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.