So I have decided my next race will be Challenge Roth. I had planned to race IM Texas as my validation for Kona, however illness in March put a big hole in my preparation and I decided racing well at Challenge Roth is my second most important goal, Kona being the first. The set back also meant I can not race at Escape from Alcatraz which I was very excited to be heading back there to relatively warm waters after experiencing it last year at a much colder time of the year.
So it was these tough decisions, a few moments of searching for what’s important, why I do this as a job, and reassessing my goals that made me realize I do this as a sport, and that is how I must approach it. This is not like other jobs, and nobody has any idea what it is actually like to experience the sport as life and as a job from this side of the fence. It is unimaginable, every day I’m discovering new aspects of this journey that can’t fully be explained it’s such a deep battle between many facets of ones personality, physical and mental bodies, outside influences, expectations, criticisms, all boiling together on the inside with no easy recipe to follow. And when things are going well it seems to all flow along, but when there’s a problem it can become a real mess and it’s easy to lose ones path.
I was physically struggling a week after winning in Huskisson Long course, and went downhill from there. I went really deep at Challenge Batemans Bay and crossed the line in a terrible state, on a day that I now know my body should not have been doing what it did. I was not healthy that day. But not in a way that most people feel unwell, but in a way that I have been struggling with for 15 years. Fatigued. When my body is not 100% I know about it because I’m unable to do the things I enjoy doing. Or even if I can do them I don’t enjoy them. I manage this fatigue issue, but it still flares up and I’m still learning about how the body works, and mine in particular. A week later I knew I was in a really really big hole but Oceanside 70.3 was the following weekend and I really wanted to go and see my sponsors, do some media promotion, some PR work, etc. and I did and it was a worthwhile trip.
I had to roll around the course I was so flat on the day. And I jogged with an age grouper chatting along the way. I survived with as little damage as possible, and really enjoyed the trip and think it was a beneficial trip. But now, as Kona draws closer I can’t take those trips just for the sponsorship side of triathlon. Now I have to spend every minute figuring out how to get in the best shape I can for Challenge Roth, and Kona. My main goals of the year. The two biggest long course triathlon races in the World. That is what is driving me in 2014.
So yes, I do still have to validate for Hawaii, by finishing an Ironman event. And I will do this at an undisclosed location, with no media, no pre race commitments, no support, just spending every single minute looking after myself so I can be in the best shape possible in Kona. It remains, and always will be, the race I test myself against. The one day a year where I test what advancements I’ve been able to make in this life.
This year is about me, doing what I want. It’s about rediscovering what I want to achieve in this life. Because I want to. Because this is what I want.
Happiness is the meaning of life. But like all good things it requires work.