It’s not about the destination

It’s about the journey.  So said somebody very wisely who I have quoted here before.

Two days ago I competed in my very first triathlon.  It was a small one, just 300m swim, 9km bike and 3km run.   As you would know if you read this blog somewhat regularly, I considered it more of a training event than a race, with the big race coming up in 3 weeks time.  The big race is far more well farrrrrr.  In fact it’s more than 3 times the size – 1.5km swim, 40km bike and 10km run.

I think at this point it’s worth reflecting on how and why I got here.  Here being staring down the barrel of my first Olympic distance triathlon (now my second tri!), a mere 6 months after finishing chemotherapy – and whilst only mid way through a year of herceptin treatment.

13 months ago when I was diagnosed with breast cancer, one of the reasons it was such a shock is because I felt so damn well.  You see, I was 8 months into running with a squad and the whole thing had kind of changed my life.  I think it was the discipline and endorphins adding up to a healthier lifestyle and happier me.   I’d also taken on the challenge of entering my first triathlon (in Noosa QLD).   I had added swimming training to the running and had just (3 days prior) finally bought a brand spanking new piece of kit – I mean bike.    And then it happened.  I found out I had breast cancer.

Out went the training regime, in came the urgent mastectomy, followed soon after by chemotherapy etc.   The piece of kit went un-ridden.  It teased me with it’s presence, taunting me with it’s promise of a return to normality just by its existence.  So shiny and new, just waiting for me.

I still went to Noosa last year (as a spectator), and it only strengthened my desire to participate. I even went as far as entering and paying up for this year just as I was kicking off chemo. Yes I will admit there was a part of me slightly concerned I was being overly optimistic, but at the same time, I enjoyed acting with confidence that I’d be ready.

And guess what. I am ready. I am so ready that a couple of weeks ago, I found myself looking up the times for last year in my age group setting myself a target of finishing top 20.

Which brings me to the point of this post. Since then, I have competed in a 9km run/race in the blistering heat and the mini triathlon. The run taught me a lesson. You see, I was so concerned with my performance (push, push, push, mental dialogue a train wreck) I didn’t enjoy it. Which reminds me, similarly back in August I ran a 14km race after hardly sleeping and getting myself so caught up in competitiveness I felt tortured whilst running.

So on the weekend for the mini tri I went into it with a new attitude. That being, it is about the journey not the destination. It doesn’t matter what time I do, it matters how it feels. And guess what…I finished the mini tri with a big fat smile on my face. I will admit I still obsessed over the times once they were in but hey old habits die hard!

I intend to take this new attitude with me to Noosa. No more ridiculous pressure on myself. I’ve done the training, I am fit, really fit and just by competing I am winning. I think it’s already clear that breast cancer has not held me hostage (which I think may have been driving some of this uber competitiveness – as in seeeeeee, I am not sick!). In fact my life is going on, it really, really is. And I am going to continue to do my best to enjoy every moment of it. NO. MORE. TORTURE.

5 thoughts on “It’s not about the destination

  1. Pingback: Versatile Blogger Award « The Running Thriver

  2. I am compelled to reply to your blog for two reasons. The first being that I am a breast cancer survivor…twice now…and the second because my son is training for his first triathlon which he will do at Lake Placid next July. I have watched my son compete in some Olympic Distance Triathlons…and several half Triathlons. The fact that you are a breast cancer survivor and competing in Triathlons…no matter the distance…just blows me away…!! I’m so proud of you and I’m cheering you on from both perspectives…the breast cancer…and the triathlon…you rock…you really do…!! Good Luck with both your journies…!!

  3. Pingback: From Humble Beginnings… « The Running Thriver

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