Val Allman (discus):
Woof!! Where to begin!? I’d be lying if I said my heart hasn’t felt a bit broken in accepting that the Olympic dream is postponed until 2021. Ever since missing the team by a few spots in 2016, I made big changes to orchestrate my life around training, recovering, and preparing at the highest level to increase my chances of earning a spot on the prestigious USA Olympic team. For so long, I felt like I had been a workhorse with my head down checking the boxes of trying to “optimize the day”, that when news hit it almost didn’t feel real.
It has been super scary to be ALL IN on something. It’s been challenging to deal with the emotions when what I was working towards is getting swept out from under my feet. For me, as a 25 year old on that #selfisolation grind it’s been difficult to figure out how to deal with such deep sadness. I filled the several days after the news hit with compromised training, lots of tears, soul searching with my Coach, FT’s with family and friends, and like 1million Cadbury eggs. Of course, everyone processes emotions differently, but for me I realized how much I cared about what I was working towards.
Accepting that the Olympic Trials and Olympics were off the table was tricky, but it has been a whole ‘nother ball game recognizing the ENTIRE track season lies in a bed of uncertainty. Sponsorships, prize money, and performance objectives all are up in the air. For the first time in my life, I’m training without any idea of when or what my next competition will be. It’s really bizarre and kind of uncomfortable to have no timeline of when you are going to see the results of your work.
Weirdly, as the sting wears off, I am starting to see some positives during this abnormal time as my brain has been doing lil' bit of rewiring. I’m realizing that one of the best parts of working towards a goal is the actual work. It is refreshing to admit I’ve been enjoying training more the last few weeks. When the Olympics were still on the docket for 2020, I found myself obsessing over the littlest details. I was overanalyzing everything and getting an A+ for being a self critic. Now, it is way easier to find the joy in the process. I’ve noticed myself celebrating the little wins like being outside, sweating, a good night’s sleep, a healthy body, being able to make a technical change, fulfilling relationships, and the ongoing and ever empowering Oiselle sisterhood. I am excited to carry more of this mindset forward with me.
All athletes have been dealt a tough hand of accepting changed/cancelled seasons, but around the globe, people are having to accept things they never imagined in dealing with an unprecedented, unfortunate, and unpredictable pandemic. Who knows what the next six months looks like for our world, let alone our sport, but I’m hopeful that all the work done in the dark will have a way of coming into light.