Draw a Line Under It

So I’m sat in Newark airport lounge waiting to board my flight back to reality. We start a fresh tomorrow. Winter training begins in less than 24 hours, but my immediate focus is to try and hold down last night’s liquid dinner until we’ve crossed the Atlantic. Yesterday’s Birthday shenanigans in Las Vegas’ little brother Atlantic City, was officially the last toast of the off-season, and enough to put me off both alcohol and sin cities for at least a year; and just as well.

The 4-5 weeks between the end of the athletics season and the start of the next come as a welcome break from the daily toil of an otherwise restless regime. It’s far more than necessary respite, it’s a complete rebel in lifestyle. Personally, I make it my mission every year to squeeze into these few weeks as much junk-food, jet-setting and as many ‘nights I can’t remember with friends I won’t forget’, as possible. This year has been no different!

Living for the nights I can't remember, with people I won't forget!

And so a big shout-out to all of you reading this who’ve helped to lead me astray over this last month, you know who you are! I guess the theory is, indulging in all things frowned upon during this downtime will aid efforts to stay disciplined once the training year begins again – and ‘monk life’ resumes!

However, the past month hasn’t all been one big binge; before a short but sweet escape with my best friend to visit relatives in Jamaica, I took up the opportunity of doing an internship at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer.

Freshfields is a magic circle global law firm, 6th biggest in the world, with a particular appreciation for the transferable talents of elite sportspeople. Spending nearly 3 weeks as part of the Dispute Resolution team, in their London and New York offices, was a thoroughly enjoyable and invaluable experience. A huge thank you to Sally, Ed, Dwayne and Lucy in London, and Ashley, Rob and Dan in New York for going far above and beyond the call of duty to ensure I got the very most out of my time with the firm.

Years ago I toyed with the idea of continuing a legal career alongside my sporting ambitions; but it’s abundantly clear that to achieve anything like the successes of our Olympic heroes, you have to channel every waking breath into your craft (and then pray a whole host of other things, out of your control, also balance in your favour!). With this in mind, it was great to meet and gain perspective from Sophie Hosking during the internship. Sophie’s an ‘Oar’-inspiring Olympian, who’s ever so kindly laid down a very straightforward blueprint for me to follow: SEE HERE ……easy-peasy, right!?

And so, T-minus 23 hours until the next chapter begins: the 2014 athletics season! It’s such a relief to finally be able to draw a line under the 15month rehabilitation of my Cruciate Ligament rupture. Disappointingly, I didn’t break any world records this year for miraculous recovery. Medical opinion suggested 2013 would largely be a case of me finding my feet and very gradually returning to European level competition. Needless to say, I’ve grudgingly played this role as cast. But with the Commonwealth Games and European Championships both on the horizon there’s fresh opportunity to dig deep for the precious metals that lie in wait to be claimed this coming season.



About JA

professional athlete
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