What a great weekend! It all started mid week with really bad blister on my right heel that got very infected. I was trying to work through the pain for the last workouts of the week but the pain got so bad that I couldn’t even warm up properly. I just tried to block it out of my mind, but apparently I didn’t do a good job of hiding the pain as I was limping and grimacing after my strides. One of the guys on the team Greame Rinholme noticed I was in a lot of discomfort and so I showed him what was going on with my blister. He took a look and immediately said “Ok, you have to go to the doctor Pal.” I hadn’t noticed how bad it had gotten but it had gotten very swollen and red. So immediately after practice, I drove to the doctor’s office. When I showed the Dr. he just stared at my heel for a few minutes without saying anything, just standing there, looking at my heel. He then said “Well, we’re gonna have to cut it open, but it means you wont be able to train for a few days.” I was fine with that since I knew it was the only way. I only had one workout left for the rest of the week and it was upper body so I could get away with working out in sandals. The Dr. proceeded to inject my foot with a local anesthetic, but he didn’t really give it time to freeze, and then just dove in with a scalpel. It was a pretty funny, the Dr. just kept saying “Wow, look at all the puss, look at all the puss!” The burning sensation from the scalpel slicing through my skin was overshadowed by the feeling of releasing pressure, and a bit of adrenaline. It really wasn’t that bad as I’ve grown used to injections and the like, in and around my feet. In order to make it through my two last football seasons in University I was administered Marcaine injections before every game to freeze my feet to dull the pain of turf toe (a common football injury in the balls of the feet). It was just like the good ol’ days. The best part? I had been scheduled to work all weekend, but thanks to my minor surgery it meant that I couldn’t wear shoes, which meant that I wouldn’t be able to work, and thus allow me to attend the 2012 Canadian Trials and watch amazing athletes compete for olympic births.
The Canadian Trials held at Foothills Athletic Park, Calgary were incredible! I’ve always loved to attend track meets but I had never attended one filled with so much talent. The coolest thing about the whole things was that I had a lot of friends, or knew a lot of the athletes competing at the meet, which made things extremely nerve-racking as a spectator! While watching the competition I kept thinking of all the times I had trained with these people, or saw them race throughout high-school and university, and now I was watching them compete for spots on the Canadian Olympic Team! It was a little mind blowing, I had been witness to their ongoing careers over the years, and there I was, witnessing the precursor to the highlight of their athletic careers! The atmosphere alone was enough to strengthen my hunger to make the Canadian Olympic Team, but seeing my friends win seats to the 2012 London games just put it all into perspective for me. I couldn’t only imagine the elation one gets from learning you’ve just one your spot on the Olympic team, and I want to experience that so bad. I just want to take the time to say congratulations to Melissa Bishop from Ottawa, On who won the 800m and her seat to London. I spoke to her after the race and said “You’re going to the Olympics!” and she replied “I know, I can’t even believe it, I don’t know what to think or how to feel, I’m beside myself”.
On the other side of the elation of winning, I was witness to some friends who didn’t qualify for the Olympics which was very hard to watch. When you put it all into perspective, these athletes train four years for one single day and if anything goes wrong during a race that could last as little as 9 seconds, that four years of hard work and dedication will have been in vain. Not that their efforts were wasted, but that they didn’t achieve the result they wanted. They wont even get a chance to go to the Olympics. I can’t even fathom the mental game after false-starting and subsequently disqualified as Perdita Felicien (See Artcile Here) did in the 100m Hurdles this past weekend and realizing a mistake made in 1 hundredth of second could mean the end of a four year journey. It’s just incomprehensible what she must be going through but as an athlete I think you need to keep in mind that it’s always a possibility.
These individuals dedicate their entire lives to a single pursuit that is impossible to be guaranteed. I think these individuals, these athletes are so inspiring because they sacrifice everything they have for the CHANCE of winning. I say chance because at this level of competition, anyone can win on any given day. I wouldn’t say it is exactly luck, but more likely placing yourself in the best possible position to win. I guess that’s why those who work extremely hard day in and day out seem to be the ones that get all the “lucky” breaks. It’s because all that hard work puts them in favorable positions and opens them up to opportunities sometimes not offered to those who don’t sacrifice. To be honest this weekend was eye opening for me. I learned that hard work doesn’t guarantee that you will win, rather, it will only give you a chance to succeed. There’s nothing that will guarantee me a spot on the Canadian Olympic Bobsleigh Team. In the year leading up to the Olympics I could help the team qualify a sled for the Olympics and come Olympic year have my seat taken away from a better athlete. Even though I helped Canada get to the Olympics it doesn’t necessarily mean I will get the opportunity to represent Canada in the big show! How fun is that? Like I said, this weekend has put a lot of things into perspective for me, and in my mind, simply having the opportunity to have a chance to make it to the Olympics is worth all the hard work and sacrifices. All I can do is put myself in a favorable position. Win or lose, the stakes are astronomical but that’s what makes it all worth it when your getting your heel cut open by a scalpel or training through pain.
What’s that proverb again? “If it’s not difficult, it’s not worth doing at all”. I want to have a chance to experience what my friend Melissa felt when she found out that she had made it to the Olympics. I just want that one chance. I guess that’s why the Olympics are so big, because for the athletes it represents a four year life investment culminating into one single definitive moment, one single opportunity, one chance to reach greatness. It gives me chills just thinking about it. We’re starting a new training phase tomorrow. I can’t wait!