24th August 2016

Jo Butterfield Blogs Ahead Of Holding Camp In Belo Horizonte

I can’t quite believe it, but I fly out to Brazil in the next couple of days!

The last few weeks have passed so quickly and I’m itching to start competing already. Seeing the Olympians posting pictures of Rio on social media, and watching them perform so well on TV has only increased my excitement and I just can’t wait to get going now. I’m a massive sports fan and tried to watch as much of it as possible. I’m sure it has given all the Paralympians a massive boost to see Team GB compete so well and hopefully their performances can spur us on to do even better!

It has been a month since I competed and won at the Müller Anniversary Games in London, my last major competition before Rio. It’s one of the biggest events on the athletics calendar in my opinion because the British crowd is one of the noisiest in the world, which is almost a general consensus from all the other athletes as well. I was honoured to compete in front of such an amazing atmosphere.

It was the first occasion I have competed against all my rivals at once so that was the first time I’ve gone in to a competition knowing I really have to pull something out the bag. They performed really well and it took some good throwing from me to win. It was great to be put out my comfort zone like that, usually I start a competition feeling quite confident, so it was a new experience and quite an important one as it will be similar to the situation in Rio.

The build up to the competition wasn’t perfect as my transport to London didn’t go 100% to plan and I was hanging about a little bit too long and I was tired going in to the event. That didn’t worry me too much though as I knew I’ve been able to compete well in the past when things haven’t been perfect in the run up.  You have to be realistic and realise this will happen quite often, so to have the knowledge that you can produce when it matters helps a lot.

It was a great feeling to get the win in front of a home crowd and in particular because I was competing against my American rivals for the first time this season. From a confidence point of view I thought it was great to get the win and assert my authority as the number one ranked thrower.

It turned out to be a longer day than planned however as straight after competing I went through the mixed zone and was pulled over by doping control who I was more than happy to cooperate with. They were really nice and went through the process; it was just unfortunate that I ended up being there for a total of six hours! It doesn’t usually take that long so it was a little bit frustrating as I didn’t get to watch any of the athletics in the afternoon and it meant there was a bit of a rush for my flight back to Scotland. It comes with the territory though and it’s good to see the doping control processes in action and to be reassured that athletes are getting tested regularly.

It was a miracle that I managed to make my plane home with minutes to spare and the flight home gave me the opportunity to reflect on the competition itself and how well I performed. I was obviously pleased to win, but it was great to produce such a consistent performance with Rio in mind which has given me a lot of confidence.

After returning home I was due a few well-earned days off after the competition, but I fell ill with an ear infection which totally floored me. I’ve not had one since I was five and I felt like I could have chopped my head off! Although it was frustrating not to be able to train, having the break from training for a week gave me the opportunity to reassess my goals with only a few weeks to go until Rio. As an athlete, you hate having rest time, but it is important and sometimes our bodies have a way of telling us that you need to take a break. It gave me the opportunity to spend some time with my niece, going to the cinema and spending time with the people who support you most.

We are trying to keep training as simple as possible now until Rio. I have my training mapped out and it will be similar to my preparation for the Anniversary Games.  We are still focussing on strength at the moment, and I’m spending a lot of time in the gym, but as soon as we arrive in Rio, the sessions will become a lot lighter and will concentrate on my speed.

I have been overwhelmed by the support I have received so far and can’t wait to share the rest of my journey with you all!