I was in full on catch-up mode after the London race. I felt motivated and confident that I could be back to my old self by Beijing, but I knew it would be hard work. I jammed in as much training as possible, ignoring that I was feeling tired and slow at every workout, and thinking that it was just part of getting fit again. I had a very disappointing race at nationals in Kelowna where my running just didn’t feel normal. My injury was under control, although I knew that it wasn’t completely healed. Still, I put my head down for 2 more weeks before our departure for Beijing, hoping that somehow everything would come together in time.
Our set up in Beijing was absolutely perfect, and we had an awesome group of staff helping us with everything we needed. Still, I was stressing all week about not being ready, and I really wasn’t excited to race. Our group had a big crash while riding the bike course a few days before the race, leaving me with a giant bruise on my hip and a sore shoulder. I tried to be optimistic and positive all week as that was all I could do at that point, but in the back of my mind I was terrified. Not the nervous-excited that I usually feel, but actually scared of racing.
The race itself was a disaster from the start. No energy, sore shoulder, and tired. Just like in training for the past 4 weeks. I was about a minute back out of the water, but I reminded myself how many times packs come together on the bike, so I started chasing hard. I got to the giant hill and had ZERO energy. I was getting dropped by the girls around me and I couldn’t do anything about it. Frustrating! As I came in around the first lap I couldn’t even fathom getting up the hill again. I actually would have tipped over. So I made the awful and embarrassing decision to pull over. Rode back to the hotel, called my mom, and cried for about 10 hours. I changed my flight from Yokohama to Edmonton, and came home to decide if I had the energy or desire to train for 5 more weeks for the Pan Am games. This situation looked very familiar to my panic catch-up after London, which clearly did not work out well for me. I decided that it was not worth the risk of failing again, I couldn’t mentally deal with another bad race, and my body was telling me that it needed a break.
I did have some great races this season and next year is much more important, but I’m still really sad about such a disappointing finish to my season. At one point I had a realistic chance of finishing on the podium at the World Championships, and I slowly slid down the rankings after every race. I received a really nice message from Malindi Elmore, an Olympic track athlete in Canada who I’ve always looked up to. “You have proven you can be the best in the world and you need to believe that every day now. Every champion has setbacks, raising from them is what makes your successes even more meaningful.” I haven’t won anything for a while, but I’ll appreciate it so much more now, if I ever win anything again! Despite the disappointments, I’ve learned so much in these past few months and I think that it has left me even better prepared for 2012. Plus, it has taken some of the media pressure and attention away. No one wants to interview a DNF ;)
Not to make it sound like I just won an Oscar, but there are some very important people that I’d like to thank. My wonderful therapists who I’ve worked with this year, Kim, Sam, Joelle and Marilyn, thank you for working hard to keep me moving! Michelle, I couldn’t have gone through this year without you. Linda, my strength coach, Bill, my swim coach at U of A, and of course Patrick, my patient and understanding coach who deals with my grumpiness every day. My sponsors, family and friends, you are all awesome. Triathlon Canada, thanks for supporting me and believing in my potential. There is a big team behind me and I know don’t always give them the credit they deserve.
I’m off to Kona in a few weeks to hang out with the Specialized crew at the Ironman World Championships, which I’m excited about! After that, I’m back in Victoria to start getting ready for next year.
Through the ups and the downs, thanks to everyone who has been a part of my rollercoaster year. Actually, it was more like a water slide. Started off high and ended low. But anyways, I appreciate the support through it all.