Christmas on injury woe, a beach along with an Olympic medal ten years late! It was a lively sports profession for Nicola Sanders.
Among Britains finest 400m runners, that reluctantly retired after a series of injuries in October 2014, reveals just how being a Sky Scholar between 2011 and 2013 turned into a enormous increase during a very challenging and painful phase in her entire life.
The mother of 2 opens up on discovering peace with her troubled nevertheless glorious athletic travel, as the Scholarships celebrate eight decades since launching, together with Sanders one of 11 pilot Scholars.
The Scholarship programme arrived at the right time for me personally.
Following a profession in the 2007 World Championship where I won silver and then a European Indoor gold, I was hit by trauma from 2008 and 2009 and hadnt quite reached my prospective and frustration was setting in.
My trainer Tony Lester approached Sky around encouraging us and they not only agreed to support us in our trip 2012 but they decided to roll it out over several sport and the Sky Scholarship programme was created. I like to think I had been the inspiration!
After I became a Scholar, my athletics was at a challenging location. I had been struggling with my back injury and I had to start constructing my entire body up out to be more powerful again.
Having the backing and perception of Sky at a time like this really boosted me gave me the confidence and belief to continue and arrive.
One of the primary things the programme enabled me to do was to get away for warm weather training more. I endured with chronic injuries in my career but my body profited from operating in warmer climates as my muscles didnt need to work so hard in the heat.
Our coaching group usually travelled to South Africa for most of January to escape the British winter but in the lead-up to 2012, Tony and I decided that we needed to maximise this and move out in December, spend Christmas there and come back as normal during late January.
It was hard to be off for Christmas, but it was also a simple decision knowing itd place me in the ideal location for the following season.
It was odd being somewhere so hot for Christmas (around 40 degrees) and I got somewhat sunburnt on Christmas Eve which was a new one for me personally! It all went OK although there werent lots of decorations up and because of the warmth it did not feel like Christmas.
Christmas afternoon was weird! I spent the afternoon alone (besides the cleaner that popped in and left me with a biscuit!) And watched boxsets for many of it Greys Anatomy and 24.
Then I did a Skype call home and my entire household were hauled round the supper table and that I had been passed from person to person. On Boxing Day I was on the trail in the stunning South African sunshine, although it made me feel sad. More athletes arrived and we spent New Year together on the beach that was wonderful.
Once you know that youre doing something that is terrific for your athletics it does not really feel as a sacrifice and I am thankful Sky gave me the chance to place myself in the very best shape I could be.
Regrettably 2012 did not end up being a terrific year. My back injury lasted and that I had to draw in the European philosopher that was my last chance. Therefore it was just the relay event at the Olympics for me.
I had been in really great shape in London. I had been excited to participate in the relay squad and had a fantastic training camp. Unfortunately I did not get picked for the team and so never got to operate in that Olympic stadium that was amazing.
Although it did not work out how I desired in London, I appreciate Skys service and help on my journey. I know as a group we gave it our best shot my body just let down me.
I had an wonderful career to look back on with some huge highs. I even finally got my own Olympic medal (out of Beijing following two groups were disqualified for doping offenses ) 10 years overdue, as a mother of 2, in front of a home crowd from the London Olympic Stadium!
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