Happy New Year … although it often doesn’t feel like it in gloomy January. With that in mind I thought I would use the next four blogs to highlight some patients from 2015 that I personally found inspirational. Although their challenges and achievements are very different there is a common theme of working towards their goals in a logical long-term manner and dealing sensibly with all the setbacks they face along the way. I wish them all the best for 2016.
“The amazing Catherine Taylor”, to quote the commentators at the 2015 World Cup Final, needs no introduction to orienteers around the world. But as a junior, despite possessing outstanding raw talent, she was relatively unknown. Because she was injured. Cat first showed her international potential with a Long Distance Bronze medal at the European Championships in 2014. A good season in 2015 saw her place an excellent 5th in the Middle and 6th in the Long at the World Orienteering Championships in Scotland and pick up the title of Swedish Champion for club OK Linne in the Relays. But at the season’s finale in Switzerland we watched in awe as she destroyed the World’s best by a huge margin - the prize for all that effort being a rather large, rather solid, wooden bench that had to somehow make it’s way back to Sweden. Who said orienteering wasn’t like the Krypton Factor? It wasn’t always this way. I first met Cat when she came to the clinic back in February 2007. After finishing her A-Levels the previous year she had just returned from an abortive attempt to live her dream as an orienteer in Sweden. She had been unable to run for months due to injuries. Cat and I have worked together since that day. Whilst her results are amazing, it is her fortitude that is an inspiration to me. The last eight years has been a long journey full of injuries, frustrations and some dark times …
“Working to compete at the top level in orienteering has meant a lot of focused hard work over many years. It's been quite a journey from when I was 18, injured and hardly able to run, to training long hours each week and challenging for great results in international races. It's meant moving country and shaping my lifestyle around sport but I love what I do and feel really lucky to be able to spend a few years of my life chasing my goals in the forest.” Through all this Cat has never given up and has always been ready to learn - to learn more about the art of orienteering, the art of consistent hard training and the art of listening to and understanding her body - aiding her in managing niggles, aches, pains and serious injuries: “Working with Kim for the first time marked a turning point in my recovery from injury and the start of my learning to understand and manage my own body's reactions to training, which has been vital to the process. Today, Kim is still the first port of call when I have any problems or questions - she's both very knowledgeable and very helpful!” It has been a real privilege to see her move from an athlete who was perpetually struggling with injuries to putting together four years of consistent training at a high level - in the last week alone she has done fourteen hours running, seven of those orienteering in the cold and often dark forests of Sweden. Well done Cat, you deserve it.
Photos courtesy of http://worldofo.com/, still older than Google.