Day 26 ~ Plattling, Prelims – World Championships

21 June 2011

World Freestyle Kayak Championships
Day 26 ~ Plattling, Germany

Well….the day started off good.

I woke up at 5am. Did my yoga/meditation and then went to the wave for 3 practice rides before the competition started.

It was great. Hardly anyone was there, and I really feel like I needed to do what I knew I could do as I hadn’t felt very good about my practices lately.

And out there this morning by myself I did it! I did the ride I wanted to do and felt the feeling of knowing I can. It felt like I was out there for me and proved to myself I could.

So I got out feeling more confident and went back to my room and meditated and visualized and finally felt the nerves subsiding. I was in a good space and felt ready.

I went back to the river to get ready to compete in my heat, which started at 10:30. I listened to music for 15 minutes and went for a short walk.

I got my gear on and went to warm up. I felt ready, calm and confident.

I was the first to go in my heat and had an ok ride. Nothing great but good enough and all I needed was to do that again. If my second ride was the same it would be enough to get me through to quarterfinals maybe just.

After my first ride somehow my inner mental zone got broken. People were talking to me and telling me to smile and have fun, I looked around and saw the crowd and lost my inner mental calm.

My second ride I flushed after ten seconds which through me off. I hadn’t prepared for that in my mind. I paddled back up still with time to throw some tricks but never got it together.
And that was that.


I was pretty gutted. My goal was to go out there and do what I knew I could do, and I didn’t.

I guess you could say the worst thing happened. I didn’t make the cut.

I stayed around and filmed the rest of the heats, and then came back to my room and had a big cry.

I can’t believe it’s over.

I went on a very long walk and did some more crying, and am feeling a lot better now.

On my walk I heard a voice say, “you lost the competition, but you FOUND yourself”
and that made me cry even harder, because it is true.

I also had the thought on my walk that part of this journey was to fulfill my childhood dream, which was inspired by my hero Nadia Comeneci the Olympic Gymnast. I always dreamed of being her.

What I realized is I don’t wan’t to be her anymore I want to be me.

I also thought about how much I have put into this and how do I feel now that it is over…

I don’t have any regrets.

I am glad I undertook this journey. I enjoyed the discipline and the training and getting myself back to a level where I could compete again. I knew what my weaknesses would be in coming here, but also believed I could get over them in time to do well today.

In retrospect I feel like I have overcome a lot…. mostly my own demons.

Not to say they are totally gone but the good news is I have a grasp on reality right now and even though I am sad I know tomorrow is another day.

It is not the end of the world.

I am still me and know that even though I didn’t make the cut today I am ok.

My whole goal in undertaking this journey was to do it differently this time, and getting over this disappointment is my new challenge. (I pretty much think I will be soon.)

The good news is all my friends made the cut so I will be cheering for them tomorrow from the sidelines.

Today I am grateful that I took the risk.

I did give it my best shot. I felt like I was ready, and I could, and that felt huge.

Even though I didn’t achieve my goal, I think what I have learned as a result of trying has been worth it. (even through the tears right now)

Thanks to everyone for your support! It has meant the world to me!

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7 replies
  1. Tricia Spence
    Tricia Spence says:

    Polly, your worth is not dependent on a gold medal. Your worth is about being at peace with who you are, and who you are has changed as a result of this journey you chose to take at this time in your life. Sometimes we need a catalyst for change, and this was yours. It does not matter what the outcome of this competition was. I know the emotions are real and raw right now and it is good that you are ‘feeling’ your way through them. In a while you will reflect back and see a much bigger picture, a deeper meaning regarding the steps you took to get to this place. You had to do it, you had to acknowledge the ‘fire within’ you were feeling. Now you will carry this fire, this light within you and all the amazing tools and life experiences forward which will make your life more fulfilling. You will see life differently now. You don’t have to be a gold medallist to inspire people. You knew this journey was more than just about you, but about others and what you can do to inspire them. By sharing openly and honestly during this journey, you have connected with others on a deep level. People can focus on a goal, but it is how they experience the process, the day to day connection with themselves, that will serve them more in the long run. I am very excited about your future and how you will carry this experience forward. It will all unfold as it is meant to, easily and naturally, if you simply allow it. With much love and support, Trish

  2. Edie
    Edie says:

    Polly: Just read your post and I’m so sorry you didn’t make the cut! I’ve been reading you for inspiration for Regionals this weekend. I know you gave it your absolute best this past year and you can’t do more than that. No regrets, eh? I’m still a big fan! Love, Edie

  3. leslie c
    leslie c says:

    Ah Polly.. I’m sending you a big hug and a smile 🙂
    The journey and the learning is important. The outcome– well, we never know until it happens. Please take away the best and don’t second guess yourself… thank you for going for it…
    kudos! -L.

  4. Julie from yoga
    Julie from yoga says:

    Hey Polly – I’ve really enjoyed sharing your journey and think you’re amazing to have undertaken it. I’m thinking that you being so open about your demons, taking the risk and not achieving the identified goal but finding yourself in the process is pretty damn inspiring! Julie

  5. Susan G.
    Susan G. says:

    Dear Polly:

    You did it! You put one foot, one paddle in front of the other and stayed present, in the moment and true to yourself and your spirit each step of the way. That is HUGE, often impossible and frequently terrifying. You are a champion in my book and it has nothing to do with any medal. You competed with your life, your demons, your dreams and your fears and you won. I am so proud of you and always inspired. Thank you for sharing your most intimate self with the world. Sending hugs and wishing I was there to watch and cheer on Jesse. Thanks for the great ride. xo Susan

  6. niamh
    niamh says:

    I’ve been following your journey since coming across your doco last summer. Sorry to hear you didn’t get exactly what you were aiming for, but it sounds like you found something even better than a piece of metal. It’s inspiring to read about women following their dreams, look forward to the next installments!

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