For Eilish McColgan, London was for learning she’s in Rio to perform

Eilish McColgan, right, with fellow Scottish 5,000m Olympian Laura Whittle. Picture: Getty

Eilish McColgan, right, with fellow Scottish 5,000m Olympian Laura Whittle. Picture: Getty

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It seemed like a very distant dream. Lying on the sofa, recovering from ankle surgery, I scrawled down on a big piece of paper “RIO 2016”.

Underneath, I posted the qualifying times I needed to make the team: 3,000m Steeplechase – 9:45, 5,000m – 15:24, 10,000m – 32:15.

As I hobbled across the room on my crutches and cast, I attached it to the fireplace. It seemed silly at the time.

I had been injured for eight months with a further three months of recovery; walking pain-free was a more realistic goal, but something inside of me couldn’t let Rio go.

Making the Olympic Games is a long and gruelling process. From the moment I placed that paper on my fireplace until the second I crossed the line at my Olympic Trial, the pressure has been brewing up inside me like a water balloon ready to explode.

Almost unbelievably, I fell ill just five days before my Olympic Trial race. I went into full panic mode. Of all the weeks to fall ill, this wasn’t the one.

I backed off training, took obscene amounts of vitamin C, and was alcohol gelling my hands like the world had turned poisonous!

However, waking up on race day, I was strangely calm. Realisation quickly sank in that all the hard work was done – there was nothing more I could do; I was fitter and faster than ever.

All those hours spent aqua-jogging in a circle and sitting on a spin bike for hours on end, staring at a wall during my injury– were all for this one moment. Rise or fall.

Crossing the line at my Olympic Trial was a mixture of relief and happiness; booking my place at my second Olympic Games – Rio 2016.

It hadn’t quite sunk in until a journalist asked me how I felt about becoming a two-time Olympian. Two Olympic Games in two different events – the 3,000m steeplechase and now the 5,000m.

At the age of 25, it’s something I never thought would happen. The Olympic Games is the pinnacle of our sport and I remember as a child being glued to the TV, watching all the athletes glide around the eight lanes of the track. Now, I would be joining them once more.

I head to Rio only five days before my first round, which means I unfortunately miss the Opening Ceremony and don’t get to join the rest of the British squad at the Preparation Camp in Belo.

It will be strange missing out on the full Olympic experience but London 2012 was my opportunity to learn. This time around, I’m four years older, more experienced and here to perform.

Looking towards my race, I would love to make the Olympic final. It’s extremely tough in my event – the 5,000m.

The Ethiopian and Kenyan athletes are a world apart from the Europeans and Americans but, with only three athletes representing each nation, there are definitely a few places in the final up for grabs.

Making an Olympic final in my first year of the event would be a monumental achievement – especially after spending 2015 on the sidelines.

My aim for this year was to get back running, no matter how slow… but to return, faster than ever – I still can’t quite believe it.

I’ll be wearing the Team GB colours with a huge smile on my face, and I know all of my family will be filled with pride watching me compete on the TV.

All the blood, sweat and tears will have been worthwhile the moment I toe the line in Brazil.

Mackie Motors Nissan are proud to support Eilish McColgan on her road to the 2016 Olympic Games. To find out more about Nissan’s partnership with Team GB, visit nissan.co.uk/uniteandexcite

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