Sunday, January 5, 2014

New Year

“It’s a long way where we’re going”.

-5 year old me, on a 12 hour road trip.

Back in 1994, we didn’t have iPods or laptops to entertain ourselves on long road trips, so we spent hours whining and sleeping and counting cows. It felt like we might never get there. "It's a long way where we're going" was my world famous tagline.

I’ve said this same thing to myself many times this past year as I’ve been building back into racing shape. Trying to be like I used to be, do what I used to do, and feel like I used to feel.

My season started last year with winning a small Continental Cup race in Florida. I found some relief and confidence in myself with my first win in nearly 2 years, but I certainly didn’t anticipate that this would be the only race of my season. I wanted that to be the kick-off for bigger and better things. I didn’t expect another roadblock, a season plagued with injury, sitting on the sidelines.

Consistency, confidence and competition. Those are 3 things that I’d like to achieve in 2014, in that order. Each one must come before the other. I need to train consistently to gain confidence in myself so that I can compete to my ability. If I can achieve all of these things, I’ll be a giant step ahead of where I was in 2013.

Sometimes I forget the underlying reason why I do triathlons in the first place. I’ve never thought of it as a career, or as something that I had to do. I trained and competed because I loved pushing myself, challenging myself, and being the best I could be. This translated into success, which made me love it even more. This past year I’ve sometimes lost touch with this true love for the sport. I’ve been battling with a body that seemingly doesn’t want to get healthy or be fast, so frustration overtakes the passion I had for being my best. 

Through these rough patches, I find strength and inspiration in other athletes, in particular those who have gone through injury spells and returned to greatness. It has been done, many times. I’m living vicariously through the winter athletes preparing for Sochi, sensing the excitement and pressure during the build up that I felt 2 short years ago. I truly don’t know if I’ll ever get back to where I was in 2011, but one thing is for certain: it’s a long way where we’re going. It won’t be an easy journey, but nothing worthwhile is ever quick and easy.

I’m heading to New Zealand this month to join Joel and my training partners as a new season begins. I just finished a refreshing semester at University, recharging my brain, returning to good health, being with friends and family, and preparing myself for the year ahead.

Here’s to a 2014 of achieving goals, being patient, and embracing the process of becoming better. Long roads are usually worth the trip, because they take you somewhere great. 



JHGS said...

It's great to hear that attitude in you. Have a successful 2014.

William Lamothe said...

Hi Paula,

it's awesome place to be for training in NZ, and for the quality of life, too! What a way to start a year :)

well, I maybe have a solution for your hips but it's a radical one and I am not sure it's a good one because except for what I've been read on you on the Internet, I'm not sure what is the diagnostic of your hip injury - what I think it is: micro fractures on the head of your femoral bones caused by your run at race pace and maintained for few kilometers. If I feel it's appropriate for you, then I'd like to share this thing I have in head, to not tell it properly.

When I see your optimism, I feel I don't need to mention it. You and people assisting you for this injury might have thought about it anyway as a last resort option!

Hey, if you have a chance going to the north shore of Auckland try a swim from Takapuna beach to Rangitoto Island, it's a fun one ~5k, then on the island, you can run to the top of this volcanic island - a scenic reserve - ~10k. Finally, for the recovery, come back to Takapuna beach by boat. Ask to Stephen Farrell (google his name with 'Fit for Fun Ltd.'), the best coach in NZ, how to do it!

Make sure to not get eaten by sharks and if you meet indigenous Maori on the island don't forget the nose-to-nose salutation ;) If you see a slim and tall guy running like a rocket on the beach, it's surely Bevan Docherty...and soon, it'll be you!

Katie Ozolins said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Katie Ozolins said...

Paula, your story and this post inspires me and, I am certain, inspires many other athletes that feel sometimes as though improving in performance is an uphill battle.

Thanks for your honesty and openness. I believe in you and I am positive you will do great things and make your country proud.

'Possibly' your biggest TO2015 (Pan Am Games Org. Committee) Fan,
Katie Ozolins

Robert Gama said...

"..I truly don’t know if I’ll ever get back to where I was in 2011."
- Paula, you must know you get there and beyond! Make it happen! You're still so young, you have plenty of time.

Good luck

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