If you can cast you mind back to my last blog at the end of August, I mentioned I was about to start college and expanding on my relationship with sport and physical activity by taking on a course in Sports Coaching, Development and Fitness.
Whilst school was constant, and you could set a routine, college is a little different and I now have to combine my coursework, 2 hours travel a day as well as hold down 4 jobs that help to pay for my skiing and my love of tech.
With only a few weeks until the start of the new winter race season, fitting in as much training as I need to do is difficult but fitness wise, I'm still managing to get a few sessions a week in as part of my course. However, I recognise that I need to do more if I want to stand a chance in the races.
I'm signed up for some racing in January 2018 and I'll see how it goes, I've not had any time on snow this year since April and therefore in January, I'll manage to get a few days on the white stuff prior to my races to regain my "snowlegs".
My first outing will be the OPA Cup races in Germany, it's a busy week that weekend with lots of races in Sweden and Norway so I'm hoping the competition won't be so brutal but I'm using it as another learning session and hope to glean a lot more race experience on the trip.
There is also World Junior Championships the following month, but I may give these a miss this year and focus on the following years when my college life is more settled and I'm a little better prepared for the juggling and plate spinning that is required to keep everything going at once.
I've not been twiddling my thumbs though, I've now managed to pick up a 5th job as a leisure assistant - all the work is zero hours, so I'll take a shift wherever I can get it. Skiing, like most sports, once you get to a certain level it can get very expensive so flights, accommodation etc all have to be paid for by myself. Unfortunately, XC skiing doesn't attract any funding at my level, therefore its a case of maximising earnings during the summer and autumn months to help pay for the skiing in the winter and spring. I did however manage to secure some funding from the Active Aberdeen Partnership which will go some way to helping towards the cost for this coming season so huge thanks goes out to them.
In addition, I've also be featured in a couple of short films which are being circulated. One is working with SportScotland to help promote more female participation in sport. Working with a fantastic team at the Young People's Sports Panel, I've firstly learned just how hard it is for women to return into sport after they leave school along with the peer pressure and barriers that make it hard to get involved. But I've also experienced the boost in confidence and the other long-term benefits that sport can bring which is why I'm encouringing all to take something up, whatever it may be.
The other film I' managed to sneak a cameo role in was as a DJ in a new road safety campaign film by Aberdeenshire Council and the emergency services, the film has only just been released and whilst I've seen the trailer (and the back of my head), the full film (and a little more of my top DJ performance) is being shown to all the schools in Aberdeen and Shire this month. The film has been produced to teach youngster drivers to be safe when they start to drive on their own or with friends. It's quite an horrific film as it shows a real-life scenario and the consequences that happen as a result of a crash - makes you think - which is what it's designed for.
I've still managed to have fun whilst keeping fit through - it's not all boring sessions in the gym or pounding the open road. In September I managed to fit in 3 x 10k runs locally. The first was in my home town which my dad organises, so I was obliged to do that one, then one called the "Beast" which was a fun obstacle course event where I got covered head to toe in mud (photo above) and then I finished off the month with a 10k as part of triathlon team where 2 others did the swim and the cycle whilst I did the run.
I've got a couple of months to cram in a little more training to make sure that I'm in reasonable shape for my races in January - I have a target to achieve so if I manage to hit that I'll be delighted.
Of course, I'll let you know how I get on in the next blog, hopefully I can keep all those plates spinning.