Christmas on a shore, injury woe and an Olympic medal ! It was a athletics profession for Nicola Sanders.
Among Britains greatest runners, that retired in October 2014 after a succession of injuries, shows how being a Sky Scholar between 2011 and 2013 was a enormous increase during a painful and really challenging period in her life.
The mother of 2 opens up on finding peace with her very troubled however glorious journey since launch, together with Sanders among 11 pilot Scholars Since the Scholarships celebrate.
The Scholarship programme arrived at the right time for me.
Following a profession in the 2007 World Championship in which I won silver and then a European Indoor gold, I was hit by injury in 2008 and 2009 and had not quite reached my prospective and frustration was setting in.
My trainer Tony Lester approached Sky around supporting individuals and they not only agreed to encourage us in our trip to 2012 but they decided to roll it out across a few sports and also the Sky Scholarship programme has been born. I love to think I had been the inspiration!
When I became a Scholar, my sports was in a challenging location. I struggled with my back injury and that I had to begin from scratch, building my own body up out to become more powerful.
With the backing and perception of Sky at a time in this way really fostered me gave me the confidence and belief to carry on and get there.
Some of the principal things the programme allowed me to do was eliminate for warm weather training longer. As my muscles did not need to work so hard in the warmth, I suffered in my career with chronic injuries but my entire body.
Our training group usually travelled to South Africa for the majority of January to escape the British winter in the lead-up to 2012, Tony and I decided that we had to increase this and move away in December, spend Christmas up there and return as normal during late January.
It was tough to be off for Christmas, but it was also a simple decision knowing it would put me in the best place for the following season.
It was strange being somewhere so sexy for Christmas (around 40 levels ) and now I got somewhat sunburnt on Christmas Eve that was a new one for me! It all went OK although there were not many due to the warmth it didnt feel like Christmas and decorations up.
Christmas day was bizarre! I spent the day alone (besides the cleaner who popped in and left me a biscuit!) And observed boxsets for many of it – Greys Anatomy and 24.
Then I did a Skype call home and my entire household were hauled round the dinner table and that I had been passed from person to person. It made me feel unhappy, but on Boxing Day I had been on the trail in the sun. More athletes arrived and we spent New Year together.
When you know that youre doing something that is very good for your sports it does not feel like a sacrifice and I am grateful Sky gave me the opportunity to place myself in the very best shape I might be.
Regrettably 2012 did not prove to be a excellent year. My back injury continued and I had to draw in the warm-up in the European philosopher that was my last chance to qualify to the person 400m at the London Games. Therefore it was the 4x400m relay event in the Olympics for me.
I was in really great shape in London. I had a terrific training camp and had been excited to be part of the relay squad. Unfortunately I didnt get picked for the group that was final and so never got to run in that stadium that was wonderful.
Although it did not work out just how I desired in London, I appreciate Skys support and aid on my journey. I understand as a team we gave it our best shot my body only let me.
I had an remarkable career to look back with some big highs. I finally got my own Olympic medal (out of Beijing after two groups were disqualified for doping offenses ) 10 decades late, as a mum of two, in front of a house crowd from the London Olympic Stadium!
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