Tuesday, 29 January 2019

Self Love - Who are you?

Self Love - Who are you?

Whilst being out in Australia (on a much needed warm and sunny training camp) away from home, away from my normal coach and my friends, I have had a lot of time on my own to reflect on who I am. I've been working on answering this question for years. Some may even still be trying to answer the same question midway through their lifetime. Throughout 2016 was just the start of loving myself and being proud of who that is.

It's now been 2 and half years since I've been 100% in love with me! As clique as it sounds. I'm still adapting as I grow wiser and training becomes more intense with Olympic Selections coming up this year; however I do my best not to lose site of the answer of who I am.

In recent times I have a journal which has been adapted to my own needs to get more organised! In my previous blog "New Year, New Me" I mentioned how getting more organised throughout this winter training has made such a big difference to keeping my mind clear of clutter! Out here in Aus there is plenty of time to get a bit creative and one of my most exciting things to do is to create spider diagrams and make it as pretty as I can. (I just add as many colours and swirly lines as possible!)

My 2019 Journal with a spider diagram
of the things that I make sure I have time for

I was just brainstorming what I make time for to help my happiness, there are many things on this diagram so I don't do all of them every time but what these things give me, is good quality time with my own self (on occasion) and my own thoughts to reflect whether this is for paddling or general life. I always find this hard to spend time on my own because I always want to stay busy with other people, play games, be social, go on mini adventures but I am starting to find that I do need time alone even if I don't want to spend that time isolated. 

Whilst being away I want to make the most of the sun, get a tan, go to places and enjoying the country I'm in. However, I do need to rest and recover for the amount of training I am doing and that has come first for me. As hard as it's been to not stay up and colour in something, being on my phone/laptop, keep doodling in my book or making videos, it has made a difference in my recovery feeling fresh and happy for each training day.

Doodle reminder in my journal

If I asked the question of 'who invested in you?' a couple of years ago I would have found it hard to answer, although now I could write a whole list out in seconds! Doodles like this in my book helps as a small reminder of these little things to keep myself on the right track. Previously I have simply put 'who are you?' and have jotted down who I was. For example; I am a sister, I am an auntie, I am a girlfriend, I am an athlete...things like this really help pull you out to the bigger picture and puts things in perspective for you and allows you to realise what you have in your life.

All of this has helped me concentrate and put effort into what needs to be concentrated on and not allowing me to waste time where it is not needed. Putting things in perspective and at times going against what I want to do which is putting others before me, having to really put the chains on and saying no to help myself rest and be recovered properly for the next training because being an athlete is my 'job'.

It's been a really good quality camp so far and with being half way through I will be making the most of the warm weather before going back home to the reality of the cold. Putting things into perspective has been a big thing and not getting caught up in paddling well 100% all the time but as long as I put into it 100% I'm happy.

What will be on your list if you were to answer that question? Give it a go and leave a comment on how you got on, will love to hear your stories! 

Don't be afraid of who you are
Kimberley x

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

2019 - “New Year, New Me”

“New year, New me”

That’s what they say right? Well I believe if that gets you up in the morning and gets you reaching your goals then sure New You it is...if that’s what you weren’t doing before.

Myself on the other hand, although I had a new perspective throughout 2018 which developed even stronger at the start of winter training last October, that motto does not work for me because I am continuing my initiative into the new year and keeping the habits I have already built. These are just a few of the key things that made a change for myself this winter:
          - Organisation (I was pretty bad at organising everything, get a journal, get creative!)
          - Mindset (I used to lose my head a fair bit in training, mainly because of the high expectations. I had set myself, this time pointing out my strengths and weaknesses to know exactly what my path will be this winter, clear plan =clear mind)
          - Why (I do ask myself each winter “Why? Why am I here? Why am I doing this?” Every time the answer is because I love my job)

Speaking of the word “job” and also “work” I dislike them both because I most certainly don’t see it as that. As clique as it may sound I do find it a privilidge to go paddling everyday rather than sit at a desk staring into the computer screen! That is for sure one thing I hope to not do when I retire from paddling (which won’t be for a long time).

This is just a quick type up of what’s happened in the winter to keep me going, I have noticed such a difference in myself and I wish everyone to feel the lightness I’ve felt the past couple of months because you are just free of negative weight on your shoulders giving freedom in your mind to think about the things you want to think about.

I’d happily chat to people about it and give some insight to help anyone else who is interested! Becoming an athlete rep for the sport has opened eyes to situations that I would not have considered beforehand. Allowing me to put myself into other people’s shoes and taking a zoomed out look on things which has helped me do the same to myself giving me a bit of a different to life I guess!

Let’s hope for a special 2019! And again give me a message or leave a comment if anyone is interested in talking about this realisation further or anything else they wish for me to chat about in this blog!

New Year New Me? I guess writing blogs will be the new me (in addition to all the great things already!)

Sunday, 24 July 2016

It's been a while...


It's been a while since I've written anything, but I'm making a new start on it!

This year I have already completed Senior Europeans, 3 World Cups and the U23 World Championships. Next up I have U23 Europeans and the last 2 World Cups!

