Aching muscles, illness and hectic schedules have hampered Elise Christie’s preparation for the World Cup campaign that gets going in Canada in November.
Instead of sulking on the sidelines, the 26-year-old Scot, supported on the Sky Academy Sports Scholarships scheme since 2012, has rediscovered her love for speed skating.
Here are Elise’s thoughts as she gets ready for another series of brutal battles on the ice.
I find it’s sometimes hard to find time to stop and think about life, appreciate what the good things are and be thankful for the great things we have experienced.
I go through weeks at a time starting my day at 5am and returning home at 7.30pm and I’m rushing from place to place and job to job, without really appreciating anything about my life.
It’s a task-focused way of life without actually living in the moment. Sound familiar?
My GB team-mates and I recently finished our first competition of the season, not an important one, but just one to kick-start our racing skills ahead of the World Cup that starts in Calgary in Canada on November 4.
This season so far has been great for me and my team – everyone has been skating faster, stronger and smarter.
We’ve come together as a team and are working productively together to achieve our goals. I’ve been skating personal bests in training and working a lot on my racing skills. So it’s understandable that the team and I were pretty excited about getting out to the first race of the year and kicking some butt!
However, two weeks ago I unfortunately suffered an injury, which followed with me getting sick and run down.
I guess I’d been training so hard for so long, and been living in a robotic state for the last few months, that I hadn’t realised when enough was enough and I pushed my body too far. A common mistake by many athletes!
It meant I was only able to take part in four out of 10 races last weekend as the more important thing was to recover and train hard into the World Cup event in Canada. I did manage to come away with a lot of positives though despite the unfortunate circumstances.
I was much calmer in my racing than this time last year, I was enjoying myself despite the negatives, I was skating faster than anyone else in the competition and my racing skills were dramatically better.
I also found time to reflect on things and actually see the positives. I’m often very self-critical, especially when I can’t find time to get all my daily tasks done. But I’ve realised that I need to make more time for life and more time for the people I love.
There’s definitely more to life than following a set of demands every day, and you will never be able to get fully on top of everything. There’s always going to be something else that needs doing.
But you shouldn’t criticise yourself for this, and you shouldn’t run yourself into the ground over it. With less racing than everyone else to do last weekend, I was able to see once again how beautiful short track was, watching the speed, the close-knit racing and the excitement on the spectators’ faces.
Short track wasn’t a demanding set of tasks, it was a beautiful sport driven by passion and excitement.
So I guess everything happens for a reason and my inability to compete in the whole competition had actually allowed me to find more passion again.
I’m so committed to this sport and this part of my life. However, I had brought myself to breaking point through not listening to my body and just listening to the judge in my head telling me it wasn’t good enough and I needed to keep doing more.
After seven weeks of pain in my right hip, my leg had given up and the competition I’d prepared for was pushed to one side while I recovered. What I’m saying is that the task of being the best took over everything, the reality, my pain and my happiness.
While trying to achieve something incredible in your life, there are still times to reflect and enjoy yourself, and time to see the positives. Give yourself some time to live in the moments that are truly amazing about your life.
I’m really looking forward to training hard into the first set of World Cups and I believe this could be a really good season for me.
I’m really excited after a summer of skating personal bests and learning new skills. I feel that every year I become a much more mature athlete and ready to take on more challenges.
And after over a week of reduced training my illness has subsided and my leg is ready to fight again. So bring it on competitors!