I’ve let it be known that what I would really like to do is to do a race in Japan. Specifically, ITU World Paratriathlon Yokohama.
But what I haven’t put out there (much anyway) is how setting myself a big goal like this has seemed like setting myself up for failure. It is not the training. I can manage to get that done. And it is not fitting it into my often insane work schedule. I can get that done too. I have done both of these things – training lots and fitting it all into my insane work schedule – before. Many seasons before.
But what is setting me up for failure is that it no longer seems like fun. It no longer seems like my goal, my be all end all. Instead, the big goal, and fitting it all in, just seems to be adding to my stress.
And that, my friends, is exactly the OPPOSITE of how I want triathlon to feel for me.
Let’s face it. I do the sport for fun. As a hobby. And there comes a point when, if your hobby starts to stress you out, you need a rethink. At least that’s where I found myself at the end of December and start of 2015.
As I walked on the Suffolk coast with my dog, and felt a pinching in my knee, a stab now and then like something was not right, it all struck me kind of hard. If I continue down the path, the path of training like I want to in order to achieve these arbitrary performance goals that I have for myself, this just is going to cause immense stress on my body. A body that was hurting just by doing what should be easy – walking on the coast with my dog.
My body does not need that stress.
And frankly, to get the balance right – to worry about whether I am pushing hard enough to have these arbitrary performance gains I have set for myself, or if I am pushing too hard and going to need two or three days to let the inflammation settle down after a hard training weekend – getting that balance right, again… That seemed just too stressful too.
My mind does not need that stress.
I don’t want the stress.
Stress is not what I had in mind for myself when I chose my word for 2015 – welcome. It is just not a very welcoming thing to be doing to myself: reaching for a goal that will be so stressful in so many ways to achieve. It is almost the opposite of the real reason I started to do triathlons and focused on a healthy active lifestyle – to promote my health and wellbeing.
Like I said, a road to failure, failing myself, in ways that were really hard for me to acknowledge. And own.
In conversations with my tri coach Russ, and my strength and conditioning coach Tom, it became clear. I said the words, and my heart felt lighter.
My 2015 tri season will not include lining up for Team USA. In fact, that pinnacle of my 2014 season, just six short months ago, now is a wonderful dream-like memory. And long may it stay that way.
Instead in 2015 I will do a few tris, in ways that are stress free and fun for me. Egg Hunt in Florida, because it is almost an Easter tradition for us. The Arctic One Paratriathlon at Dorney Lake in June. Because it is small, run by a great group of people, and something I believe in and want to support. And London. My home triathlon. Because I have a FUNdraiser in the works, and because it is truly our summer tradition, race and then do a BBQ with friends after to celebrate with friends.
No stress. Doing my hobby in a way that makes sense for me. Doing my hobby for the right reason – because it is fun. Doing triathlon in a way that makes it more likely that I can long continue walking my dog along coastal paths, with no fear. No fear that the sport I love might take away the type of life I love and live today.