Cara Koenen: My Day In Isolation

This week I wanted to bring my focus back into the present. Back to *drumroll, please*… isolation! (Come on girl, get some new material!)

Why have I decided to document my typical day in isolation? To provide a bit of background; the last week or so has definitely been a tricky one. I have become painfully aware of my itch to get back out on court, university exams are fast approaching and there seems to be an insurmountable distance between myself and my family.

So, in an attempt to reset the balance in my life, I have made the executive decision to tackle this difficult period one day at a time. Now, I am a creature of habit so there are good odds that the day that I have chosen to document here may look suspiciously like almost every other day… Don’t judge me.

  1. Get Moving

Lately, the first thing on my agenda as soon as I wake up has been to get moving. Immediately. At this stage, the ‘powers that be’ are still working through a number of scenarios for our 2020 netball season. Although I have not lost sight of my goals, after weeks of training in isolation, my motivation has honestly started to waver. I’m not surprised either! I mean, I chose to play a team sport for a reason. In all seriousness, my way to tackle this has been to get out of bed and train as I normally would. Today, I decided to wake up before the sun and head down to the track for a running session — a Laura Langman special (hand me all of the foam rollers and Voltaren because – ouch). Between a few chilly downpours of rain, we smashed out a combination of 400m, 300m, 200m and 100m efforts.

  1. Coffee

Once we had packed up, we headed up to a local coffee spot to refuel. As I believe I am still not mature enough to appreciate what I am told is ‘the wonderful taste of coffee’, I grabbed a takeaway hot chocolate for the road.

  1. Breakfast

It’s now time for breakfast. I am sure the team dietitian would be pleased to know that I try to get an appropriate hit of protein and carbohydrates in as quickly as I can after completing any session. This is obviously extremely important for recovery and to refuel, in order to make it through the remainder of the morning. Anyone else spend most of their day wondering what they are going to eat at their next meal? Just me? For breakfast this morning I decided to whip up a bacon, egg and spinach bagel.

Photo: Cara Koenen training before COVID-19 restrictions

  1. Zoom Catch-Ups & Study

A zoom catch-up with my wonderful netball family and a study session is next on the agenda. I like to begin my final study efforts with plenty of time before my exam date to avoid any unnecessary stress and last-minute panic. The exam I am currently studying for is Forensic DNA Profiling. Hot tip: study something and pick subjects you love or have a genuine interest in, because if you do, learning will no longer be a chore – it should be something you look forward to. Life’s too short to invest time in something you hate doing.

  1. Lunch

After a few solid hours of study, it’s time to give my brain a breather and organise some lunch. My regular these days has been a banana + mango/berry smoothie with granola. After many attempts I believe I have finally perfected my recipe. Very exciting, I know. For anyone who’s interested, this consists of; 1 banana, 1 cup of frozen berries/frozen mango, 1 cup lactose-free milk, ice, topped up with a bit of cold water, honey and a scoop of protein. I blend all of this up in the Nutri-bullet and add my favourite granola — voilà, lunch is served.

  1. More Study, Shots at Goal & Dog Walks

To wrap up my afternoon, I do a little bit more study, set up the netball hoop in the backyard for about 45 minutes of shooting practice, and take my dog, Lola, for a walk. As long as it’s not pouring with rain, a walk with my dog is usually a non-negotiable in terms of my daily ritual. This is definitely one of the ways I choose to ‘fill my cup’ *wink, wink*.

  1. Dinner

Another favourite part of my day is dinner time (I feel like I am starting to see a pattern around how excited I get for meal times). The menu for this evening included a hearty bowl of spaghetti bolognese. Because I have been feeling a little flat lately and we are heading into winter, I decided to jam-pack my bolognese with vegetables (mushrooms, tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, carrot, capsicum, onion, garlic & ginger) and some lean mince to give my immune system a little boost. Now, we should be fuelled up and ready to do this all again tomorrow.

  1. Houseparty with my Family

To finish off what I believe has been a pretty productive day, I managed to jump on a ‘Houseparty’ call with my family for some company over our dinners — something I would highly recommend for those of you missing your loved ones. I have a younger brother in Melbourne, my parents up on Magnetic Island, a sister in Longreach (QLD) and another [sister] in Brisbane. Since it could still be a hot minute before we are all back in the one place, I think it is so important that we all make the time to catch-up. Plus, it has been a pretty decent remedy for any home-sickness I have been feeling recently.

And so, ends a typical day in isolation for me.

Until next time,

Cara Koenen