I was a bit worried about how I would feel coming back from achieving my goal of competing at the Commonwealth Games. I had worked so hard over the last year and a half to make this dream a reality that I wouldn’t really have anything left to focus on. I invested so much into this, especially mentally. I thought this games would be a once in a lifetime achievement for me as the next games are four years away and actually by that time, I would be nearly 40 and I would be competing against people who were less than half my age and being lifting for longer than I will have.
So, I thought I would come back feeling a bit flat afterwards, but in fact I feel more motivated now than ever to make the next games. Although 4 years does seem like a long time away, in fact, in weightlifting terms, it really isn’t long at all! I’ve already started my training cycle preparing for the next games. I have the British Championships in a few weeks’ time so I’ve had to tailor my training for this competition. I haven’t really had the time to prepare for this properly since returning home from Australia, but I’m going to go out there and enjoy competing without the pressure of having to qualify for anything.
I stayed in the athletes village which was pretty incredible. Walking down the streets and meeting some of my sporting heros was a real ‘pinch me’ experience! I competed on the second day so I was really able to take in the atmosphere of the village. There were swimming pools all around the village with giant blow up unicorns, bands playing, bbq’s, coffee and ice cream available 24 hours a day. It felt really weird leaving there and actually having to pay for stuff. We were so spoiled with the amount of sports massages, physios and ice baths we had access to. There was also a hair dressers and beauty salon available and everything was free! I was able to get my hair done before I competed, complete with glitter spray! I think the best part was the food. You could have whatever you wanted, 24 hours a day! My first breakfast after I competed was the strangest combination ever. I had mashed potato, rice, pancakes, bacon, cheese, olives, steak, pickles and cake. I had been on a weight cut for so long that I really had a craving for all of these things.
I competed under the Friday night lights at 6pm. The stage was pretty incredible in front of a sell-out crowd. I was really excited to compete with some of my weightlifting (and crossfit) heros so I was totally 'fangirling' in the back. Normally in a competition, I get really nervous especially over the last year when I had only a few competitions that would’ve given me a chance at qualifying for the games. This time was different. I qualified, I met my goals and I really just wanted to go out there and enjoy the moment. I absolutely did this, I earned it. I loved every moment and I wouldn’t have changed a thing about it. I stepped on that stage and there were so many people shouting my name and I seen so many Scotland flags, it really gave me the confidence to lift that bar. It was unlike any experience I’ve ever had, just incredible! Thinking about the next games, it’s going to be in Birmingham. I can’t think of anything more incredible than lifting in front of a home crowd!
A medal at the next games is a real possibility and I’m going to work so hard over the next few years to achieve that.
Since I’ve been home, the momentum of the games has stayed with me. I have had so many messages from colleagues that have shown their support, asking me about lifting and how they can get started. It really means a lot to hear about others who have taken up lifting as it’s a minority sport, so for me to promote weightlifting, especially for women, is awesome. I’m hoping that more girls will give weightlifting a try after seeing the exposure from the games. Just last week, I accepted the Daily Record ‘Our Sporting Hero’ award on behalf of Team Scotland and I get to meet The First Minister next week! I also have a few dates lined up to talk to some local schools about my experiences.
I think the reason I have been so successful at this sport is because I love what I do. People ask me all the time about how I find the time to train and get motivated to go to the gym everyday. I can honestly say that I look forward to going to the gym every single day! If you love it, you’ll make it a priority, you won’t need to find a motivation. The great thing about weightlifting is that I know that every single kilo that I lift was earned. There are no short cuts, just hard work. The feeling of accomplishment you feel when you hit a personal best lift is unlike any other feeling and I work hard everyday for those moments.