This blog posting has been a month in coming! Life has been a bit busy of lately and I have just been able to sit down to put some thoughts down about the year that has been and the one that has just started.
After 2012 I didn’t think I could possibly top winning Gold at the Paralympics. But there was always one thought niggling in the back of my mind and that was that my main competitor Marie Eve from Canada didn’t race in London. If she had would I have come back with the gold medal? I know that I shouldn’t think that way but it was always just sitting there back in the recesses of my mind. So 2013 was important that I should go out and prove to myself that I did in fact deserve to win that title. I was able to come away from the World Cup in Matane and the World Championships in Baie Comeau with 4 wins from 4 races and to me this was more satisfying to know that yes I was the best in the World. No I’m not competitive at all!!!!! I was then name the Australian Female ParaCyclist of the Year, so to me this had to top 2012.
My last foray into International rowing came with a wonderful crew of Nell Duly, Kate Murdoch, Steve Knott and Pete Siri and we were able to come away with a win at the Head of the Charles, a race that had always been on my bucket list. We also had two emergency rowers with us Sara Waitzer and Nickolai Olding. along with a team of organisers, coach and supporters Anne Craig, Barbara Ramjan, Lindsay Callahan, Andrea Knott and so many others who were there to support us. It was quite a way to bow out of rowing…with an international row and a win and I just hope that this is a stepping stone for the other rowers to continue on. I certainly couldn’t have asked for a better way to leave!
My health in 2013 couldn’t have been better and I truly believe that I am keeping my MS at bay with exercise, so I guess I will go to my grave in some sort of exercise gear. My Mega Swims keep growing and I have some amazing staff at MS Australia who are dedicated to helping grow the event in different states and volunteers who give their all. We have given out around 600 scholarships now to people living with MS, raised over $5 million to assist with the financial assistance program and other educational programs and I couldn’t be happier knowing that we have been able to make dreams come true for people!
I have been truly blessed with some amazing friends and they along with my husband Russ and the rest of my family have supported me 100% in all that I have done.
Looking forward to 2014 again I thought how the heck will I top the last 2 years. Then it came to me via a post from Ralph Marston and it made me think that I really don’t have to top anything. I do what I do because I love it. I love the feeling of training and racing. I love the volunteer work I do with MS Australia and seeing the faces of people living with MS who get their scholarships! As Ralph Marston says “True fulfillment does not ever come from possessions, relationships or experiences alone. Fulfillment comes from what you do to put real substance and meaning into what you have.”
But there have also been a lot of changes in this last month as well. I have a new physical prep coach at the VIS. Michael Crooks who has guided me since 2007 left the VIS so I am now working with Ben Willey and he has certainly introduced some new ideas which have been fantastic. I also decided to leave my cycling coach Helen Kelly. She has been fantastic and taken me to the top of the podium! I just felt that I needed a new direction, the split has been amicable and we will always remain friends…after all we were friends before she was my coach. I wish her the best of everything in the future with her new Women’s team! I am now being coached by Rebecca Dicello (nee McConnell) and I will put more on my coaching page about her. I must say though that her workouts so far have been very challenging but very rewarding!
So all I can say is bring on 2014…I look forward to all the challenges and excitement that lies ahead. I will put in the effort and commitment necessary to make each day truly meaningful and I will give my best to life every chance I get.