Courtney Hufsmith has had a season filled with uncertainty. It is a situation that many athletes currently face due to the cancellation of events in the wake of COVID-19. But if Hufsmith learned anything this year it is not to let the circumstances get her down.
Hufsmith, a fourth-year Edwards School of Business student, and track and field and cross country star, began the year with clear goals in mind. Throughout her meets as part of the Huskies, her priority was making sure she ended the season in the best position to classify for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
Things don’t always go to plan though — despite her best precautions not to overexert herself, by February she had to refrain from participating in the Canada West finals due to an injury.
While Hufsmith is now happy to “embrace the uncertainty,” that was not her first reaction after seeing her season cut short. She looks back on that time as a period of frustration and doubt.
“This year had been really good up until that point,” Hufsmith said. “The period of uncertainty of what the rehab plans were going to be — that really frustrated me. I just did not have that clarity.”
While at the time Hufsmith might have been alone in feeling sidetracked from her athletic goals, that is certainly not the case anymore. Over the last few weeks, she has witnessed athletic events around the world being cancelled or postponed — even the Olympics.
“This has changed a lot of people’s plans,” Hufsmith said. “I don’t feel like I’m the only one feeling a bit frustrated about this uncertainty.”
Whatever the situation, Hufsmith thinks the best thing to do is “adapting as well as you can and being positive.” And while athletes are always striving to meet their goals — a personal best, a title, a win — Hufsmith says that putting that aside has helped her remember why she trains so hard in the first place: a love for the process.
“A lot of runners and other athletes, we always have all these short-term goals that we’re working towards. But right now everyone’s just gotten back to training and why they really love it,” Hufsmith said. “So I think that’s been a positive aspect of this whole thing.”
And there are still goals to look forward to. For Hufsmith, this pause in competitions presents an unexpected opportunity — another chance at her Olympic dream next year. After pushing too hard and having to sit out for the tail end of the season, she is making sure not to make the same mistake again.
“I’m seeing it as a second chance,” Hufsmith said. “I’m ready to learn from the mistakes [I] made this year heading into the Olympic year. For other people, they were having a great year and now they have to see if they can keep that momentum going.”
To stay motivated during this downtime, Hufsmith is keeping her eyes on her long-time goal of being an Olympian. She recalls that focusing on that goal is also what got her through the uncertainty of her injury — having something to look forward to, she “was disappointed but never really discouraged.”
Meanwhile, she is taking this break from competitions as a time to heal, one day at a time. Her recommendation to other athletes trying to stay motivated during this break is not to put too much pressure on themselves and to get some rest for when things start up again.
“I know from past experience — I’ve peaked at the wrong time,” Hufsmith said. “Just enjoy doing other things right now and do the best you can, put in the work you can, but … don’t worry too much about trying to make it perfect because nobody has it perfect right now.”
Ana Cristina Camacho | News Editor
Photo: Supplied | GetMyPhoto.ca/HuskieAthletics