I wanna talk about what's happened the past year....made the senior team beginning of last year in both boats which was a major step up from not making the U23/Senior team in C1 in 2014 but after the kick up the butt I had from that year I became determined to push for better things and they came!

Results 2015

The first highlight was becoming Senior European Champion in C1 after a difficult year to come back and get that title was awesome however, my best experience from last year was the Lee Valley Senior World Championships....nothing gets better than a big event with a home crowd. Although I did not get the results I would have hoped for, 4th in C1 and 10th in K1 after a late 50 second penalty was put on pushing me from SILVER to 10th I was still very happy with the event as a whole. I did come away with a SILVER medal with Lizzie Neave and Fiona Pennie in the team event which was awesome! 

It was then time for Olympic Selection and Senior team selection for 2016 to finish the season off. It was a stressful event but I was glad I had managed to keep good form to make the team in both boats again. It was then time for my ACL reconstruction!! Lots of rehab and I was back in the boat within 3 months!


It's now 2016, a busy year this was going to be with 8 international races, long weeks away with training camps around them all. Watching U23/Junior selection was exciting as I had not to worry about racing well and could train through the event as I had been pre-selected through my 2015 results. There was some awesome tight racing, the most memorable part was seeing the young talent from the TID programs set up 3 years ago in Lee Valley come through and race for the Junior teams. Beth Forrow was the most successful to make the team not only just but being the 1st boat in the C1W, there was also another hopefully Phoebe Spicer who was also doubling up like Beth, making 1st reserve for C1W. Beth and Phoebe were also 3/4th reserve boat for the kayak team, they are definitely ones to look out for in the future! There are not just these two girls, there are many others that I have had the privilege to coach a few times who are always having fun on and off the water making the environment that little bit more cheerful!

There have been a few ups and downs already this season, shown some awesome paddling but also shown that I am not consistent....YET! We won teams at the Senior Euro's in C1 and K1 which happened to be Fiona's first time too to win the teams at that event. The last time GB had won that race was at Holme Pierrepont, Nottingham 2009 Senior Europeans with Lizzie Neave, Louise Donnington and Laura Blakeman. I remember raising their flag at that race so to be on the other end of it felt awesome! 

U23 Worlds has been the most recent race to this blog. I was excited for this race to deliver runs as close to my plans and as consistently through the rounds as possible. I also had the pleasure of mentoring Beth Forrow at her first international race! 

Coming away from that race with a SILVER medal in C1, one place better than last time, was awesome to then go on and win the teams with Jasmine Royle and Eilidh Gibson was even better. Although coming 4th in kayak was a little devastating as I had come 4th in Brazil the year before, though we placed better in K1 teams with a 6th place!

Soooooooo happy that I was selected for the 2016 BOA Ambitions Program to take a trip to Rio to experience the Olympic Games environment and I will write another blog after it! Looking forward to seeing what it involves!! 

I'm also very happy to welcome Nationwide Windows and Doors to my journey towards the next Olympic Games!



Friday, 31 October 2014

Time is Fragile

So time itself cannot be wasted right? It goes for most things because you never know when it will stop therefore you have to make every bit of that time you have and take it in your own hands and make it your own.

This weekend time was fragile making sure that every process for the race was there and I did not waste any time that I had on getting myself distracted away from the goal I was there to do.
But just moving slightly away from that we were racing at Holme Pierrepont which was built in 1986 and then re designed in 2008/09 in time for the Senior European Championships that year. The Junior World Championships had also been held there in 1995.

Back in that time the courses length in 1 run was around 2-3 minute long! With boats 4 meters long when now they are around 90-120 seconds long on average with boats being 3 and half meters long. The courses themselves then were long, open and 25 gates at each race but now they are tight and open and between 18-23/24 gate so time has changed since those days.

Although the race at the weekend was long and difficult as the technical aspects within the course were tricky and the open bits were very physical and draining but all in all it was very exciting for those spectating and competing...or at least it was for me.

I felt that there was a slight bit of pressure on me as I had won the last race which was held there and with more competition here I felt that it was going to be difficult to do the same again in kayak as well as canoe. But all in all I love that feeling as it drives me to fight harder.


After hearing what everyone thought of the course there was no chance of it feeling great as the technical bits were fairly tricky and the physical parts were pretty hard so it was going to be interesting.
3...2...1...GO! And then racing was underway, I never think at the start to cruise it cause I have 4 runs to do so I should save my energy because whats the point of being there when you do not go full out! So I went for it as I normally do and it did not feel amazing. I felt unstable and all over the place and I was really exhausted as I sprint to the finish line with a splash.
As the day went on and I did another run my energy levels went up and my mood went up too cause I love to paddle and it gets easier to move as the day goes on.
Last 2 runs down the course to go and I was feeling determined to put a satisfying run down and so I went battling myself down the whole course another 2 times finishing each run with a splash at the bottom.
I had finished 1st in C1 making it 8/8 races that I have been to wins which is a great achievement for me and my K1 run was magical! Well not complete wands and spells but it felt amazing and I saw that I had come 2nd behind Fiona Pennie who had won a silver medal at the Senior Worlds only just over a month before by a small margin of 0.16!

