Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Lessons Learned at the Welland Triathlon

Just before I left for France, I did the Welland Triathlon (750m swim, 30km bike, and 7.5km run).

In truth, it was a weekend I was dreading. I was feeling worn-out after a busy week of work. It was Father's Day weekend, so I was feeling emotionally fragile. And my Nana, who had been battling cancer for the last year, was not doing well. I knew that leaving the country for 3 weeks likely meant that this weekend would be my last with her. So needless to say, racing wasn't much of a priority.

I drove to the race that morning with a heavy-heart. A huge part of me just wanted to turn around and head back to bed. But I came up with this crazy scheme (*typical*) to do a Half Ironman this year, so I felt all this pressure to try out my wetsuit, practice my transitions, and get a better feel for the whole "Race-Day Triathlon" process. I begrudgingly unpacked my car, got numbered, and set-up my transition area.

The day was cold, overcast, and extremely windy, making the prospect of racing even less enticing as we all stood around shivering in our wetsuits.

The race was nothing special in terms of time. I struggled in the water and finished my swim in 19:01. After battling headwinds on the bike I entered the transition after 1:15:35. And I crossed the finish line after 46:14 on the run. Finishing the course 6 minutes slower than last year with a time of 2:28:28.

I did learn a lot of things out the course that day though.
The most important thing being, that I am just not up for a Half Ironman this year.

I had set this lofty goal shortly after losing my Dad because I needed something to strive for. I needed a positive outlet for my pain and my grief. And I needed something in that moment to hope for and to dream about.

But the truth is, I have spent the last 6 months stressing about that same goal. And burning myself out trying to balance my training load, while also putting my life back together.

The pressure has been ratcheted up so high over the last few years, and much of it beyond my control. It has been hard to keep it all together. And I am definitely still trying to heal. Between the stress, and the grief - it has been hard to catch my breath. But these moments, as always, have also taught me some very important lessons.

Last year's surgery was a reminder to cherish my health while I have it. I will spend the rest of life battling Long QT and the complications that go along with that treatment plan, so I know I need to take advantage of these moments of health. But I have also learned that while I chose to honour my body with training, I can also reward it with rest and balance. And a little more balance is what I need right now. 

And losing my Dad has been a very harsh reminder about what is truly important. And right now, at this moment, I would rather spend more time with my family and friends than I would training.

At this point I am not physically ready to tackle the 70.3 distance. And I am not mentally in a place where I can push to prioritize it.

So in a very un-Krysten-like fashion I am choosing to step back and slow down. This year not going to be the year of the Half Ironman. I am still going to continue to train. The hubby and I are going train for the Toronto Marathon together. And I am going to do a few more shorter distance triathlons. But more importantly I am going breathe and find my balance again.

Love Your Favourite Darwinian Fail