Why it was OK to give up triathlon

bike-side-black.jpgQuite often I get comments such as

it is a shame you had to give up triathlon, and quit team GB

so, today I decided to explain why it is OK that this has happened, and my life was forced to take another path.


Until 2007 I was quite happy with my life. This book changed it forever.

I suddenly realised that I had many things I wanted to achieve and only one life to achieve them in, and the only thing stopping me was ME.

I represented GB for 4 consecutive years, and had made it onto the team for a 5th year, but unfortunately had to withdraw and ultimately retire from triathlon all together. But that is ok. But WHY is that ok?

Many people have heard the saying

when one door closes, another one opens

Its much more than that. In 2012 I knew, weeks before the Auckland world championships that there was something major wrong with my knee and I needed surgery. I didn’t know at that stage that it would be my last triathlon.

I pre-qualified at Israel for the 2013 European championships in Turkey because I came fourth. (the collapse was worth it!) Alas, I was forced to move to New Zealand in April 2013 (rather than the original plan: September 2013), meaning I had to withdraw. A small blessing, from what I found out next.

Take 1: A door slammed shut

The move closed down the continuation of triathlon for team GB. I couldn’t take up my PQ place in Turkey. I was devastated. I was already forced with the fact that I would at some stage have to decide when was the right time to stop. But, what would I do instead? I battled the post op rehab, and used aqua-jogging extensively. It didn’t work. I couldn’t get back up to speed. I went to seek advice. I was told to stop running or I was simply accelerating forwards in time the day that the knee replacement will have to take place. That was it. The end of running, the end of triathlon.

Take 2: An opening opportunity

The move to New Zealand gave me the opportunity to step off the triathlon wheel, bowing out gracefully at the top with my last race being a World Championships grand final (in what is now my home country too). In that race, despite being in serious pain, (the surgeon didn’t believe I would finish) I was not last in my age group and I was not last Brit in my age group. A very proud exit from the sport.

It also gave me the chance to completely redesign and reassess my life, my sport, and my future plans. Triathlon is an all consuming sport. I have now been given the opportunity to focus on other things, get my life back, spend time with family, and spend time doing things I enjoy. I wouldn’t have chosen to stop, I’m a fighter. The situation presented before me has given me the opportunity to look at life completely differently, while saying to me ‘that’s ok’.

I have been able to take up track cycling, I have started rowing (both sports I am learning from scratch) I am even finding joy and fun in tramping, now I have a whole new wilderness to explore. All of these I can compete in to National Masters level once I am good enough. An opportunity I simply wouldn’t have had before.

Why is it OK to give up triathlon?

Because, in doing so, I have been shown a whole raft of new sporting experiences and life opportunities that I can take part in, none of which would have even come up had I continued.

I door didn’t just open, it was a whole new life change.

One Comment on “Why it was OK to give up triathlon

  1. Pingback: Top of each category: most popular posts of 2014 | Melanie Ryding – Ryding2Health BLOG

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