Exposed: Out of the Shadows

Tuesday is the one year anniversary of the “Exposed” series of blog posts.  If you do not know about Exposed, in short, Mish decided that enough was enough.  She photographed herself, nearly naked, and posted her photo on her blog with various comments. Affirmations.  Words that celebrate who she is, where she had come from, where she would be going.  Raw, in the flesh, and open to the world. 

One year later, with 60 blog posts from around the world, Exposed celebrates people showing and sharing their journeys for all to see.

I did my Exposed post in January 2010 – to kick off 2010 and to document where I wanted to go, with all the challenges that my body has to offer.  My aim? To complete an Olympic distance triathlon, while smiling. 

I am an extremely determined person.  In my head, I knew that I would work hard. 

I never questioned that I would do an Oly Tri.

But, no matter how much determination I had, I lacked confidence and trust in my body.

I spent from January to August working hard, training, and building myself up physically.  I saw my goals shift as my abilities improved.  I celebrated my first continuous mile of running.  I swam 5k twice, broke the 30 minute 1500m barrier, and continued to love swimming.  I never dreamed of cycling far – but when I cycled 100km in May nothing seemed out of reach.

In July, it hit me that I would not be going into my first Olympic distance triathlon with a 10km run in the bag.  London would be my first 10km run.  I was worried.

Coach T changed my training.  The focus shifted to positive visualisation.  I learned techniques to manage my mental hurdle – the lack of confidence in my physical self.

Shifting my focus to confidence in my body even when I am doing the unknown has been tough.  I grew up afraid of myself, afraid of injury, shying away from pain.  This means that I have about 30 years of distrust in my physical self to get over.

When I did the London Triathlon in August, it was a huge milestone.  Proof that I should trust my body, that I should believe in my physical abilities.

With this Exposed post, I celebrate what I have achieved.  Triathlon has given me joy, strength, purpose, mindfulness, accomplishment and a sense of achievement – it has helped me to build strength and fitness while living with nerve disease and managing hypermobility. 

Last week I sat down with Coach T to review my 2011.  To plot out my schedule of races.  To discuss time and distance goals.  To affirm that triathlon is not *just* about fitness for me – it is about improving my times, my competitiveness. 

A lot of my 2011 calendar depends on the results of my weekend with British Triathlon and the conclusion of my paratriathlon assessments.  I hope to finish that on Saturday the 16th (and hope to blog about that next week).

But one thing does not depend on BTF.  There is one thing that I must tackle head on.

My Confidence.

Acknowledging my lack of confidence is a big step along my journey.  I wonder how much my confidence – and my fear of the unknown – holds me back?  This is what I will be breaking down and working on for the coming year. 

That’s what I am exposing today.

6 responses to “Exposed: Out of the Shadows”

  1. You are AMAZING. I love the idea of positive visualisations. it’s one thing to think it, it’s another thing to see it. Thanks for this. Your story is such an inspiration, because it enables me and others to see the power of focus on health/fitness and not on weight. You look amazing, but more importantly your spirit shines!

  2. Thank you guys for your support.  So much of the past year has been about learning what I can do.  I can’t wait to push and continue to redefine my limits in 2011…

  3. Donna,What an amazing example you are – of challenging yourself – and in that – seeing the beauty that IS you!!I loved reading this – and letting your words soak in.  Triathlon is something I’ve done – although only at the sprint level (because – honestly – the longer swim scares me).  You give me hope…hope in really believing in what I CAN do!!  Keep shining!!

  4. From what I have seen and observed in reading about your achievements you’ve come a long way and will continue to. You have a lot to be proud of when you consider the successes from 2010, and I’m certain that 2011 will see even more boxes ticked. Confidence and self belief are the foundations of those who achieve great things, and I feel we should all continue to work on these things if we want to be not only better at our sports but better people who give a damn about our lives and the lives of those around us. Thanks for sharing this!

  5. “Confidence and self belief are the foundations of those who achieve great things… we should all continue to work on these things if we want to be… better people.”

    On reflection, I think that by pushing into the unknown, I have started to confront my fears and started on a journey of learning how to be that better person.  I need to believe in myself more… And I am sure in 2011, as I push myself and test my limits, my self belief will grow.  Although I am scared to face that journey – which I know will not be easy.

    One of the things Coach T has said to me is that by setting goals – not just general fitness goals but time bound performance goals – I need to be prepared to go on the emotional journeys.  In a strange way, I am looking forward to it.  All of it.

  6. CHILLS. I love that you shared your struggles *and* your successes. Makes crossing the finish line even more sweet, no?You look amazing!

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