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I finally did it … Long road towards a big goal

IMG_4568Recall a time when you finally achieved a goal that you had been working on for a long time. Maybe you had a plan, got support from others and took the necessary actions to finally achieve that goal. Yet, what happens when, for reasons outside of your control, something happens and your target date is pushed back? Well, that is what happened to me for my Olympic-distance triathlon that I finally completed yesterday!

I have always been a person who loved sports and often challenged myself by stretching my comfort zones, pushing my boundaries and see what I could do. I like to practice what a preach when I coach others! However, as some of you might be aware, several years ago my life took a different turn for a few years whereby I was away from sports and competitive environments for various reasons including injury and illness. Getting back into regular exercise and any type of competition has been taken very slowly.

Last December, a friend was very persuasive and encouraged me to sign up for this local triathlon. I knew that the time was right to get back into things and stretch myself. Yet, just to be on the safe side, I worked with a coach to help me train and prepare in a manner which helped me to get to the start line well prepared and healthy.

With the race date of 1st May, I started training in January and everything was going fantastically. I was following the coach’s direction and progress was being made.  My excitement was building at the thought of being able to do an Olympic-distance triathlon again however 10 days before race day, the organizers announced that they were having to reschedule the race and the new date was 2nd July.

After the tears (yes, there were tears!) and disappointment that I had done all that preparation and I was ready to peak perfectly for race day, I had to carry on for another two months! I had to remind myself to find that ‘bounce-back-ability’ that I knew I had and to focus on the goal and the reasons why I was pursuing the goal. My motivation was high to continue on and turned the tears into a positive outlook by reminding myself that the extra time would help me to get fitter, stronger and faster!

After six months of focus and preparation, six months of motivation and self-discipline, six months of hard work and effort; race day was yesterday! I knew I was physically and mentally ready, it was just a question of getting to the start line, waiting for the gun to go off and do what I had prepared for.

The swim was interesting as the water was much cooler than in recent days and with 800 competitors battling through the water, it was hard to not get hit. I was most certainly in the thick of things and grateful that I am a strong swimmer. When I came out of the water, I had a silly grin on my face and pleased with my efforts because I did have a few moments of doubt and fear which were quickly banished when I reminded myself of what doing the race meant for me.

It was then onto the bike to do a route which I had completed several times in training. The route was uphill for the first 30 kms followed by 18kms downhill, parts of which had warning signs for ‘dangerous descent’! I was strong and steady throughout and the kilometers seems to pass by so quickly. Quicker than when I seemed to do it in training and super pleased with how strong I felt on those uphill climbs.

As I started on the run, I knew I was on the home stretch. I often did a 10km run after my long bike ride in training and was confident that I could maintain a good pace. It was simply a question of putting one foot in front of the other, keep a strong and steady pace and I’d get there. It was a great feeling to be able to pass other runners along the way knowing that all the training and preparation was paying off for me.

Well … I got there! Crossing the finish line with a smile on my face knowing that I finally did it! After six months of focused training, I’d achieved a big goal that I set for myself and did something that I loved doing!

A big shout out of THANKS to Kurt for all his support, encouragement and advice. His wise words of experience made such a difference to my preparation that I was in the best shape I have ever been for any of my races. I am very grateful for all his time and energy during those weekly calls, particularly as it was extended for an extra two months! Namaste.

Point to Ponder: What helps you to re-frame changes to your plan so you can be flexible, take the positives and the lessons regardless of what happens?

 

(picture is of me and my swimming buddy, France, both very pleased with having done the Tri!)

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