My training, racing, things that go through my head, memorable moments, and such.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Great Expectations

Connor, Andrew, & Jericho
I'm a bit of a dreamer. Are all athletes dreamers? We write ourselves linear progressions and expect that, even if the slope isn't quite as steep as we would like, we will still be moving up. We write out lofty goals and try to pinpoint the equation necessary to achieve those goals. Analyze, overanalyze, talk big, dream bigger. 

Needless to say, there is no such thing as a linear progression in elite sport. There are linear progressions when you first start up and when you are young, which engenders a false sense of security. However now that I am old (I just came to the realization I am super old on the Continental Cup scene these days), I know that this sport is waaaaay more about perseverance than it is about planning and programming. Maybe elite sport is a sinusoidal equation? Haha... took that analogy too far. 

I'm not complaining. I've long since passed the teenage angst phase of triathlon. My main goal for this season is to race and stay injury free - and although I have had some niggles this year, I have achieved that goal for the most part so far! The season is far from over, but I have already raced 6 races, which is 6 races more than I raced last year! I'm pretty stoked about that. 

Racing the Lifesport Chase in Saskatoon
Essentially, since my last update, I have raced 3 times. I finished 6th in the first (2nd woman due to the chase format) and 5th in the other two. I stood on the podium in Magog due to being the third Canadian at Nationals (even though it was a sprint?). I am overall fairly happy with my placements, and especially grateful to be racing again! I'm also moving up again in ITU points, which is awesome. 
Women's podium in Saskatoon!
That being said... while all 3 races were of very different formats (One non-drafting olympic distance chase race, one ITU Pan American Cup, and one ITU sprint Pan Am Cup), they all followed the exact same pattern. I had good starts, swam with the pack for about 400 to 500 meters, got dropped, swam largely by myself for the rest of the swim, biked by myself for a good part of the bike (or the whole bike in non-drafting - duh), and then ran home for 5th/6th. It definitely isn't the kind of racing I had imagined for myself this year. In the past my swim has always been my biggest worry, but I have never so consistently under-preformed in it. I've been swimming my whole life!!!!! Needless to say, I am a little frustrated. I feel strong in the pool, and pretty good technically all around. I think it comes down to my aerobic threshold just not being up to par, something that will only improve with another good block of training, and a confidence issue, which hopefully will be resolved with said block of training.
Coming out of the water in Toronto, showing of my awesome Aqua Sphere Phantom! photo cred: Jeremy Allen
Obviously I have things to work on, but who doesn't right? As coach Carolyn would say, "If this sport were easy, everyone would do it!" Also, as every Lululemon bag has ever preached, "It's about the journey, not the destination." Despite how cliche it sounds, appreciating the journey really is the perfect life mantra if you can actually embody it. Kirsten and Paula hit the nail on the head in this recent article, and I'm so proud to call both of them pals. "You can win a gold medal, but if you’re not happy, it’s not worth it". Obviously triathlon requires a bit of dragging yourself through the mud, something you are reminded of daily as you stare at a black line and wonder how much chlorine and urine is actually safe for ingestion. However, being happy is the goal of life, and happiness breeds success. I'm happy that despite wanting to quit after the swim in Magog, I kept going and got to stand on the podium as the 3rd Canadian at Nationals! 
ITU Magog Pan American Cup Sprint Nationals, Canadian Podium
I'm happy that I got to hang out with some good friends, and although we had our moments in the house, we made s'mores, played cards,  and talked environmental politics together.
Campfire at our house in Magog, Quebec
I'm happy to have awesome sponsors, supporters, and friends who make this journey so exciting. Thanks Aqua Sphere, Elevate Me, Shwalbe Tires, CEP compression, Tri It, Carolyn, Level 10 Fitness, homestay parents in Saskatoon Chris and Bruce, and of course real parents.
Our home in Quebec
Dream on. 

1 comment:

Gregwh said...

Congratulations Alex on your podium at Canadian Nationals. It always amazes me, when I read the stories, how much adversity and numerous setbacks a champion has to endure. Almost without exception. Oddly enough it is one of the reasons I am inspired by this sport and the people in it.