I have pondered for a few hours as to what to write for this post ... Competing abroad is hard both mentally and physically. For me this journey over the past week has been particularly hard and testing in so many ways.
Today saw the first World Cup race, which was a classic (long distance race). I had high hopes for this race and with the water level as it is, it would have been ideal for me. However, yesterday morning on a practise run, I had a moment on the river and stalled at the top of a rock formation and went over the drop with no speed. I then went over and panicked. It is not something I have particularly suffered from before in the water or in a boat. The swim last Thursday I have been unable to move forward from. It was a nasty swim perhaps more than I cared to tell people. There was that moment of loneliness I experienced on the mountain during the night and a need to survive that re-surfaced. it was and is something I struggled to move past and took many years.. So for that memory and feeling to be back has left with a few sleepless nights. As they say we are a sum of our experiences, for me my mountain experience, two dislocated shoulders and the swim last week, is all part of who I am. i have grown stronger from each one but each has taken time. To rebuild myself from last week has not quite happened and parking it, well didn't work! So once in the water yesterday I ended up swimming and just wanted out of the water ASAP. I lost my boat down the gorge.
My confidence and perspective is a little warped at the moment. I have shed many many tears since yesterday morning and many many today. My mind feels a little blank with emotion and although I should probably feel angry and upset about loosing my boat, I feel very little. currently I feel disappointed in myself, feel like I have failed in many ways. It took a lot for me to get back on and in the water yesterday after my swim. Competing and paddling for me should be about doing it because you enjoy it. Right now that is not the case, although I have tried, I feel scared about the water, that for those who know me, I love it! This morning, with my mind still in turmoil, it didn't matter how I tried to psyche myself up I could not do it. But that is my thoughts in the here and now. The sport i am competing in is hard, you need to be on your A game. Any canoeist who paddles white water would agree if you are not feeling right on the day you shouldn't run a rapid especially if your thoughts are not right.
I suspect this post comes across a bit garbeled and that is with spending over an hour writing it.
I am going to try and get on the water this afternoon, try and find that happy place once more. I am in need of time, that is something I do not have for this World Cup Series. It has been one hell of a journey to get myself to these competitions this year with many hurdles, health, work, etc that have been overcome. When you have dreamed about something for so long, to see it disappear and to be as it is now, is hard for me to let it go. However, it feels I need to let this dream drop for now or perhaps forever...
Now I need to take take the pressure off myself, repair my battered body and see if I can rekindle something that resembles the paddler Gilly.
The support from my fellow competitors and those in camp GB has been lovely. They know and understand a little from their own experiences and as they say it takes time to rebuild oneself. My parents who have come out to watch have been very supportive.
Now for me it is a case of take one day at a time. Right now I long to be home and to see my dog Poppy!