To make the Games in Tokyo would really defy all the odds that have been stacked against me.
Irish Steeplechase Olympian Kerry O'Flaherty is currently training in Albuquerque, New Mexico with the ultimate goal of making the Tokyo Games. One year from Kerry's last update, she's working harder than ever to achieve the ultimate goal.
Who knew that 12 months ago life for all of us would come to a halt and the everyday things we took for granted like going for a coffee, meeting friends and going to the gym would be subject to stringent public health restrictions. One thing we learned from the pandemic was to be more thorough with hygiene - especially hand hygiene.
In addition to a balanced and varied diet, I like to increase my vitamin intake during the winter and I do this by taking Irish super supplement Revive Active. While things are not quite back to normal in relation to the pandemic, we can see a light at the end of the tunnel. Hopefully this summer will start to resemble those we enjoyed in the past. The pandemic has affected sport greatly and the Tokyo Olympic Games have been moved to the Summer of 2021. Sport is still not fully back to normal and many travel restrictions are still in place which means qualifying for this year’s Olympic Games is fraught with obstacles.
"If I fall short this year, I can hold my head up high and say I gave myself every chance and put everything I could into this"
In March, my coach and I decided a training camp at altitude was the best start I could give myself. I was fortunate enough to be able to apply to the US Olympic Committee for Elite Athlete access to train in the USA. My dear friend Judy lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico and I have stayed with her while preparing for track seasons since 2012. While Judy (now 80) had been isolating alone at home during the pandemic, she received both vaccines before my most recent visit, and I was tested before travelling, and on arrival in New Mexico. The flight to New Mexico went smoothly and I had two negative tests. After missing so many training camps and competitions, getting away has been amazing and I have thrived out here at altitude and in the better weather conditions.
Things back in Europe have not been great and when the Irish government brought in a mandatory two-week hotel quarantine for US arrivals, I decided to extend my camp and look for races in the US to start the season. It has been hard being away from my family, but Judy is also family and I feel at home with her. We gel pretty well thanks to our love of food and shopping. My decision to stay on in the US meant I would run out of Revive Active, so I was delighted when the company sent me another box to get me through the extra weeks.
I take one Revive Active super supplement every morning 30 minutes before my breakfast and my first run of the day. I believe it supports my energy and my immune system.
The vaccine roll out in the US is open to everyone and as a result, I have received my first jab. All going well I will return home fully vaccinated in May.
Giving myself every chance of making a second Olympics is very important to me. If I fall short this year, I can hold my head up high and say I gave myself every chance and put everything I could into this, making sacrifices and spending my savings.
To make the Games in Tokyo would really defy all the odds that have been stacked against me, from a foot fracture as a result of a freak racing incident in 2019, followed by two surgeries, physiotherapy and rehab to learn to walk properly again, to eventually getting back to running just as the pandemic was spreading across the globe.
My story would definitely make a good book if I did make the Games this year, and even if I don’t, it will still make a good book because I have had some great adventures along the way. I have met so many amazing people and no one can take away the fact I already am, and will always be, an Olympian.