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'Last year was just about getting to 2012 in one piece'

Kelly Sotherton April 13, 2012
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Since my last column I have been preparing for my first heptathlon of the season in three weeks' time - I have to admit I am feeling a bit nervous because it will be my first competitive heptathlon in over three-and-a-half years!

My sole priority is to hit the Olympic qualification mark to put myself in the running for selection for Team GB - I don't want to do another heptathlon if I don't have to.

I'm more anxious than excited at the moment, but I am looking forward to competing again. It is quite early in the season and I am not going to do any kind of competition before so I am just putting the finishing touches to my preparation.

Training has been going OK. It is always hard to have a completely uninterrupted winter training block and I did have a few niggles in February and March but I am pleased to be in a healthy state ahead of the start of the season.

Obviously I am not at my peak yet, but the goal is for that to come in August. It may be that I fall short of my expectations, but I wouldn't be doing this if I didn't think I wasn't going to do well. My coach would say something if he had any concerns.

I did my last competitive heptathlon in September 2008, but it's not something you forget how to do. Dean Macey didn't compete for three years between the 2001 World Championships in Edmonton and then he finished fourth in the 2004 Athens Olympics.

I've seen what Dean has achieved, and there are others who have defied the odds. Their stories have been well publicised. My bronze in Athens was a surprise because it was my first major competition. London 2012 is likely to be my last - who says I can't do it again?

"I wasn't trying to set the world alight in the 400m, it was always just a stepping stone to get me here"

The hardest thing over the past 12 months has been watching other people compete. Having to watch from the studio in Istanbul was tough, and missing out on the World Championships last summer was incredibly hard. Ask any injured sportsman the same question and they will say the same.

I have no regrets over how the last year has gone. Injuries happen so there is no point getting hung up about it.

I was fortunate last year that I was able to run and get through the season. What people don't understand is that last season was about getting to 2012 in one piece - if I had done heptathlon last season my body wouldn't have been in a position to cope with competition this year.

Even though I didn't compete that much, I was able to stay in the sport. I wasn't trying to set the world alight in the 400m, it was always just a stepping stone to get me here. I wouldn't change anything about how I went about it. Obviously you make mistakes, but I am a firm believer that you learn from those mistakes, move forward and become a better athlete as a result - the trials and tribulations make you stronger.

I gave up chocolate for Lent so I had a bit of a chocolate fest on Easter Sunday, but now there will be no more chocolate for me until after my heptathlon in May. Hopefully I will have some more Easter egg in celebration for hitting the qualifying mark.

Kelly is an ambassador for sports performance brand, ASICS.

Kelly Sotherton is a GB Olympic medalist

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Kelly Sotherton is a GB Olympic medalist Kelly Sotherton is an Olympic and World Championship medal winning athlete. Writing for ESPN, Sotherton will give a personal insight into her life as an athlete.