Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Getting Back on That Horse of "Competition"...

In a few hours I will be leaving for Switzerland to compete in my first competition since winning gold at the Commonwealth Games last year in India. For several months I have been rehabbing a foot injury… one which has challenged me as an athlete, a person and yet, is positively shaping my life, daily.

I’ve chosen to use my blog to be open and honest about what I am currently going through.  It would be easy to hide behind a bravado of confidence but, that’s not me.  More importantly, I’ve often discussed how world class performance and injury are a fine line… well, here I am in the aftermath, sharing the realness of what it is I’m experiencing as I throw myself back into competition. 

In all honesty, my emotions have run the gamete from frustration to excitement.  Without going into the details of the injury and how it occurred, it is suffice to say that it was severe; and each time I now jump, I am facing my fear… literally.  (Perhaps at a later time I'll be willing to provide more detail, but at this point I do not wish to think about it.  It's a little too recent and scary.)

But, also each time I jump I am rebuilding my confidence.  This is an incredible experience.  My margin for error is now smaller and I must simultaneously trust my foot to be stable and explosive in my take-off… in an event where there is no room for doubt. 

How ironic that as PhD Candidate in Sports Psychology, I am now faced with this psychological challenge.  It’s a grinder and one that I will inevitably grow from as an athlete.  So, as I board my flight to Europe to do a series of competition, there is no question I am forcing myself to “get back on the horse.”  Any further delay in competing, I might have completely developed a fear of jumping.

I owe an incredible amount of gratitude to Mark Lindsay and my strength trainer Dave Harris who were prompt in their initial suggestions for treatment.  Additionally, I hold a lot of thanks to my medical team, including the many doctors who weighed in, Kate Fletcher (my physiotherapist) and of course God.

I hope my competitions in Europe result in some great performances.  Certainly, competing is a full emersion, and I am hopeful my natural instincts to compete will kick in.  But, I will also be pleased with certifying my confidence in my take-off foot once again.  I am just incredibly grateful and happy to be back on the track competing when it was only a short while ago I wondered if I would be able to ever jump again. 

Nicole