Katie Vincent

World Champion Sprint Canoer

A Redefined Outlook


It is the first cold day of the season, its November, and I am stuck somewhere between reminiscing my 2017 season and getting ready for the next one. To recap my summer, I defended my U23 C1 200m title in July, became a Senior World Champion in C2 500m with Laurence Vincent-Lapointe at the end of August, collected a handful of world cup medals, and a world’s best time. But now, I am struggling for the first time in my athletic career; the day-to-day has been getting harder and harder even though things are still going very well. For as long as I can remember I have been living my life goal to goal, with every goal accomplished a new goal is set. But I am stuck at a crossroads, how can I push myself for the next five or ten years of my career when I have accomplished so many of my long-term goals in just a few short years. My main goal is to medal for Canada at the 2020 Olympics, but that’s 2 years and thousands and thousands of strokes away. What I am missing now is my day-to-day motivation, the daily fuel to my Olympic flame.

“You need to take some time for yourself” was part of a text I received earlier this week after struggling to get through a regular training session. I agreed. I am stuck in this monotonous training rut and I have never felt this way before. My goals and dreams have pushed me through my regular struggles for years but I can no longer find the same motivation. In these few days I am taking away from training, I am putting the pieces of my puzzle back together. I started by asking myself a lot of questions, like: “is this what I want to be doing?”, “are you happy?”, “what if you do all this work and fail at the end?”, “what is my purpose in sport?”. With so much success at a young age, I’m finding it much harder to look into the future. I need a shift in my outlook, a new perspective on sport and training. If I am committing myself to paddling for the next ten years I want to be doing it for myself and with the right mindset.

I have never been afraid to risk anything to achieve my goals and I have also never been afraid to come up short, for me now, its more about the person I will become along the way, medal or no medal, Olympics or no Olympics. I have built an athletic career using goal setting, hard work, dedication, and all the things that come from applying those traits day after day, year after year, race after race. As an athlete you spend hours upon hours of training for only minutes of competition every year. When you’re young you have an entire career ahead of you, but as you get older there is more importance and pressure placed on results. Learning to deal with these new pressures and changes has been part of my recent struggle, but this shift in my outlook has given me much more clarity. I feel ready to attack the next stage of my career with as much resilience and determination as ever before. 

Until next time,

-KV

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