This year has been incredibly special. At the start of the summer I got to race at the Presidents cup in Krakow, winning a silver medal. Then I got to race my first EVER world cup, on the first slalom course EVER built at Augsburg Eiscanal - sorry if you read my latest blog post and this is old news! I then had a couple of weeks at home before driving out with the Scottish Slalom Squad for four weeks of training and racing.
Now it's often seen as a bit of a whinge to say I 'trained through' racing. When someone says that, it means they didn't taper. They didn't take a rest, or alter their sessions to the benefit of the race weekend. This means an athlete gets maximum 'water' time whilst abroad, rather than cutting sessions short to optimise their fitness for race performance.
Expectations have to be altered a little for this kind of situation. We raced at the Bratislava and Vienna Danube cups, and they were incredible events. The turnout of athletes and volunteers made the races worthy of a World Cup. It's difficult to have an entirely positive outlook on the results of the races, because I didn't make the final in either event, with a couple of mistakes pushing me back. But I was pleased with my style of paddling, and felt that my attitude on the water reflected the months of work I put in to developing certain techniques and mindfulness training.
One of my favourite things in the world is to be 'training tired'. It's tough over a racing camp, because it can easily feel as though you don't have space to be tired, or have to keep something inside you running on alert so that you're ready for competition. That's basically the opposite of what is ideal. Being able to relax and fully regenerate your mind while under exhaustion is one of the toughest things to learn as an athlete if you're not already inclined that way - which I'm definitely not! So I had an epic camp, learned a lot about myself and enjoyed some familiar situations.
At this point in time it feels a bit silly writing about being tired, because I've been enjoying almost two light weeks in preparation for Tacen world cup - my second world cup ever! (Sorry if this is getting a bit 'dear diary', but I will continue to be over excited about world cups if I want to!)
Constructing recovery time for my body and my brain when I'm at home consists of:
1. Cleaning my little flat (I know)
2. Making coffee (always Glen Lyon, and currently Uganda Sipi Falls organic blend is my all time favourite)
3. Paddling on the lake next to my flat (which is more exciting just now because the swans have babies)
4. Driving up north and: visiting Glen Lyon Coffee, who make me feel like I have another family; paddling on Tully; walking into the middle of nowhere
5. Usually having too much cake
So without apology and with a huge amount of gratitude, thank you for reading (if you got this far) and I will update you after Tacen! If you want more 'real time' action you can check out my instagram and facebook accounts!