Getting back to fitness: Tough times


It’s fair to say that I haven’t had a great time recently. A series of unavoidable circumstances have conspired against me forcing me to place training and racing to the back of my mind for quite some time now. I would even go as far as to say that I considered quitting triathlon, the load on my mind felt so overwhelming:

  • The planned move to New Zealand, which happened very fast, 7 months from first thought, to departure
  • The knee injury rehab, surgeon tells me I should consider quitting running
  • Executing the move, alone, in a new country with a new job that was very different to how I expected
  • Issues with payroll, not paying me for the first few weeks
  • Being without hubby for 2.5 months
  • Finding out my mother had cancer, she called me a few days after OH arrived, and died 2 weeks later, before my plane landed in London, I was on my way back there at the time.

Sufficed to say I have had a lot to deal with. Training has taken even more than a back seat. In fact, I ran for the first time in a month, the day after my mother’s funeral. I know that I am more unfit than I have been for a long time. When I said this, hubby reminded me of the original mountain I climbed, from never having run at all, to getting onto team GB that first time.

The mountain at times seems way too high to climb. I was watching my friends compete in the European triathlon championships in June, a race that I had to pull out of: I was team captain. I am watching the build up to the world champs this year in London, knowing that I will not be there: probably my only chance ever, at a home world champs. Even if I considered New Zealand to be home, they only had the championships last year, just before I arrived.

I have deliberated for some time about what I should do next. Mum would be super cross if I quit on her account. All her friends have told me how proud she was of me, and they have all seen the GB photos that she has shown them with pride. I had no idea.

I am struggling to focus. There are so many things bothering me. I have struggled to get myself out the door at all at times. I suppose its understandable, part of the grieving process. But as Dad says, there is still a life to live, and I want to continue to make her and Dad proud.

Is the mountain too high?

Of course not. No mountain is too high, unless you allow yourself to believe it. I have, as I said in her tribute, reinvented myself several times already, I can do it again. The parameters have changed this time, from weight loss to knee injury. I need to develop an understanding of my new limitations, the things that work, don’t work, and how I can get around it.

I am not an elite athlete, sometimes life gets in the way, and that is ok. A favourite quote of mine, that I have as a R2H screen saver on my phone is this:

Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond to it.

What now?

I cannot change the past, there is no point living on what ifs, and what once was. I may get the running fitness back, I may not, but I will not know unless I give it a good shot, give it time, and keep an open mind.

I have been told that I may in fact have some skill that I didn’t know about on the bike, in the form of track cycling. If I can save up and get my own track bike, I am going to keep working at the track cycling, with an aim of getting onto the New Zealand team next year. Early signs from people in cycling Southland suggest this is a very realistic goal.

Meanwhile, in triathlon terms, I can no longer compete for team GB. I could, however, compete for team NZ. That would be weird! So, the longer term goal is to maintain the training, and simply keep an open mind and see what happens. My aim will be to do the world qualifier next February if the training goes ok. Then, who knows, I may well have a silver fern suit to add to my red white and blue one!

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