The World Triathlon Series (WTS) Grand Final has come and gone and I can’t believe how the main part of my season ended. After a promising start to the year, with two podiums in World Cup competition, I was looking forward to a stellar season. Then I experienced a rough patch. First, a DQ in Auckland, then a DNF when I crashed in Cape Town, followed by another DNS in Yokohama while I was still dealing with injuries from the crash. Triple "D’s" weren’t exactly what I was looking for. This stretch of my season was difficult for me because I had never experienced any type of injury and I didn’t really know how to deal with it. Unfortunately, my injuries ended up lasting until London.
In London, I finished 13th. It was my best performance on the WTS level yet. I was excited because I hadn’t been running and I was able to come away with that result. It also showed me that I needed to get myself back into full working condition. Trying to perform through injuries was taking a toll on me both mentally and physically. It was time to take a long break and work on getting myself pain free. I ended up hanging out in Santa Cruz for a bit before making the decision to head to Boulder, Colo., to work with Bobby McGee.
It was a fantastic decision. With my injuries and some other tribulations, I was in need of some coaching assistance and a change of pace. For two months I trained in Boulder. The main goal was getting rid of my injuries while also trying to prepare for upcoming races. Bobby McGee and I took our time and finally I was free of all injuries. Just in time because I had three big weeks of racing with Kelowna Pan American Cup, Stockholm WTS and the Edmonton Grand Final all in a row.
Thankfully, we must have done something right. Not only did I finish all three races injury free, I also achieved my best performances. After winning Kelowna, I finished seventh in Stockholm and ninth in Edmonton. I was pumped, but at the same time it was so much more exciting to know I was only competing at about 75 percent of what I am capable of and still able to achieve those outcomes.
To be able to bounce back after an injury and other complicating issues was difficult. There were a lot of tears along the way and quite a few times when I doubted myself. I would talk on the phone with my parents, upset about my situation. My dad would remind me that if triathlon wasn’t making me happy anymore, then maybe I should try something else. I remember when he said this to me that I pretty much scoffed it off. Ninety-five percent of the time, I am excited to “go to work” and do triathlon. I love the sport, the people, the travel and the experiences that I have gained. I compare the other 5five percent to the times other people have rough days in their day-to-day jobs. I’m lucky enough that the majority of the time, I have the best “job” in the world. I now realize it was just a rough patch I needed to get through and soon enough I’d be able to climb my way out of it.
Honestly, there has been no better feeling than doing just that. I don’t think these last three performances were my best by far. I am capable of so much more. However, it was so exciting to be able to put myself back together again and considering the circumstances, I’m pretty proud of what I have accomplished this year.
This year, as hard as it was, was a great learning experience for me. I learned how to deal with injuries and adversity. I learned that sometimes you just need to follow your gut, even if everyone else is telling you that you’re wrong. But most importantly, I learned that if it’s something you love, you need to just push through until you find the bright side again. By pushing through, I don’t mean training through an injury. Actually taking a step back and taking some time off can be the hardest part. In doing this, you will need all the support and advice you can get from friends, family, significant others, those who have gone through the same things, mentors, teammates, etc. If you surround yourself with enough support, those people will help you get through anything. With that support, you will not only achieve your goals, but you will also get to share your triumph with so many other people, making it that much more special. Thanks Team Psycho for being a part of the support network that got me through.