Just thinking about the fact I am on a plane to Lanzarote for the first race of my 2017 season with both a healthy state of mind and body gives me goosebumps. It feels like it is my first ever race and I am just excited to see what this triathlon malarkey is all about!
Of course this is not the case being my forth year of triathlon, however with the last two years being anything but ideal it forced me to step back, to develop and to mature as an athlete and person. So of course I feel different and a “newbie” as I am in a completely different place – body and mind.
It wasn’t so long ago that if you had asked me if I would lining up on a start line in four days from now I would I have just shrugged. The truth is after the last two seasons coming up short through injury, I feared what if this was my reality and always would be. After that amount of time picking myself up to just fall straight back down again of course I started to see it as my future as it was all I knew. I had become over cautious as we all know you build fears from a rational base created from past events, which overtime becomes irrational. This of course affected my confidence as I worried “what if it went wrong again,” when I should have been focusing on “what if it went right.”
The difference was, yes, I was basing this fear on my past experiences but my story is very different now to five months ago, so surely the ending will be very different? After numerous chats with my Coach and the rest of my amazing team (how they put up with me is beyond me – I can barely put up with myself!) we started to change this mentality to “just try,” enjoy it and then see what happens.
So every day and in every session I started to set the aim of just seeing what I could do rather than what I couldn’t, then move on, whilst always remembering why I started this sport – because I loved it.
A trip to LA…
However, the real breakthrough came three weeks ago after a trip to LA for some work with Zwift – if you don’t Zwift then you should!
Due to the long flights involved and potentially limited time to train I said to Dave (Coach) I wanted to be realistic and just enjoy this trip whilst recovering properly from the last hard block. For me to take control and trust my choice in regards to my body and training needs was a massive step – in the past I would have worried about my fitness and felt guilty for “feeling weak.” Together we came up with an ideal training week including key sessions and bonus, enjoyments ones with the main aims being one work (of course!) and two recovery (sun tanning time!).
In summary, I had a great week, came back feeling invigorated and just happy.
When I was home, after close to a week out of the pool I dove back in thinking this maybe one of those just get it done sessions as I would probably feel flat – but wow quite the opposite. It just felt easy and I was swimming PB paces throughout (we all know I was a not born part dolphin so a breakthrough!). Whilst I was swimming I just got it and was smiling throughout as everything became so clear.
Every session my Coach had pushed me to do and every one he had held me back, every moment I had trusted myself to “just try” or “just rest,” made so much sense and came back so vividly. It was as if a switch had been flicked and I was just there in the moment living it.
Ok yes I may have got a tad emotional after this session and burst into tears (a bit OTT I admit!), but it just meant so much as for once in a very long time I had confidence that I could crack this sport and believed in myself. This was when I finally allowed myself to become excited about racing this weekend and just enjoy the process – whatever happens.
Eloise put your glasses on…
If you follow me on social media you may have seen a few posts recently with me running in my glasses. A few people have said, including my Coach and friends – “I didn’t know you wore glasses?!” The truth is I didn’t but I probably should have – aux! This new change in training look was thanks to a mind blowing session with my S&C Coach, Ben when we found not only my proprioperception improved dramatically but also my strength by just putting on my glasses – apparently my body finally knows where it is in the world (24 years too late!) and yes this helps with running so once again my stubbornness has shot myself in the foot (literally!).
This simple, yet pretty bizarre concept is very new and whether it helps long term in regards to my form and performance gains is yet to be discovered, but if its working for now why change it as like my Chiropractor said “David Beckham needed his jaw adjusted to come back from his injuries so maybe you just need to wear your glasses!”
And as for the race…
Well, I don’t know! Like I said to Dave yesterday – whatever happens on Saturday happens, but least I will be on that start line knowing I have done everything right this time and just happy. Then we can review where I am at and move on in the very same way we arrived here.
So until then its time to bag a sun bed at TriSports Lanzarote and just enjoy the next few days in the sun!
Finally (Oscar speech coming…!), I would be a fool to think I arrived at this place on my own, as boy this has been a team effort and I am so thankful to everyone who has supported and stood by me through both the tears and the laughs – I am forever grateful.
- Dave (Coach), thank you for not only taking me on back in November when I was barely half human let alone a triathlete but also believing in me every day since then. You have gone out of your way to make me stronger mentally and physically whilst making me that “happy athlete” again.
- Family and friends, without you all believing in me and continuously making me laugh/ drink G&Ts (uhem Amy!) I would not be still smiling, I am truly grateful to have you all in my life – love you all.
- Ben (S&C), from the beginning you have always been thinking of ways to improve my form, make me stronger and of course made me wear my glasses! So thank you for it all – including those horrid lunge walks, please never again…
- Renee (Nutrition), you really have been more than a dietician to me. You have not only got my health back on track but you have been a mentor in helping me trust my body and myself.
- Pete and John (mind/life!), thank you for making me prioritise myself and my life over my training. The moment I relaxed, enjoyed the process and focused on living each day (surprisingly!!!) everything started falling into place.
- Pete (Kenilworth Chiropractic Clinic), thank you for relentlessly depretzeling me, always thinking how to get one step ahead of my body and getting me back in the best shape possible for both training and I guess now racing!
- To all my sponsors; The Cycle Studio, BLIZ Eyewear, Science in Sport and Take3Tri, thank you for standing by me over the last few years and also helping me comeback stronger. I am truly grateful and know this would not be possible without you all – so thank you.
“Somewhere behind the athlete you’ve become, the hours of practice and the coaches who have pushed you is a little girl who fell in love with game and never looked back… play for her” – Mia Hamm.
Good luck to everyone racing this weekend and/or whenever – just enjoy it!
Lots of love