The journey back.

If I had of known the significance of crossing the line in my last triathlon of the 2011/12 season I may have savoured the moment a little longer. If I had known how long my tri gear was going to be packed away for I might have taken a bit more care with the process. I had no plans on taking an extended break from tris it just seemed to work out that way.

I had my usual winter break from swimming because…. well, just because. I raced track over winter but track where a whole nights racing can consist of a few whole minutes of going flat out and the warm up can be longer than the racing time. But track racing doesn’t make up for a few cold months of gluttony and sloth. As for running, well I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with running.

The summer of 2012/3 was to be punctuated with a family holiday to the UK to visit my folks for Christmas and that meant cold weather, large amounts of festive cheer and little time to fit in training so I spent a bit of time planning the holiday and a lot of time talking myself into having a season off. I mean I’d been racing since 1991, one season wouldn’t matter would it? So the season of 2012/13 came and went without pinning a number on and while I missed the racing, I had convinced myself that I was in no shape to do any race the justice I thought it deserved or to attain the results I thought I wanted.

At least Christmas shopping in Ireland was fun! 

So the winter of 2013 came and brought with it similar circumstances to the previous year and similar results. I had every intention of getting sorted for 2013/14 season but somehow it crept up on me and before I knew it summer was upon me and I hadn’t done the work required. But the New Year would bring a new start, or so I thought. The New Year though brought with it the opportunity to take over the custodianship of the Transitions forum and from that point on my spare time was pretty much otherwise allocated and another season slipped by.

As anyone involved in a “business” that I associated with your chosen sport or hobby the most frustrating thing is that the business you enjoy often keep you too busy to actively engage in the hobby it is involved with. So while IM not complaining about the Forum and the Website and the work it entails it did keep me busier than I thought and what spare time I had needed to be shared with family so once again raining suffered, to put it mildly.

As summer drew closer I realised that I felt it was important for me to get back in the saddle and get racing again at whatever level I was capable. But I thought I should get “fit” before I entered a race. A few frustrating false starts led me to feel I wasn’t going to be up to the level I had hoped when the first gun fired. So the target race tentatively changed in anticipation that I would get my butt into gear and get myself race ready for the next possible date.

It was then, while reading the race talk on Transitions, that I remembered why I loved triathlon, hit the SUBMIT button an entered the first race I could. I knew I would be underdone, I knew I would struggle, I knew I probably wouldn’t be happy with my results, but I also knew if I didn’t enter and race I would be more unhappy with myself.

As race day neared I knew I was way short of where I thought I wanted to be, there had been no “speed work” or “intervals” or “race pace efforts” , no race simulations, no swim start practice, no transition training, I hadn’t even run in the new race kicks I had bought just before the last race of 2012. In fact I had to have a good hard think about what to pack for race day it had been so long.

In the end race day dawned like any other day, I registered and racked my bike. I chatted with some great friends whom I have known for years through this sport, I chatted to some great strangers whom I met for the first time on that day. I felt nervous as I hadn’t raced for a while, but the guy racking next to me who was doing his first triathlon ever and asked me for a few words of advice put my nerves at bay and squarely into perspective.

I swam better than I expected and wasn’t last out of the water, which considering I had been out of the water for 2.5 years was a little surprising, he ride was OK and as always the run hurt but was interspersed with cheering for mates who were going the other way on the looped course.

I didn’t do as well as I would have liked, but did a lot better than I expected or probably deserved. However I did it and as I crossed the finish line I was reminded again why I love triathlon.

I am reminded of the bushfire prevention ad that says something like “Planning to make a plan, isn’t making a plan”, and that is what had stopped me from doing what I love, planning to plan to get back into it. So with a new year on our doorstep if you resolution is to “plan to get back into racing” change it to “enter a race on Jan 1”.

It doesn’t need to be Ironman or even Olympic Distance just find a race you are able to get to and get moving.

I hope you all have a very safe and happy New Year and I hope to see you all around the races.

Thanks for the support for both the Forum and the Website and we look forward to being able to grow both with your help and involvement in the New Year.