in bed.

Team photos!

The first couple of days are always a bit nervy and you have to be patient whilst your body and mind remember the sport and connect with the ice. There is nothing quite like sliding and we have a long break from it during the summer so its takes a little bit of getting used to again. Not to mention how sore your neck is from the G force that first week!

Time goes pretty fast when you’re away as there is a lot to get done. This was a big camp too, the whole British Skeleton programme plus staff. Days tended to involve pre-sliding mobility (I’d come away not 100% and needed to look after my body), sliding (takes 2-3 hours), video, gym, sled work and of course not forgetting meals and recovery. Before you know it it can be 8/9 pm and you want to start winding down for bed. Anyway this meant that before we knew it OT1 (official training) for our selection race was upon us. We’d had one day off sliding since starting so it was pretty intense.

On my way to a push PB 🙂

The selection race determines which race circuits the athletes who are eligible to race go on. So it is pretty important, especially in an Olympic year. We raced over four runs like an Olympics. For me, day 1 started well and ended badly. I dropped two places after the second run – the track had slowed down a lot and it didn’t suit me/I didn’t adapt. I was gutted; but fortunately had another two runs to fight for my position.

I started the next day with a PB! I was back into 3rd and pleased with my run. All I needed to do was repeat. My fourth run wasn’t a bad one but nor was it as fast as my first that day; and it was only enough to hold 3rd rather than climb any spots. I was happy; last year I finished 4th so I’d climbed and done enough to qualify onto the ICC; moving up from Europa cup which I competed on the year before. This had been my goal since January – a new years resolution of sorts, so to achieve it was great!

The result was bittersweet though. Placing third meant I did not get selected to go to PyeongChang for the Olympic track training week. I needed to have finished higher to get selected. I think 0.2 s separated 2nd and 3rd, much less than the deficit I had after that damn second run on day 1! But of course, that is elite sport and skeleton; which often comes down to hundredths over four runs not just tenths.

So my plans remained the same, maybe a blessing in disguise. I am able to be in Whistler preparing to race and hit my targets for this year rather than trekking across the globe and adding another new track into the mix. I am yet to get on my sled here in Whistler, but I am dying to do so. The track is famous for its high speeds and I quite fancy a new speed PB!

Watch this space 🙂

I’ll also be posting a lot of pictures (mainly of trees) on social. Follow me on Twitter, Insta or Facebook for frequent updates as I slide around the world!

Insta gold!

Team Selection!

Racing is over and the teams for this years international race circuits have been made. I am excited to announce I will be competing on the Inter-Continental Cup this year with races in Whistler, Calgary, St. Moritz and Altenberg. I was 3rd overall in the 4 run selection race in Lillehammer, setting a new downtime PB of 53.77s and a push PB of 5.17s. I also got 121.7 kph out of my new runners! So thanks to all you lovely people that supported me via Pledge Sports and also my sponsors CS Utility Contractors and SWR Waste Management; without you I’d be going nowhere fast!

The selection race was close this year and although disappointed to have missed out on selection for the Pyeongchang international training week I am thrilled to be stepping up onto a new circuit for 2017-18 into Olympic year. Big thanks also to the IOW Talented Athlete Scheme for supporting me and of course the National Lottery and our NGB The BBSA and sponsors for allowing me to live this dream!

Next stop is Whistler, the fastest track in the world!

For full BBSA press release click here. For IBSF race calendar click here.

Pledge Sports: Crowdfunding For the Winter Olympics

You probably know that I have used crowdfunding as a means to support myself as I work towards competing (I hope) at a Winter Olympics. I have raised £4395 using Pledge Sports as my platform.

Read about other Winter Sport athletes that are crowdfunding here.Be sure to get in touch with Pledge Sports if this is something you’re interested in doing!

Goals Grid Check In (part 2)

Continuing on from part one. I reviewed the rest of my goals for 2017!

Create a vlog. So not actual vlog yet. But I have been warming up with Instagram stories which I like. More to come; I’m still getting used to chatting to my phone in the street! I’ll aim for my first actual vlog before October and hopefully I can continue over next season to give an insight into skeleton life. Check them out, I’m @kimberleymurray88

Improve money management. I don’t know about this one. Poor goal setting really; I haven’t yet made this one a SMART goal. In general, (and in my opinion), my money management has improved hugely since going full-time with skeleton aka living off a very small amount of money. Funny that. James would probably disagree; he says I am rubbish with money but he’s exceptionally good and Scottish so spending the minimum comes naturally to him!

Learn about business. This one is in motion. I am browsing courses to take to help educate me and have a meeting with a family friend who will help me with some basics. I am excited to learn more and have more confidence!

Listen to a podcast/TED talk once a week. Yay another green. I have upped my podcast game this year; I love them. My tastes range from ‘my dad wrote a porno’ to ‘the science of social media’ to ‘desert island discs’ to ‘the Tim Ferriss show’. They are the reason I have ran out of mobile data this month. And if you need a laugh please listen to my dad wrote a porno; it is laugh out loud funny.

Make time for friends and family. A bit of yes and a bit of no; hence the amber. Not having a base in Bath over winter has meant I have been home (Isle of Wight) a lot more than normal meaning I have could see friends and family more than usual. The stop overs are usually brief but better than nothing! For non-Island friends and James however it has been the opposite as I haven’t had time or money to travel to see them when I have been in the UK. You guys are on my list for summer!!

