21st September 2015 –
Another season to add to my career log and a World Championships bronze medal to add to my haul, for that, I cannot complain and I am very grateful.
I knew 2015 would be a big year; a year out from the Olympics (how time really flies!) and once again entering the World Championships as defending champion has it’s own set of challenges. I had planned every excruciating detail for the season. As the saying goes – “Man makes plans and God laughs”.
The theme of ‘nothing going to plan’ followed me throughout the season. During the year, I remember complaining numerous times that ‘this doesn’t get any easier!’ I truly meant it, despite having been in preparation for many championships and three Olympic Games, everything felt just as tough and the stakes get higher.
I didn’t have the most comfortable build-up into the champs, but I am sure that is probably the same for many other athletes, despite what went on throughout the year, you need to press on. I started the season slowly by my standards but knew that it was only a matter of time before all the hard work I’d done over the winter months would start to come through in my races. Unfortunately this didn’t happen as I picked up a quad injury in June just as things were starting to come together. The actual injury wasn’t that bad, it was the timing; injury in the middle of the season is an athlete’s worst nightmare! Every day counted and I needed to tread carefully but persistently to get back up and running, literally.
It’s not easy to not have any doubts and to wonder if you are ready enough, but one of the phrases that I repeated many times to myself was that: the show must go on! For me, I had to jump off the ledge knowing full well that there may not be a soft landing, but not care too much about it. Confidence in my preparation was all I needed to take me to Beijing and to defend my title.
Fast forward – Women’s 400m Final, Beijing
Finishing 8th in the World Championships final had a very mixed reaction for me and there are always an array of emotions that follow a big defeat. On one hand, I made the final, not always an easy undertaking particularly in the 400m. No matter how many finals you make it to, it is never guaranteed you will be in the final line up. On the other hand, I had lost my title, was unable to defend it and I felt like I failed in my task. That is not to take anything away from my fellow finalists who all, I have to say, ran brilliantly. I had to concede that I just had a very bad day at the office! After wining my heat and semi feeling great I went into the final aiming to win. I didn’t run just to get a medal. In the end my gamble failed and I came away with nothing. Many were surprised as I am known for getting the right result at the right time, yet this year it went horribly wrong. As someone commented to me, it shows that I am mortal!
Rio 2016 is going to be a very special Olympics, as it’s going to be my last Olympics, and its only 47 weeks away! 47 weeks of sweat and pain, as I work towards my fourth Olympic Games. A thrilling but daunting thought. But first I will focus on my break where I can enjoy eating all the foods that are barred during the season. I will get back on the grind when I return.
And so the chase continues…