From the ages of 14 to 28, I spent several hours every day training in pursuit of my Olympic gold medal dream.

Each day started with a 2-hour intense row and finished with a 2-hour session of either cardio cross training (run, bike, swim, boxing) or strength and conditioning work in the gym. In the middle of the day there was often another shorter, technique-focused rowing session and some active recovery (ice bath, spa, physio, massage, stretching session). And then there was work and study to fit in as well as all the other stuff that you have to do when you are 14-28 years old.

It was a pretty huge time commitment.

And, disappointingly it didn’t lead me to the lofty heights of Olympic gold. (Side note from Tara – She did achieve a bronze medal and get to the Olympics twice though!) I was pretty devastated about this for a long time. But, all these years later, I believe that my rowing career was not really about the rowing or the medals at all. It was about the lifelong friendships I made, and all the valuable lessons I learnt along the way, like:

  • Working in a team
  • Setting and working towards goals
  • Staying motivated during the daily grind
  • Time management
  • Dealing with pressure
  • Coping with disappointment, celebrating success
  • Being accountable for my own results

All these skills have really helped with my transition into full time work, while juggling the demanding role of Project Manager for my busy family.

Olympic-level organisation and time management is key to getting it all done. From the moment I wake up until the time when I walk the kids to school at 8.40am, I am on the go doing all the household duties – helping kids get their brekky (and sometimes nagging them to get dressed), packing school lunches, cooking dinner, doing dishes, washing and hanging out clothes. But all that effort makes the rest of the day run much more smoothly. It means I can work in peace between 9am-3pm knowing that when the kids walk through the door after school (or their various after-school activities), dinner can be served and I can get back to work!