Wednesday, August 10, 2011

London Report


A little late but here it goes…
The hip injury that forced me out of the Edmonton world cup ended up sticking around for our entire pre-London training camp in France. Pulling out of Edmonton was a good decision, but it didn’t miraculously cure my hip. I still had a frustrating injury to deal with, and I foolishly thought that a few days rest would have me back up and running again. My body had other plans, and I went through a difficult 3 weeks of highs and lows, seeing very little progress forward. I like going to training camps and working so hard that I go to bed exhausted every day, but this camp was very different. Almost every ride I did was “easy”, and my longest run was just 2 days before we left for London. 5 x (2min run, 1 min walk). Fantastic.

Things started to turn around on the last few days of the camp. I could walk and bike pain-free for the first time in a long while, and my mini-runs didn’t aggravate anything. I’m not sure what made me think that I could possibly race a full triathlon on Saturday, but my competitiveness and love for racing made me determined to at least start the race. Of course my expectations were much lower than usual, and I promised to pull out of the race the second that I felt that I was making the injury worse. For some reason I thought that just maybe I could squeeze out a top 8 to secure a spot on the Olympic team. The truth is, coming into the most competitive race of the year severely underprepared is a bad idea. Also, going into a race uncertain if you’ll be able to finish makes it very hard to mentally prepare for success. Still, I wanted to be familiar with the course incase I’m back for the Olympics next year and take as many positives out of the experience as I could.

So I started. And I finished. My hip was pain-free on the run so I was determined to finish the race, because dropping out at this point would have only been because I was doing badly, and this is not a good reason to pull out of a race. I heard someone say as I ran by “I’ve never seen her run that slow before!”… Yes, that’s how slow I was running. I could hear people’s full conversations as I passed by. I absolutely hated being passed by the other girls and watch them pull away from me while my legs wouldn’t respond. This is not something that I’ve experienced before in a triathlon, and it’s very mentally defeating! I knew that I wouldn’t be able to stay with the leaders, but in all honestly I didn’t think that I’d do THAT badly, and naturally I was upset and frustrated after the race. Only 8 points separate Barbara, Andrea and I, and a few places higher would have put me back in the lead. So close!!

I decided before the race that regardless of the outcome, I needed to walk away from the experience happy with my decision and with a positive outlook on everything. I certainly didn’t want to leave London with a bad taste in my mouth, as I hope to be back here next year and I want to be excited and as best prepared as possible for this event. I’m now familiar with the course, the transition area, the layout of the venue, our accommodation and our logistics coming into the race. I also learned how to deal with media attention surrounding an upsetting and unfortunate circumstance, so this was good practice too. Another major positive is that my sister was in London for my race, so it was lots of fun to hang out with her and explore London after the race.

I’m back in Victoria now with 5 weeks to get my running legs back. Thankfully the race on Saturday did no further damage and I’m cautiously building up my running again. I always thought that having good results was the best motivation for me to keep training hard, but I was wrong. Having bad races is the best fuel for the fire, and I’m extremely determined to be back at my best again in Beijing.

Thanks for the support, as always.

Paula

13 comments:

eposhea said...

Inspiring stuff - when feeling down, push yourself - and take the best from what ever happens! That is why you will be back in London in 2012 - fantastic Spirit!! Good Luck in Beijing!

Injury's go away - you will always have your wins!!

jbbartron said...

Let yourself heal. I think you're one of the finest athletes on this planet. I love watching you compete but will happily forgo that pleasure if I know you are taking care of yourself.

Distance instead of Drunk said...

You just kick serious ass girl. Love following your blog.

Thomas said...

Keep it up girl. I am completely terrible but I did the whole of last season with a (until now undiagnosed) pair of dodgy hip flexors. I kind of know how you feel and I'm recuperating too. Difference is you're awesome! Heal it and smash them, I said you'd be 2011 World Champion before Sydney, I want to be proven right! ;-)

Hervé said...

Thank you for this insight. This is inspiring.

Heather and Andrew said...

Great to hear that there's more fuel for the fire. All the best in the rehab and we look forward to seeing you back at the front of the race soon.

paulakimITU said...

"it doesn't matter how slow you go, as long as you don't stop" - confucius

Mike1990 said...

I am proud of your already fantastic accomplishments as a fellow Edmontonian. I know you will accomplish more great races to come. I am sure your goal is to finish well next year in London, so this year's race will be just a step towards your ultimate goal. I will be cheering loudly for you all the way to the podium in London 2012! Go Paula Go!

Nicole Wendy Forrester said...

Nice blog. And I love your willingness to share all sides of being an athlete. I can totally relate! But what doesn't kill us definetly makes us stronger. London 2012 will seem like a peice of cake after the dust from this storm settles. Keep up the hard work and perseverance. Wishing you a huge success in London!

John said...

We're proud of you. You're a warrior--and not a stoopid one! :)

Gregwh said...

"Having bad races is the best fuel for the fire" Very true Paula. I know because I just did my first Xterra and got my arse kicked. It's what tests your persistence and determination on your way to the top. Though it doesn't seem like it now, the setbacks you overcome help define you as an athlete. We all have them, and the winners find a way to bounce back stronger. A perfect example is Whitfield's transformation from Athens 04 to Beijing 08. London II wasn't really a bad race, you put on a good hurt and it was worth a the try for the Olympic spot.

Richard said...

First and foremost, I'm glad that you're being careful to let yourself heal, and, secondarily, that you got some experience that will help you in the Olympics. You clearly have the ability to be the best in the sport, and will be there again soon. Good luck in China.

B Payne said...

Hi Paula, I am an RMT who loves watching marathon and triathlons. I caught you first last year on CBC and was so blown away by your strength. I've watched excitedly and rooted for you this season. I know its been a tough one so far since you had such a momentous rise to the top of the rankings. I just wanted to say don't be discouraged but make sure you give yourself permission to recover fully and not be too hard on yourself. I've had a hard time doing the same this year but know I will get back to competing when I'm fully able. Its better than pushing too hard to early and reinjuring or making it worse for yourself when you aren't ready.
Take extra vitamin C for the tissue repair and maybe check into Structral Integration/rolfing/KMI when you have time in the slower part of your season. It will probably aid you in your recovery. Try a few practitioners so you feel comfortable with the work. I think you will find it helps your performance improve over the following 6 months.
Lots of Canadians are behind you and know that you have a long SUCCESSFUL career a head of you. : )
Brad Payne