Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The Edge



Competitive sport at the highest level is all about finding the edge. How far you can push your limits, how close can you get to that line, without falling over into a world of injury and breakdown. That perfect spot, where boundaries are tested but you’re still standing upright - that’s where magic happens. If you don’t take risks and teeter on the edge, you’ll always be safe, but you’ll probably never achieve greatness. The edge is always changing, and is different for each person. Sport is evolving. Bodies are unpredictable. Circumstances and surroundings are dynamic and often out of your control. This is what makes competitive sport a beautiful, frustrating, demanding, and adventurous pursuit. 

What happens when you fall over the edge? Let me tell you, it’s damn hard to get back to the top. Climbing all the way up to try again, without being sure if you’ll ever get it right. Success is never certain, and you are entitled to nothing. You learn so many things along the way. Finding different routes to the top, and building a team of people to support the long journey. The most difficult part is trying to keep a positive attitude when it can seem like an endless and sometimes hopeless mission. 

I’ve fallen over the edge this year. I saw glimpses of progress with a top 8 finish at the London WTS event in May. But I pushed myself too far, excited by my step forward and craving more. I developed a knee injury which led to foot injury on the opposite side, probably through compensating and trying to train through the knee problem. I cannot make this mistake anymore, which is why I decided not to race in Edmonton, and I won’t line up in Chicago at the World Championships this week. Instead, I’m going home to Canada for a scope on my knee, I’ll get healthy, start from the ground and work my way back up once again. I also made a recent coaching change. Siri Lindley is a remarkable person. Her positivity and determination was what I needed this past year. She brought me back from one of the lowest points of my career, made me believe in myself again, and gave me the courage to take charge of my own path. I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to learn from Siri, a champion in so many ways. Siri gave me exactly what I needed, but now I need something different. Sometimes change is a good thing, and after a frustrating season I want to give myself the best chance of lining up in Rio next summer. 

So here we go, a journey back to the top, with more tools in my toolbox, some new support around me, with a refreshed and motivated mindset. I’m in no rush but I also don’t have time to waste. Why do I keep doing this crazy sport? Because it would kill me to quit now and live with regret, knowing that I have it inside me to do great things. I love pushing my boundaries, getting close to the edge, trying to be the best that I can be. No matter how many times I get knocked down, the fire still burns, and I’ll keep fighting. 

A giant thanks to everyone who's been a part of my 2015 season: Siri, Erin Carson, Byron Thomas, Mark Plaatjes, Libby Burrell, Sue Lott, Paddy McCluskey, my FABULOUS training partners, mom & dad, and to Nike, Scott and ROKA for sticking by my side. 

Cheers and thanks for reading. 

PF 

6 comments:

Trevor Morgan said...

I can't imagine how hard it must be to push yourself to that edge whilst always being aware of the risks of falling over it.

Hope the coaching change works well for you.

William Lamothe said...

Whatever happen, whatever your body let you do or not, you are and and always be a great sport ambassador for all generations. Thanks for sharing your journey.

Alina Anderson said...

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Lila Duffy said...

Your drive and determination are inspirational, Paula. I've been trying to learn as much of your journey as I can. I consider myself to be an athlete, although not competitive, and I suffer from severe iron deficiency anemia, and I'm aware that you have dealt with it. Is anemia an on-going issue for you and if so, how do you deal with it? Thank you for sharing and I will be following your blog. Train on!

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