My littlest brothers!

Embrace vulnerability. I’ve left this one to last. That is probably pretty telling! It is the most personal goal I set, hence why I am struggling to express my progress on it. In a skeleton sense I have embraced being vulnerable; I dealt with two new tracks in January, one of them notoriously difficult and had success. I also wanted to be less afraid to express myself, speak up, be the center of attention. I don’t think this has moved much since January but there are nine more months of 2017 so I am not feeling too disheartened.

Organise James 30th. I’m not going to lie; I am feeling pretty smug about this one. But it’s a surprise so I shall say no more!

Successful surprise trip to Vienna!

Simplify training/work balance. This one has been a challenge. I mean, I have simplified things so far as whilst I was away I did very little work! This was not quite what I intended when setting this goal though as I need to work to earn money! I want to earn the income I need from tutoring and personal training this summer; rather than supervising in the gym or waitressing. This will save me time and earn me more money. I am aiming to have set days of work and rest too; we will see how it all pans out.

Practice kindness and patience. I don’t know how to assess this one. This was supposed to be about empathy and letting people do things in their own time not my time. As I get older (it pains me to say that) I find that I am much more patient and tolerant; experience is teaching me that there is more than one way to live a life. Specifically, since January I don’t know. I waited patiently for some good results in skeleton and I can be patient with relationships. Tbc.

So there we go. Of 18 goals, I have 9 amber, 5 red and 6 green. Why not return to the goals you set for yourself in January? If some have fallen by the wayside, try again. It is not too late. I’ll be working on mine all of 2017!

Goals Grid Check In (part 1)

April is here! That means three, yes THREE months of 2017 have passed us already. I don’t know about you but I don’t know where the time has gone. Anyway, it’s been a little while since I blogged (as per these days) so I thought I’d review my goals so far for this month’s blog post.

Excuses up first! I spent January in Switzerland and Germany, and then February in Bath with concussion and March half in Canada, half in Bath. So; some things got neglected as life took over, cause skeleton means life in subject to change. But I think I’m doing okay. So let’s review…

Do more Headspace. I don’t know about ‘more’ but I am pretty religious with Headspace, especially when I am away. The challenge with this one will come over summer once James moves to Bath. I’d like to include some Headspace into my daily routine not just my bedtime routine as this way I’ll listen to it all rather than falling asleep. As summer is approaching and with that the pressure to earn money and attract sponsors I am finding it more challenging to be mindful. So this is still a work in progress.

Do less living out of a bag. Complete and utter fail. Since the 1st January I have lived out of the same two suitcases and have spent probably five days maximum at home. That WILL change come May 1st thought when I move back to Bath full-time. Also, I plan to have a permanent home in Bath next winter so living out of suitcases will only occur when I am away training. This one is on track.

Travel to anywhere with my skeleton kit. I have been to Malta and Vienna this month without my kit, a racesuit, a sled or a helmet! Joys!

The Blue Lagoon, Malta

Be more present in people’s lives. Since the 1st January I’ve missed birthdays and mothers day (although I did make Valentine’s day), and generally been pretty unavailable in ‘real life’. Some of this is out of my control; I don’t make my training schedule, nor is it negotiable. However, I made the goal with the intention that even if I was out of the country I’d still be a good friend, daughter, granddaughter etc. My communication hasn’t been as good as it should be, but I haven’t missed a birthday card. I do owe my brother an 18th birthday present though! This is the one aspect of skeleton I struggle with the most. The ability to be present in both worlds; skeleton and home.

Achieve podium finish in 2017. Yay a happier one to review! made the podium in all three of my races in 2017. When I set this goal, I thought this one would be achieved next season (October-December 2017), so to have achieved it three times by the end of January is amazing!

EC podium in Altenberg!

Publish a blog once a month. I published twice in January, once in February and didn’t in March! Ooops. Well at least I’ll have one in April. I have big summer plans for the blog; both for kimberleymurray.com and my personal training site thekimfitway.com. I’m going to get my blogging mojo back!

Gain 1000 KimFit followers. So, I have a confession. I didn’t take stock of how many I had come the 1st January… so I just checked and for the record I have 160 IG, 453 Twitter and 6 YouTube! A lot of work to be done. Again, summer is when I am most productive so I’ll have to get on it!

Eliminate pointless time on phone. Another red. I think this has actually gotten worse. Like I said before with Headspace I am struggling to stay in the present at the moment because I have so much I want to achieve before October. I know that seems a long time away but summer goes so fast. Anyway obviously spending pointless time on my phone makes the problem worse but it is my go to for procrastinating because I do not know where to start! Must. Do. Better. I hope once I get home and settle I can get a routine and improve my productivity.

Attract a sponsor. I am in conversation with a couple of potential sponsors at the moment and am also pleased with the progress of my crowdfunding. This one is doing ok. Also I am 17% away from hitting my crowdfunding target! Check it out here: https://www.pledgesports.org/projects/headfirst-towards-beijing-2022-winter-olympics/

Halfway there! Let’s take a break, part two coming soon!

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