I will write about the competition in Turnhout itself soon. But now it is finished- what am I doing?
It’s been one month since the World Championships. With the exception of a slightly impromptu club competition for Giffnock North (by virtue of being the only senior woman, I won), I haven’t set foot on a track since.
“Will you continue?” It seemed as though all my fellow tetradecathletes and their spectating friends knew this was a question on my mind. It seems rude to say to one’s competitors, “I only started this to make a show- it seemed funny at the time!” When making a pact with myself to compete in the World Champs, 20 months seemed an impossibly long commitment to such a silly pursuit. I never dreamed that I’d end up in this quandary.
But now. Now in the cold light of autumn, with no senior women by my side; without the infallible optimism of my Heathside coaches, and the thought of chugging along in the dark until March…
But in the moments when the competition was going well- after sprint hurdles, or high jump- in fact, after any event that lasts less than a minute-and-a-half; I wanted to carry on, beyond this year. When sitting in the water jump with a dozen women, who just put themselves through a tetradecathlon just for shits and giggles. And the many moments in Turnhout, when people who I met in Cambridge said with some surprise, “you must have been training a lot” – I wanted to come back in 2018 and show them that I can keep improving.
Looking back over videos from last year’s European Championships, I now feel like I’ve really been through it with these women. Photos from races where at the time, I didn’t know who I was racing- I’ve now been in 28 events with them all. Christelle, Janneke, Kirsten, Maren, Sophia, Barbara, Gerda. Catching up with the same group of people, year after year, to go through this extraordinary experience together- it’s something I’d dearly like to hold onto.
But those things- excellent as they are- can they balance out the hours put in through the year? Do I enjoy the pay-offs enough? In reality, it’s unlikely I’ll compete in a tetra next year. If all goes to plan, I hope to be busy next August when the European Championships will be held; and that’s likely, weak as it sounds, to make the decision for me.