I lined up for my first ever swimming race when I was 5. I’d been bugging mum for weeks to race at the local club and finally she gave in. My lifelong dreams were about to come true. I had rehearsed the race several times and I had a plan. The plan was simple really – to make sure I kept my head in the water and that I won.
Sunday morning came and everyone was quite excited as I was the youngest person racing at this time. I had a fair bit of (unwanted) attention. I just wanted to race. I lined up, the whistle went and I dove into the water ready to make my dream of winning the race a reality.
Head down, kicking hard and fast arms…
My lean body broke through the surface of the water and I gasped for a breath, kicking my legs as fast as they would go and turning my arms over rapidly. I probably only made it about 3 metres down the pool when I felt something enormous reach into the water and grab me, pulling me back and trying to drown me.
I panicked, kicking harder, trying to kick my perpetrator away without success. I felt two strong arms grab around my upper body and lift me clean out of the water.
I burst through the water with my arms flailing, my head raised to the sky and my eyes popping open in surprise.
I thought someone was trying to down me but in fact it was John, the club captain who had dived in to stop me racing as the race had a false start. I remember getting out of the pool in tears and quite shaken up.
I asked Mum recently what I did after that. Her reply was simple:
“What do you think you did? Like everything, you wiped away your tears, pulled your shoulders back, stood tall and said ‘ok I’m ready to go again.”
As an adult, those words seem simple, but here I am all these years later having my own false start, with this very newsletter. It has taken me a little longer to shake off the embarrassment and fear of going again but I got there.
Welcome to Issue 2. Thank you for all of the positive feedback and new subscriptions I have received. Hopefully you will find this issue enjoyable too!
There is a saying about triathlon – “Halfway through the run out in the ironman, you find yourself, stripped bare for all to see”. Not only do your fears of how the race is going to end filter in, but you also have moments when your past pain catches up with you and your coping mechanisms become apparent.
When I first started triathlon I was running away from a recent cancer diagnosis. Training for triathlon was the coping mechanism. I have always been aware of my motivations during a race; I’m running to my girls, to see them at the finish line, hopefully make them proud and lead by example.
Triathlon training is also like that. During the lead up to the race there are weeks you physically deplete yourself so much that you actually lose a lot of mental strength. This is usually when your present fears and past pains creep back in. Through the years I have learnt to be honest about this to those who are closest to me. I will apologise to the girls if I snap and explain how tough it is right now, or I will ring a friend and say I’m about to burst
into tears for no reason and they know exactly what point of my training I’m in.
In my case, the walls I build to keep my emotions at bay often break down. On the up side, you have the choice what to do next. Triathlon training, as ridiculous as it sounds, gives me the calmness I need to just move with one foot in the front of the other – both in the race and in life.
When the FEAR sets in, what are you going to do?
Forget Everything And Run
Face Everything And Rise?
From my experience, I do believe to truly rise from a tough situation, you have to face it all. Sometimes that means putting one foot in front of another, sometimes it’s getting back in the pool after a false start – the point is just to keep going.
“What are you willing to
give up to have the life you
keep pretending you want?”
Meanwhile in Lycra
As we emerged from Covid-19, I was set to race in Geelong.
The race was booked and on the horizon – over a year since my last race. And then just like
that, Melbourne went into lockdown (again) and the race was postponed for a month. My training was already in a loading phase. The easiest way to describe this in non training language is basically to imagine many many (way too many) kms on the road and in thewater. Given the increase in distance in both the bike and run training, looking after yourself during your training and in recovery is imperative if you want to show up the next day.
Race day finally arrived two weeks ago and whilst, as usual I have analysed my race and set new goals – I still have to get faster on that bike. My coach is happy with my race. I finished 5th in my age group but also, it is the closest (time wise) I have been to the lead. I missed having the girls there as they both had sporting commitments of their own. The finish just doesn’t seem the same without their arms around me giving me a hug (or helping me walk – ha ha!) Even still – and as always – I was blessed to have training partners and friends there for support.
The downside to the extra month of training is that I now have to back up Geelong with
another half ironman – on Sunday in Shepparton. Wish me luck!
Back to life with heels on and dry hair
The rush of December always reminds me that there are never enough hours in the day to achieve what I set out to do. And now here we are in April! That kind of says it all!
The girls are both flourishing this year, which truly brings me so much joy (and calm). Bella was accepted into the uni course she wanted and is enjoying the feeling of accomplishment with great marks in the first few subjects, not to mention the freedom and independence of being 18. Livvy is coming into her own (and becoming more like me) as she is learning to excel in time management in order to participate in all her sports (rowing, triathlon, netball and football) and still have time for school and socialising. Her first football game of the season is also on Sunday and I won’t be there as I will be racing (oh the mother guilt is so real!).
On the work front, I have been so excited to put heels back on and see clients “in real life” and not over Zoom. I am still committed to locking in some events to present my newest keynote “Lessons learned in lycra”, so if you have any contacts that might be interested, please pass on their details.
And to top it off, (you can never be too busy can you?) my great friend and I are in the process of launching our podcast appropriately titled: “The Doc and I”. Stay tuned for more on that!
As much as I break this newsletter down to facets of my life – this month’s newsletter really does illustrate that they all meld into one.
As always, please feel free to share this newsletter with anyone who you think may benefit or send through any feedback.