Monday, August 13, 2012

I’ve had this quote on my computer desktop for the past 6 months, and because I spend way too much time on my laptop, it’s engraved into my brain. It was my mantra when the going got tough, and believe me, the going got pretty darn tough. A simple but important reminder to ignore the noise, stay positive and just keep on truckin’ through all the roadblocks.

Getting to the start line on August 4th was a feat in itself. Injuries, appeals, coaching changes, politics, and a less than ideal time frame to get into race shape. Despite all this, I wasn’t headed to the Olympics just to participate and call myself an Olympian. I wanted to be on the podium. I was aware that my chances of accomplishing this were significantly lower after my difficult year, but it never lessened my desire to be the best. I lined up against 54 of the worlds fastest triathletes wanting to beat them, and believing that maybe I could. If I didn’t believe that it could happen, then there’s no way it was going to happen. (Yeah I know, it didn’t happen).

I had a fairly solid 8 weeks of training behind me and was feeling fit. My injury was gone and I was running more consistently than ever. What I didn’t anticipate was that the lack of race-specific experience would really hit me hard. I started the swim feeling good, thinking that I was in okay position, but after getting trampled at the first turn buoy there was a sea of girls in front of me. I didn’t lose hope, this has happened before in races that I’ve won, but it’s not a good feeling to know I’m not up where I need to be. I came out of the water well back of the leaders, got on my bike to chase and had no power in my legs. I worked with a few other girls to catch the pack in front of us, but we couldn't. I contemplated pulling out of the race several times on the bike and it felt like the longest ride I’ve ever done in my life. It’s a big mental challenge to stay in the game when you’re so far out of the game it’s not even funny. I came off the bike to a similar wobbly, powerless feeling, and stumbled my way around the first lap. I pulled off to our team doctor, crying that there was no way I could physically finish 3 more. He encouraged me pull myself together and finish if I could, I’d be more satisfied with crossing the line than not. So I ran 3 of the most painful, embarrassing laps ever, being lapped by the race that I was supposed to be a contender in, humiliated and screaming at myself inside. It was the Canada flags along the course, my family in the stands, and the roaring crowd that pulled me along to the finish line. 

An enormous thank you to coach Jon Brown, physio Marilyn Adams, massage therapist Kim Ward and the one and only Simon Whitfield who were my amazing little team for the past few months. I couldn’t have got to the start line without the huge efforts from each of you. Thanks to Triathlon Canada and Own The Podium who made sure I had all the resources I needed to get to London. And finally thanks to my wonderful family and friends who came to London to support me. Check out this awesome crew!

The outpouring of support has been touching and overwhelming, and I appreciate it more than you know. My race aside, the Olympics were an incredible experience. I’m so inspired by our Canadian team. What a bunch of champions and I’m honoured to have been a part of it all.

I need to make some changes and I’m not entirely sure what the next few months have in store for me. I think I’ll keep that quote on my laptop for now. Never give up, finish what you start, and keep on believing.

Thanks a million to you all.