Towards the end of last year, I honestly thought I wouldn’t make it to these Commonwealth Games.

It was deja vu all over again.

In 2014, I qualified for the commonwealth games in Glasgow but was forced to withdraw due to a stress fracture in my back.

I had to give up my spot on the team to someone else, and ultimately miss out on what would have been my first senior international competition.

So you could imagine my emotions when, in September, I was told by team doctors that they had found a stress fracture in my foot and that I would be out of action for an extended period of time.

There was no timeline for my return, but the commonwealth games were considered a long shot.

It all came about when I arrived back to Australia following the world championships in August; shortly upon my return I began experiencing pain in both feet.

Brooke Stratton - exclusive insight

Training through pain is something that has never been an issue for me, so despite the awareness, I opted to continue my planned training program.

Six weeks of consistent running though and the pain was becoming unbearable.

Some days it would be fine, and it wouldn’t affect me. Other days, it was like running on coal.

Those days were becoming more and more frequent as time passed.

Eventually, it came to a point where I couldn’t even run anymore because my foot was so sore.

I was sent for scans, and that’s when it showed that I was battling a stress fracture.

Because of my foot mechanics, I have really high arches and it’s common to experience stress on the balls of my feet.

Also, in long jump, there is so much power and loads going through that area of the body, that the combination of the two resulted in the injury.

So there I was… in a moon boot for six weeks, with doubt being cast over my 2018 campaign.

I honestly thought that would be the end of my commonwealth games chances, marking the second consecutive games that I would be unavailable for because of injury.

But our team doctors refused to completely rule me out, offering me a glimmer of hope in a bid to give me a goal to work towards throughout my rehab.

brooke stratton

I’ve had quite a lot of injuries especially over the last couple of years but the stress fracture in the sesamoid bone was definitely one of the hardest to overcome, partially because of the limited timeframe I had to be declared fit for the games.

At the end of November, I was cleared to lose the moon boot and begin my recovery plan.

The hardest part about recovery is accepting that all the hard work and training you completed prior to the injury, is a distant memory, and that you now have to build everything right back up.

As much as I worked on keeping my emotions in check, there were days when the frustration got the better of me.

I just felt so far behind where I wanted to be, and where everyone else was at ahead of their games preparation.

In December, many of my Australian track & field teammates were notching personal bests, while I was only just getting back to jogging and strength work.

But I just had to stay positive and control what I could control.

All I kept telling myself, was that I was going to give myself the best shot of getting to the Commonwealth Games… no matter what.

If I did not make the cut, it wouldn’t be because I did not give everything I could through the rehab process.

I carried all that weight of expectation on my shoulders, and I handled it the only way I knew how; by taking each step one at a time, with the view of taking the greatest leap I could towards the end.

I’m proud to know it all paid off, and I’ve progressed better than anyone would have expected.

In Sydney, at the national carnival, I jumped 674cm which puts me right up there with the best in the commonwealth, which is incredibly exciting ahead of the games.

Missing out on Glasgow was a hard pill to swallow… So when there was a chance I would have to pull out again, I was absolutely devastated.

But to be where I am now, I’m so extremely proud to be representing Australia and to be part of these athletics team.

I can’t wait to walk into Carrara Stadium, and soak in what will be an amazing atmosphere filled with national supporters.

I want to be really confident knowing that I have done everything I could just to get here.

I worked my butt off just to get into the arena, just to be declared fit.

So I’m out to remind myself that there is a reason why I’m here and to be confident in my ability and know that anything could be possible.