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.