Brilliant fun, enjoyable, awesome racing went on that day and even more excitement this weekend at Lee Valley for the British Open with an incredible total of 112 entries from outside the UK with 136 being UK paddlers it will be a very exciting race as there are Olympic Champions, World Champions at all ages it may as well be a World Cup!
Now to use time wisely until tomorrow! #cannotwait

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Effort = Reward!!!!

So everyone can say that if you put effort into something then you get a reward right? Well it can mean for everything to cooking, cleaning, exercise, work and even sports. Since moving to uni I've experienced this from cooking to sports. Cooking well, I have been lucky enough that I actually know how to cook past the basics like I cannot beat a good 'spag bol' or a tuna, pasta and sweetcorn meal. I do know that the more effort into going into the meal, the better that it is going to taste and the more of a satisfied feeling you get because you are a student trying to cook !

On the sport side of things, putting effort within training sessions and little 1%'s outside of the sport such as nutrition, gym etc it will reward you with success and make you a step closer to a dream, aim or a goal.
My goal at the Nottingham race last weekend which was the 6th premier race of the season was to try and get that first win I have been wanting for some time. After coming 2nd a fair few times over the past 2 years it would be amazing to get it.

So the Finals were on Sunday and I had won the semi-finals in both K1 and C1 so I was feeling confident in myself that I had it in me so I had my family there supporting me along with my childhood best friend and her mum which was really nice cause it was the first time they've come to watch me race.
I put the best runs I could have done that day and I took the win in C1 first, then having to rush around after with only around 25 minutes between my final runs in each boat. The adrenaline was surely pumping and I really get pumped off that feeling which made me feeling excited for my final K1 run.

The run itself was good but close in some places but I kept it in as much control as I could and when I sprinted to the finish and crossed the beam I saw the time and screamed with excitement! I had just WON my first EVER premier race in K1!!! After a few seconds I finally got the aim I hoped for.
                               (straight after my final run)

I had won the Ruth Holdway Memorial trophy which is a great honor as I did know Ruth and she was a very friendly character but very sadly is not with us today. R.I.P

(copyright-Neil Proctor Photography)
(Me-winner K1W (C1W), Joe Clarke-winner K1M and Ryan Westley-winner C1M)

Thank you to Stafford and Stone CC for holding such an awesome event!! Roll onto the next! Oh and the rest of freshers here at Hertfordshire University!!

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

The Uni Move

So I'm moving to Uni. The best part of my life. Or so that's what other people say about their University life. 

Making sure that you have everything before hand is a nightmare. Questionnaires got to be filled in, certain forms filled out and printed out, online profiles, parking permits, household things and also knowing how to exactly get there! 

This week has been such a rush due to me having a race at the weekend of the move in dates up in Nottingham which is 115 miles away from my university! And I have to go home which is half way there to get all my uni things and pack it into my car and then go down. There are also the goodbyes to my family.  

Then there is freshers! Something that every first year looks forward to when going to university. I am certainly looking forward to the acts that are going to be there :
We've got Example, Fuse ODG, Wheatua, Deaf Havana, Becky Hill, Pendulum, Sigma and Matrix and Futurebound! 
It is going to be mad 🙌

It will be a very exciting time for me to meet new people and to be based at a training facility as I have always had to drive over an hour to the nearest white water centre. Living in Rugby though wasn't so bad as I was in the middle of everywhere. To get to the main venues for the races it was around 1-3 hours. The only ones that are far to travel too  are Teeside, Grandtully and Washburn.

It's now time for me to train and rest up for the next Premier race this weekend in Nottingham to then travel down to University on the Sunday straight after the race! 

Bye for now :) x

Thursday, 18 September 2014

The Beginning

So this is me, Kimberley Katie (Yes that is my middle name) Woods. I'm 19 years of age, 2 brothers and 1 sister who are all younger. I have just finished college coming away with a National Diploma in Sport and moving to university in under 2 weeks to study Sport Studies!

(Text confirming)

I compete in a fast adrenaline sport called 'Canoe Slalom' and some people would think that us slalom paddlers are crazy because we go down white water rapids through green and red poles in the fastest time possible! 
I love slalom even though it is a mad sport, there are some very exciting times and some not so exciting. But at the end of the day us canoeists do it because we love it. Whats the point of doing anything if you don't enjoy it?

Recently I have been in Nottingham training until the big move on the 28th September, and have also competed at Tryweryn in North Wales for the 4th and 5th Premier Race of the season last week to which I came out with two wins and two seconds which is my seasons best for both boats; but I am always hungry for more.

On the weekend that I move to Hertfordshire University is the next race for me which is in Nottingham and I am very hungry for both wins at that weekend but you cannot control what others do so I am focusing purely on my training to give me the best edge for the race.

So this is the beginning to a blog that would be updated as often as I can to keep my fellow followers up to date with what I am doing in and out of canoeing! 

Talk Soon x