I wrote this on the plane home from a holiday in Perth. A holiday that was originally booked around Busselton 70.3, my last chance to qualify for the world champs, and which I decided in the end not to race. The decision was made for a number of reasons – minor injury, lack of results and ultimately, just not wanting to. I’ve always said that as soon as triathlon stopped being fun, I would stop doing it. I think I’ve finally reached that point.
At the start of this season, I knew it would require a huge physical effort to achieve my goal, made even more difficult by the fact my heart was only 70% in it. I thought I could fake the extra 30% and when the results came it would all fall into place. The old “fake it til you make it” theory. But you can’t fake heart. And the results weren’t coming.
After the wake up call that was Geelong 70.3, I went back training with enthusiasm and was going better than ever, but couldn’t seem to put these gains into racing. Come race days, I was actually getting slower and slower. There was no fire in my belly, no motivation. The desire to push myself and the competitive spirit had somehow disappeared.
And I was feeling so guilty about it all, which only exacerbated the issue. Guilty for not being fast enough. Guilty for giving up when the going was getting tough. Guilty for not wanting to make the sacrifices. Guilty for wasting the opportunities I’d been given. Guilty for just not wanting to work as hard as I needed to, to be a winner. Was I a sore loser?! For a while now, training and racing felt like something I had to do, rather than really wanting to.
Despite all the training, support and opportunity, I was missing the most important thing – heart.
It wasn’t that the heart had gone somewhere, or was hiding for a little bit, it just wasn’t there to begin with. Perhaps I was foolish to start this season at all knowing my heart wasn’t fully in it and should have instead followed the motto “don’t half ass anything”! But I had unfinished business and … wait for it … my heart set on going out with a bang. To right the wrongs from Kona. Which is why it wasn’t an easy decision to not race Busso. To essentially give it all up.
To be successful in anything, you have to have passion, but especially to be successful in triathlon (and world champion kind of successful to boot), you’ve got to put the sport first. It took me a long time to realise I just can’t do it anymore. Like going through a rough break up “it’s not you, it’s me”. There are other things in my life that are more important than triathlon. Ha! Who would have thought! When I revealed this to my coach, sobbing down the phone line, like my world was about to end, he too laughed at me, claiming “it’s only triathlon”. Puts it all in perspective really.
This is something that has happened gradually over time and is, I’m guessing, a natural evolution in the life of all athletes. The decision to go on when motivation wanes, or the decision to stop. And you know what? I don’t feel bad about this decision anymore. I actually feel like a weight has lifted. And a very strong sense of new beginnings as quite possibly, the triathlon chapter of my life comes to a close. *
Who knows what the future holds? But for now it’s not having to get up at 5am every day, it’s not being ruled by a Garmin, it’s taking holidays without a bike and it’s not feeling guilty about it.
* I feel the need to specify that I’m referring to competitive racing. I’ll always be involved in the sport in one way or another (I’m now President of the BRAT Club), I just don’t want to race anymore. So its goodbye to the athlete and hello to the weekend warrior!
** I also feel the need to give one final shout out to my sponsors and support team that supported me from the very beginning. I hope you all know how grateful I am for having had these opportunities. You allowed me to live my dreams. Thank you.