Sunday, August 4, 2013

August Already?

It’s fun to write updates when things are going well and the season is unfolding somewhat as planned. Writing an update when things are not going smoothly, and haven’t for 2 years, is not so fun. I’ve wanted to write a blog for a while, but have been putting it off with the hopes that I might have something positive to share for a change. It would be cool to post a blog on August 4th, exactly one year since the Olympic triathlon in London, writing about how I turned myself around and made a comeback to the racing scene. Unfortunately this year has been no easier than last. If I ever get out of this injury rut, I’ll never take racing for granted ever again. 2013 has been about rebuilding, and I knew that it would not be an easy road back, but I never imagined that it would be so ridiculously hard.

After a good winter camp in Florida with the JF squad where I was running consistently, I was looking forward to racing and improving as the season progressed. Before my first scheduled WTS in San Diego, my left hip started hurting, the same familiar pain that I felt in my right hip before London. I stopped running immediately, pulled out of the race, and knew that if I was smart I could get through it quickly. I knew how to manage it, because it was exactly what had happened on the other side.  As usual things didn’t go how I imagined. Week after week, I wasn’t seeing much progress. Now all of a sudden it’s August, the season is almost over, and I’m on the sidelines.

It might seem like I’m spinning my wheels, doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different outcome (which Einstein calls INSANITY). But I have tried dozens of different approaches. Being treated the best physiotherapists in the world, visiting run gait analysis labs, reducing training load, doing a billion strengthening exercises, stretching, rolling, icing, magic tricks, etc etc etc. I'm doing everything that I possibly can. 

It kills me to think about packing up and going home to Canada and taking a break for a few months. I know that’s probably what I need, but it’s definitely not what I want. I’ve done way too much hard work this year, especially in the pool and on the bike, and I feel like that would all be gone to waste. Looking at the “big picture” it’s not really a complete waste. I’ll take the strength and skills that I’ve developed this year into next season and the season after that. But I’m sick of being patient, sick of being positive, and sick of being injured. During my quick rise to success in 2010, everything came seemingly easily. Winning back-to-back WCS races was really cool, but I don’t think I quite understood the magnitude of that accomplishment at the time. I was just training hard, and the results came along. Looking back, I now appreciate how awesome that was. I sometimes watch videos of races that I’ve won, in a desperate attempt to restore some sort of confidence in myself, and I’m so incredibly jealous of the 2010 Paula. I want to be her again!

I’m still the same human, just a little beat up and emotionally hurting, but nothing that can’t be mended. I want SO BADLY to get back to that person who was winning races and training consistently. I don’t know how long it'll take, or if it's even possible. I thought that I’d be well on my way by August 2013, but life is so incredibly unpredictable. 
I’m going back to University this fall, so that will give me a change of focus for a few months. I had my best seasons ever when I was a student/athlete, so perhaps that’s the change of routine I need to get back on track.

Thanks to everyone who has supported my training and rehab this year and who continue to believe in me, especially coach Joel and my awesome training partners. You're a super inspiring group and I'm seriously honoured to be a part of it. To everyone who is lucky enough to be racing this summer, remember that it’s a privilege to be able to swim, bike and run. It’s easy to lose sight of that when things are rolling along well. So be happy, work hard, and appreciate that your body is working like it should! 

Thanks for reading. 



Stan said...

Thanks for the update Paula. And good on you for staying positive amidst all of these challenges. I have no doubt that you'll be back on top again very soon.
Best of luck!

Trevor Morgan said...

Thanks for the update; I can't imagine how frustrating this must be for you. You're still an inspiration.

Someone Who Cares said...

I hope to be able to ask you a question in a very gentle you ever wonder if maybe life (or God) is giving you an opportunity now to focus on something else, that may give you the same or more fulfillment as racing? I adore you. I love racing. I understand the drive and desire to achieve your immense potential. But as you said, look what you accomplished! That will never change. It will always be there - young Paula Findlay takes the triathlon world by surprise and by storm. You are not a one- or even a two-hit wonder. Focusing on school, hopefully marriage and a family is not doing anyone a disservice, especially yourself. Who in the world could look at Simon and think it a shame that he has taken his love for a sport and changed the way he enjoys it while he enjoys and pursues the more lofty goal of fatherhood. I am not suggesting you 'quit' triathlon. I just know that you have a soft heart and I wonder if the emotions surrounding your experiences since 2010 have been a sign of a different desire inside you. I promise you have "arrived" - you are a world-class athlete and winner. Could it be time to chase a more noble goal now, something even bigger and better? I can only speak from experience, but ask your mother what she would choose: an Olympic medal or you? Just to consider...... Love you

Anonymous said...

Paula, I am a spanish guy who loves triathlon. I hope you can recover and get back...but,anyway, life is clever.... there is a very important reason to drive you through a path. I just can say, go ahead!!!!!

JHGS said...

It’s been a long time since we’ve heard from you, worth the wait. You’ve heard life is like riding a bicycle, to keep balance you must keep moving, just keep going, the best is yet to come. Rock on.

B Payne said...

Hi Paula, thanks for the update. I have missed seeing you in the triathlons, I might catch on tv occasionally but I really look forward to when you are ready to race again. Don't ever think it is too late. You and Simon have inspired me to compete in my first ones this past year as I approach 46 y/o this fall. I have to say after just finishing my 3rd in a bit less than 2 months it only makes me want more. So I understand the thrill of pushing your limits. I did comment once before when you had you first hip issue. I'm an RMT myself but also do Structural Integration (Rolfing). I would highly recommend trying a few therapists out to find one you like. Its extremely helpful and finding one you can work with makes the reward that much sweeter. It may help resolve the cause of the problem before they start. Best of luck with school -Brad Payne RMT

Anonymous said...

Great update. The 2012 triathlon, particularly your finish, still chokes me up and it got me motivated to start running again. Now I'm training for my first half-marathon and when I'm really struggling during a run, I remember how lucky I am to be able to run in the first place, let alone long distances. It really helps.

I hope we see you again in 2016, but more importantly, take care of yourself! From a newly-graduated job-hunter, just enjoy being a student, and young! :)

William Lamothe said...

Hey Red Dragon,
August the 4th 2012 was a day rich in emotion and memorable for its sadness.
Thanks for updating us about you. I'll share other thoughts related to this post later.

youthinkitweet said...

Keep pushing Paula! You can work through this!

Linda Bronicheski said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Linda B said...

Hi Paula, You can't go wrong finishing up your degree. Good luck this term. It goes quickly. You Findlay's are always an inspiration. To follow your family around for a week is physically exhausting but inspiring and fun, and I'm definitely more fit and healthy for it. Time for another visit. We love you a lot! Auntie Linda