My selection series this year was a mixed bag. I had some touches, and a couple of runs that could have been a lot better. On the final day, I knew that I had to put everything on the table. I had to express the techniques and the fitness that I'd been working on. It's probably the most terrifying race countdown of my life. But it felt good, the same way hurting after pull ups or your fingers stinging from the cold feels good. Having these feelings isn't necessarily good or bad, but the trick is to accept that they exist. Acceptance is the first stage of letting go, and your heart might be pounding in your ears, your tongue might feel like a piece of driftwood, and your muscles might be uncontrollably shaking. But if you can embrace those feelings as part of you, you can take the first step towards having a clean mind.
My last two runs in the series put me in sixth place, within the required percentage margin. After a couple of anxious weeks, the GB teams for the world cups were decided; and I'm going to three of them!
Three world cups out of five is more than I dared to hope for. I feel exceptionally privileged to get this far in slalom, and it's completely down to the support I receive from family, friends and sponsors. The amount of failure it requires to begin succeeding wouldn't be possible to recover from without the people who have your back. My role models demonstrate the qualities of resilience and character in sports, and the way it can be applied to help anybody find their best life. Everything is true about getting up and doing it again. But getting up is made a thousand times easier when someone gives you their hand, and pulls.
I'm excited to share my experiences this summer, and I think I'll be in situations that I've never experienced before. I feel prepared to cope after the incredible structure and support from the Scottish Canoe Association this winter, from my own mindfulness training and the support of everyone, in every way. I want to help younger athletes learn lessons that I am continuing to learn every day of being an athlete.
If anybody reading this is able to help, I need to raise £1050 to get to the world cups. I'm overwhelmed by the generosity and kindness from everyone already. So even if you can just spare £2, it would mean the world to me. I'd be incredibly privileged if you would join my journey, from here.
Yours in sport
Photo credit: Toby Maudsley