Firefighting is a great word, it really captures being in the ‘here and now’, getting on with the daily functions needed to get done, what needs to be done. That was my June. So my update on my ‘Road to Rio’ is somewhat delayed, however as I reflect back on this past month perhaps I have a different lens looking back a month later, as I reflect on the challenges and achievements I faced…
June started with a return to racing (running) completing the Westbridge 5miler with a personal best. It was my first ever race last year, so after having a break since the Plymouth Half Marathon, it felt good to be ‘back’. With motivational speak in the final 100 meters from a female Stone Master Marathoners runner, I got to feel again the power of my mind. “You can have him!” prompted an unexpected physical response. I charged past the guy infront of me, chasing nothing but my own goal – to be the best I can be – over the finish line. The power of my mind smashed to pieces my body pain. My mindset is always the difference between winning and learning. That is what I love about challenging myself when I run, it is always a fight between my body and my mind. The success of a mundane, wet, uninspiring training session or an intense spectater supported race is always determined by my the state of my mind. This got me thinking, what do I do to train my mind? Like any other organ, what habits do I do or need to do that prepare, condition and improve my mindset to succeed overtime and beat my raging, aching, winging body? That Sunday I learnt even when I ‘thought’ my body was ‘spent’, it is also capable of responding. Changing, I just needed the belief, at the right time, from someone I admire, and I was the opposite of spent. Until the finish line!
The next day I visited a gait analysis and human sports therapist to assess my running form and potential. One of the most unexpected findings of ‘my road to rio’ has been the accessibility and advancement of human sports knowledge, conditioning and therapy which it seems has yet to transfer to riders. Fort £45 my gait was analysed on a treadmill, learning my right heel comes off the ground early and the treatment I should apply to improve functional body parts such as my hip flexors..I also learned my L3 was closing up to L2 and that I have poor SI joint functionality – so not too dissimilar to most horses then!! A really great experience on this new journey, I strongly recommend to all runners and riders, it really got me cross pollinating my learning. From runner to rider, racer to performance horse, making the time to assess and improve you and your horses’ functional physiology is one small step taking you closer to your best you or optimal performance for your horse.
I had patiently waited 12 months for the arrival of Dr Andrew McLean back in the UK the following week. Andrew, as many of you will know, is my priceless coach, mentor and friend. Without him in my life, now for some 12 years, my progress as a person, equestrian professional and mother would look very different. It blows my mind when I think what journey I could have travelled down, in the absence of Andrew – all I can really express through words on this page is total respect, admiration and inspiration for such a unique, kind, caring person who relentlessly gives people ‘tools’ to help more horses and elephants, worldwide. My inspiration. So you can imagine how excited I was to pick Andrew up from the train station to start an intense week of learning with a group of like minded people.
As I squeezed in early morning lessons, HIIT’s and runs I knew this was living. This week was my perfect mix of training, conditioning and adapting my body to be the best it can be. And the best bit? I didt need to say ‘goodbye’ at the airport as Andrew and I were attending the 12th annual International Society for Equitation Science conference in Saumur, France for 3 days.
Sharing a room with my good friend and colleague was totally inspired. Not quire my thoughts at 5am when the alarm went off and we dragged ourselves down to the hotel lobby to meet like minded runners for our early morning dopamine, but wow, running in France as the sun came up was priceless.
Since Ive been back Ive struggled. Ive struggled returning to my routine, missing my ISES friends and of course the charisma and charm of Andrew in my life. But I have focused on my ‘road to rio’ after consuming too much cromont, French cheeses and pan au chocolate! I don’t regret anything. Instead, Im working harder to shift the weight I gained, taking one workout at time….the only bad workout is one I haven’t done! Here’s to being ‘back on it’ in July and with only 4 weeks to go to Rio….eeeek!!!!
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