Walking the line
The last month has been hectic to say the least. I desperately wanted to write down my thoughts on winning trails and qualifying for my first ever Olympic team, but I have been really conscious of the sensitivity of the subject. The qualifying period has not ended and there are a lot of athletes that are very, very close to qualifying. I thought maybe that me writing about how awesome it is to be selected (sorry, nominated) would be a little insensitive and conceded. I’ve decided that that’s probably bullshit, so I am going to write about how awesome it is.
People keep asking me how it feels to be qualified and on my way to London, and for a while I haven’t really been able to answer them well. The first 2 minutes after the race I genuinely thought something was wrong with the timing. I had recalled the previous week at interclub in Canberra where the gates had messed up a training partner’s timing and said he had run about 4 tenths of a second too fast. I was sure the same had happened. The first 2 days were numb with excitement. I celebrated with my friends and found it really hard to sleep, thinking I’d wake up from this sweet dream if I did (corny, I know!) The two weeks the followed it started to sink in and the grin on my face started to fade at times, as I realised the magnitude and responsibility of this great honour.
So how does it feel? Well, you know when you were in uni or high school and you came across a subject you actually really liked and enjoyed and got a lot out of? You decided that you would actually try really hard at the subject and see how you would go, and after a semester of hard work, sacrifice and commitment, you got a HD. You were so proud that you had worked hard at something and that it had payed off! It was a gamble, because you know that it is always a risk to put all your eggs into one basket and actually try really hard at something. So take uni/high school as my life, take athletics as the subject and take making the Olympics as my HD. Except, that HD also just got me into a much harder class than I was in before, with smarter kids and more homework. That probably all sounds a bit clinical, but I simply can’t describe to you the level of satisfaction of what has happened.
I tend to get a bit philosophical (like you couldn’t tell) about things sometimes. But particularly when really bad things happen to me or when really good things happen to me. This is obviously the latter, and I guess I started asking how and why things have fallen into place so well for me this year. “BJ, mate. You deserve it!” Is something I have heard a bit lately. Shit yes, I deserve it. I have worked my arse off and changed my whole life with this goal, but does that mean the bloke next to me who missed out didn’t ‘deserve it’? He trains as hard as I do. He has made sacrifices, too. Maybe more. Why should he not deserve it?
“Things happen for a reason!” Nup. Sorry. I have heard more truth in statements on the back of toilet doors. I have had seen too much pain and misfortune in people that don’t deserve it to believe anything has a good ‘reason’ for happening. My training partner Mel Breen ran .02 off an A qualifier this evening and was about her 398th B qualifier. If she doesn’t run the A before june 11, does she ‘deserve it’ any less than me? Shit no. She has worked as hard as me (I’ve seen it) and should be on the team like the rest of us.
The truth is, shit happens. Life sometimes bends you over and sometimes life gives you green lights all the way to work. As athletes, we are constantly walking on the edge of luck and fortune. For some athletes, it’s a tightrope over a windy Grand Canyon, but what we CAN do is make that edge we walk on as sturdy as possible. I think the things I have learnt and applied over the past years in athletics have given me more like a solid plank of wood to walk on rather than the tightrope. There is every chance I would not run an ‘A’ in Melbourne, but everything I had done up to then made it more likely that I would. Fate is a devilsh and cruel mistress and not to be fucked with, so I’ll just keep practicing my balancing act and make sure I have a good carpenter handy.
In the meantime I have had the ‘luxury’ (if you can call increasing your training load by almost double and being tired all the time luxurious) of going into a solid training block in the lead up to our international competitions leading to London. Some great training has been done by Lauren, my training partner, and I and we’ll both run in Japan in a few weeks before heading to Europe in mid June to reach the pointy end of the season. This block will be the strong base we need for running fast in August. It’s also a great example of making that line we walk on sturdier and thicker. I’m strong, I’m fit, I’m determined, and I’m happy.