The everyday life of an elite athlete is full on, not just with training, but with all the other small tasks that need to be done.
I woke early this Tuesday morning, as I needed every waking minute to try and get through as much as possible. As for a lot of people, my first task is to check emails and social media. As soon as I opened each account I was bombarded with messages asking if I was ok, if I was safe and was I in Boston?
Fortunately for me, I had to race the Australian national championships in Sydney the same weekend as the Boston Marathon. I knew something terrible had occurred during the race, and as I turned on the tv it became clear just how serious it was. My thoughts immediately turned to my fellow Australians at the race and all the wheelchair athletes. Boston is one of the most famous marathons and it always draws a top field of the best wheelchair athletes.
As I began to pack for my afternoon flight to London for the coming Sunday’s London Marathon, more information came to light and word spread that all wheelchair athletes were safe back at the hotel. My thoughts turned to how this would impact on London. Would it still go ahead? Would athletes pull out? I had no intention of doing that, so I began the long journey from Geelong to London.
Up until recently, I hadn’t given much thought to how much I travel. But it becomes obvious that you travel a bit when you know the check in staff, and the ground crew remember you traveling to LA only a few weeks before - and even more so on both my flights, where I knew some of the great Qantas staff. On my return flight, from London to Dubai, I even had the same staff as the flight over.
This year, I decided to head to London a day earlier than normal. After only a 28-hour journey, I arrived at the hotel just under two hours earlier than most of the athletes who had raced Boston. After settling into the hotel I headed out to train with a number of the athletes who had arrived before me; but not before saying hi to all the athletes arriving. The next few days are filled with training, sleep and catching up with family and friends.
I headed into the London Marathon with great confidence after a great summer of training. I believe I am pushing better now in training than I have over the past few years. I left Australia after an amazing training session on the Sunday morning, but racing form is totally different, as you can be training poorly but racing well and vice versa. It’s hard to get both at the same time, but this is the first time I have fully concentrated on distance training. After a few years of doing regular long haul flights, I am getting a good system in place for during and post flight, to help my body recover and to put me in the best position come race day.