Monday, April 5, 2010

That first introductory post...

Alright, I've succumbed to the allure of the blog world. However, I'm here not to ramble but to lay out a specific goal, and what it takes to achieve that goal.

I am a female triathlete. My goal: become a pro. Even if I have what it takes (I do), it'll take several years to get there. And I will get there.

A brief introduction:

Prior to the year 2008, I didn't even know there was such a thing as triathlons. I had been going to school, playing soccer from the age of 5 (but never at any competitive level), dabbling in other sports and pseudo-sports (yoga, anyone?) and generally just trying to cope with the dramas of being a teenager in a not-so-happy home.

When a rather sudden knee injury sidelined me from playing soccer, I felt into some depression. Soccer, although not my whole WORLD, was so important to me. It was critical for my happiness. Every twinge, every knee-collapse, however, reminded me that I had to stop. I needed surgery. I couldn't walk. My range of motion was limited.

I began to swim. If you can't run, you walk. If you can't walk, you swim. I swam. I swam nearly every day up until my surgery, and the minute I could swim again after a couple weeks of rehab, I was back in that pool. I tried to remember what I had vaguely learnt in kiddie swimming lessons and I applied it. I got better. I watched youtube videos of professional swimmers to see how they moved their bodies. I got better. I joined a (very, VERY easy-going and non-competitive) masters swim group. I was terrified each Tuesday and Thursday for those classes, but I went. I got better. I moved up a couple lanes. I started feeling that fire grow.

In the meantime, my knee had become strong enough to support my body weight. I could walk, I could bike a couple kilometers, and soon enough, I could run.

Six months after rehab from my knee surgery, I completed my first triathlon: an Olympic in my hometown of Montreal. I had generously allotted myself 1 hour for the swim, 2 hours for the bike and 1 hour for the run. I completed it in far less than 4 hours (3:2x:xx) and thought that was amazing. I had no idea that I was one of the last people to finish! How was I to know, with my lack of wetsuit in freezing water conditions, my hybrid bike, and my operated knee that a 3 hour, 20-something minute Oly was a horrible time? But I loved it!!!! I had a blast!!

During the off season, I promised myself to get better at all three sports. However, cold winter weathers had me off the bike for months, and winter running never really came into my mind, and when it did, the running was sporadic. But I swam so much. So so much.

When springtime rolled around, I invested in a proper road bike (but a cheap one, I had no idea what I was doing) and I went out more. My love of swimming, however, usurped much of my 'training' time. I did do some running and biking, but not as much as I should have. I did not nearly have as balanced a training schedule as I should have. Heck, I didn't have a training schedule at all. I just went out when I thought I should, and always swimming as much as I could.

I did my first half-marathon. On another weekend, I did a sprint and a half-marathon back to back. I did 2 Oly's. And I finally ended with a 70.3 distance race. I was mid/front of the pack for swimming, back back back of the pack for biking, and mid/back of the pack for running. There were ~50 competitors and I was 4th last or something like that. I finished in 6:00:36. My goal had been 6:30-7:00.

I then jet-setted to Peru to begin a volunteer internship doing mammal research (I'm studying Wildlife Biology) for the rest of the summer. The moment I returned I got a coach with the plan of doing an Ironman.

I changed coaches (lack of communication on his part was the root of the problem) and I continue to train. I've learnt a great deal, although I know that I still have SO much to learn. I've become humble and learned to appreciate that training takes time. Periodicity is important. It's not go go go non-stop don't rest kill it. It's balance, it's training in different zones, it is rest weeks and/or rest days, it's pushing when I need to and backing off when I should.

My short term goals include racing (obviously). I have a half-marathon coming up (which I hear from coach is going to be a training race - I gotta run it on tired tired legs). Then, I plan on doing an Oly and 2 70.3 races. Finally, finally, I get to do my Ironman. It's slated for March 2011 in Australia or New Zealand. Wherever I end up moving to in the next few months, that's where it'll be.

My long term goals include racing (even more obviously). I want to become good at every distance, but especially the endurance triathlons: 70.3 and IM. I want to be a balanced, knowledgeable triathlete. I want to abandon my niggling fears on the bike. I want to know how far I can push it, how deep I can toe that red line, and how far I can extend beyond it in a race. I want to become fully humble and be comfortable running slow.

Most importantly, I want to become a professional triathlete. I will become a pro. This is my journey.

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