It’s now the new year for me: time to reflect on 2009 and focus on 2010! This year has been one of the best years of my life – in both a negative and positive way. Last year (2008) I had a great season as a first-year newbie pro: 3rd Muskoka 70.3, 1st Boulder Peak, 7th Wildflower, and 8th 70.3 Worlds (top Canadian!). I was ready to have a great 2009 season. In February I flew overseas to meet my new coach, Brett Sutton and teammates on TeamTBB. Here I was, 26 at the time, eager to work hard and become a real pro. I was on my way to my first adventure of 2009!
Team TBB Camp. I arrived in Manila, PI in pants and a long sleeve shirt. I knew it was going to be hot but not this hot! It was a wonderful training climate and the energy of the team took over on the days where you felt you couldn’t do anymore. And I can’t explain the Doc, he is smart he is. Yoda-like. He could read me inside and out with one glance. Naive, boggled in the mind, a scattered mess. I was going to be shown the tough way…
And so, I pushed myself to limits I shouldn’t have. I wanted to prove myself everyday and I got shattered in the process. I’d come home on hard training days literally not able to walk. Actually on some days, everyone came home like this! I remember walking home one night from a training run because my quads and calves seized up so much. That 1-mile took me 40-minutes!
The weeks rolled by and by the end of the 5th week I was still moving. I LOVED the team, the training and the focus of everyday. I learned a ton at this camp and got a taste of how hard one must train both in a mental and physical sense. Unfortunately, I crushed myself.
Chuckie V. knew that going with Brett and TeamTBB was the best thing for me at the time. I needed a kick in my own arse. Unfortunately I kicked my own arse a bit too hard and ended up fracturing my leg near the knee. I kept running on it and almost broke the tibia fully. I was literally walking on a fine line.
Back in the US, the doctor wanted to put me in a full leg cast. Instead, I opted for crutches and was diligent on not putting any weight on the leg. I managed OK but it was the hardest 4 months I’ve gone through. I broke my hip before in a bike crash but at the time, I was in school and was too busy to do anything else. With this fracture, I twiddled my thumbs and let my mind get the best of me at times. It was a long 4 months of no riding or running, and swimming very cautiously (even the water flow on my leg for the first 6 weeks caused me stabbing pains if I moved funny).
Wounds heal though, and I was ready to be back in battle (at least train for battle) by early July. I started running again, albeit slowly and putting some easy miles on the bike. I still remember my first ride outside again. I was like the new kid on the block with her first bike! I was smiling from ear to ear.
We thought it was best I stay in the USA and train, staying close to those I loved. I wasn’t ready for the Swiss Team TBB Camp. Instead, Chuckie and I headed to Park City, UT for a change of pace (and mostly because we found super cheap rent!) for the remainder of the summer.
Training was going well. I started pushing the bike and run again. My mind however was running a different show. Worry… all I did was worry. I felt like I wasn’t getting in shape fast enough to race, I worried that my Achilles problem that I had at the time (lasted a few weeks) would be another big injury, and I worried about worrying… It was all $%!T! Worry kills…
Hard-work. You would think I would have this down pat. I know hard-work, I THRIVE on hard work. But I’m like a horse that needs reigns and guidance. I went too hard, too fast and didn’t fully commit to the hard-work that is needed with recovery, and most importantly, my mental game. I hadn’t competed for ¾ of the year and my mind started worrying more about financial woes and my future in the sport. My savings account from last years’ winnings was dwindling to the triple digits – the low ones. I found myself in debt before I knew it and realized I couldn’t survive any longer on my Visa.
So, it was at this time, I realized it was best for me to head home to the Great White North. As it was, my visa was expiring for visiting the USA and I had to deal with some immigration papers. But more importantly, I needed to re-focus my un-focused mind. I went home and thanks to some amazing parents, I’ve been able to live in their house for the past couple months so that I could get out of debt.
And so here I am… the end of November 2009. I had to tell you all this in order for you to understand what I’m about to write and for you to understand how thankful I am for these experiences in my life. I learned more about myself than I have any other year. And this is not to say, I’m learned everything there is to learn… Oh, do I have a lot more to learn! But 2010 is going to help me do that.
Commitment. Hard-work (SMART hard-work). Diligence. Focus. Be the Warrior. HERE NOW. – All the requirements for the start of the new year for me.
I’ve written a lot about my fears and worries that hold me back. I’m now ready to face them like a true warrior and take the steps to do so. My three biggest fears:
1. Injuries. This past year has provided me the knowledge of how to train properly. Because of my propensity for stress fractures. I’ll be doing lots of uphill running, running every 2nd day and focusing on recovery. HOWEVER, running isn’t what hinders me. It’s my mind. Worry and stress have just as much (if not more) injury potential than ‘dumb’ training. I don’t need to prove myself everyday. Warriors don’t do that, or they’d be dead in their next battle. Recover, train, recover, train, recover, Fight!
2. Debt and Financial worries. I’m now out of debt (but no savings). And I’ve realized that being in debt was just an excuse. Yes it’s a worry, but it shouldn’t hold me back. I’ve decided to take out a loan and get rid of any financial worries I may have in the next year. With this loan, I will be able to focus on the task at hand and not worry about what I’m going to do to survive 2010. Hopefully with a solid 2010 season, and help from future supporters, I’ll be able to travel, train, and race with a focused mind.
3. My Future. I’m sure everyone worries about their future and I need to remember this. One should look ahead but only as much as to not hinder today! HERE NOW. A new motto of mine provided to me by some long talks and thoughts with people that believe in me (including myself)! Future doesn’t exist. HERE NOW does.
Of course, this is not going to make each day a piece of cake. As I said, I have lots to learn. But now, I’m excited for the learning experiences! And those above fears, will continue needing a lot of work. Words are just that, words. I need to put it into action.
But I’m ready. 2010, here I come!
And last but not least, I have to say how fortunate I am to have the support network around me. Thanks to the sponsors that have continued to back the team (The Bike Boutique, Avia, Jeju, Cervelo, Oval Concepts, Blue Seventy, Scody, Nury Tec Inc., and ISM Saddles) and my own personal support from: Rudy Project, Standard Process, and Sable Water Optics. I’m grateful to have a family of supporters backing me in my efforts.