By Angela Giddens
Triathlon season is short in Ontario. We train all year for 3 months of racing. With this training comes lots of planning, sacrifices and goal setting but as we all know too well, life doesn’t always go as planned.
A nagging hamstring/ piriformis injury had me modifying my training early on this year, but that was ok. I knew I had lots of time to get back on track before race season and the ITU World Championship in Switzerland in August. I like to think I’ve gotten smarter over the years and I know enough to listen to my body. By May, I was finally getting some speed sessions in and I was feeling like I was back on track. I was looking forward to racing and was even feeling confident enough in my training to register for the Barrelman Triathlon.
Life had other plans for me though, a personal crisis left me emotionally and physically drained. I knew then that my race season was not going to go as planned and I was faced with two options, throw in the towel or re-adjust my expectations. For me, triathlon is a part of who I am. I couldn’t imagine not having it as part of my life so I decided to throw out my training plan and my goals for the year and try to be happy with what I was able to do. Swimming, biking and running became more therapeutic in nature. I let my body and mind dictate what I was capable of on any given day.
Before I knew it, it was the week of my first race, The Rose City long course, I had not put in the training I’d wanted and I was doubting if I’d be able to complete the race. A run that week reminded my that my piriformis also wasn’t sure if I’d be able to make it through the race. With a bunch of coaxing from my family and friends, I packed up and headed down to Welland. My swim and bike went better than expected, thanks in large part to the amazing race venue, but my run was less than stellar. I kept having to walk and stretch, I’ve never considered pulling out of a race but I sure did that day. It’s funny the little things that will motivate you to push on. An elderly gentleman who was volunteering at an aide station with some kind words, a gentleman who ran beside me for a bit and lots of ice all helped get me through to the finish. While it was not the race I’d envisioned at the end I was happy to have pushed through. Now, as I prepare for Gravenhurst this weekend, I know I’m still not where I want to be but I know I will get through the race and hopefully this time finish with a smile on my face.
We all know we all race for different reasons, we all have our own goals. But what I have learnt this year is that we need to be prepared for those reasons and goals to change. Racing, as with life, doesn’t always go as planned. It’s up to us to push through and make the most of the hand we are dealt and remember to smile at the finish!