Written on 24 December 2017
Earlier this year I self-published a book on Amazon about my experience as a triathlete trying to qualify for the national team. If you search my name on Amazon you can find it or click here. The My Book page on my website also has more details.
I wrote the book for three main reasons: 1) Although I don’t profess to being particularly good at it, I enjoy writing. 2) I enjoy learning new things so found the process of self-publishing quite fascinating. 3) I had a lot of emotion after the race and felt I needed to put it down on paper. Sharing it with the world just happened to be a scary after-thought. Two Amazon reviews so far: a 5-star (must be family!) and a 1-star (ouch!).
At the time of writing I had just finished the qualifying race and had no idea as to whether I would be selected or not. The book therefore ended on a “cliff-hanger” — for lack of a better term.
Over the last few months I have had several people asking how things turned out or how the story ends. Instead of replying to each person I thought I would put this quick post together to tie-up the loose ends. If you would still like to read the book and don’t wan’t to know how it ends then please don’t carry on reading. As they say, “spoiler alert!”. So without any further waffling…
The next few months after the race were terrible. Such a big part of me wanted to contact the selectors and proactively appeal any chance that I may not be selected. I had even spent hours in spreadsheets comparing my performance in the National champs relative to that of other competitors in various other races. I ended up with a rather comprehensive database of results which supported my qualitative feeling about how the race had gone. In almost every comparison, I was 30% slower on the swim, and around 15% slower on the run. Another part of me argued that past performances are all very well but you’re only as good as your last race. After “missing the break” in a cycling race, the cyclist doesn’t argue with the race officials that, based on past performances, he would have won the race if he hadn’t been found wanting when the race opened up.
I mentioned in the book that I was struggling to decide if I deserved to go even though technically the top eight in each age-group could be eligible. Yes I came 8th — but I was still over 20 minutes slower than the leader. With that as context, i decided to not force things and see what happens.
Not having every morning and afternoon already planned out for me was amazing. If I felt like running, then I would run. If I felt like running 10km, got halfway and decided I didn’t want to run anymore, then I stopped. No guilt, no explanation, no worries. I bought a decent second hand mountain bike and enjoyed riding without any aim, and more importantly, without fear of being hit by a car. I didn’t go near the indoor trainer and most certainly steered clear of that black line that resides at the bottom of the pool!
It wasn’t always easy. Particularly because I had this nagging sense that I may still be selected to go to World Champs. If that happened, I would need to get into the shape of my life to vindicate my selection and have a race worthy of representing my country. Getting running fit is always the hardest and most precarious part. I recently read/heard something that 90% of Triathlon injuries are related to running. This is exactly my experience. I reasoned that if I could just keep ticking away at my run fitness then I would be able to jump straight into full on training at a moments notice.
One morning before work, my wife went to ride her horse and I was enjoying being lazy by lying in bed and tinkering on my laptop (YouTube etc.). At about 06:30 I got an excitable phone call from her. She was on her way back home after riding and had just checked her email: “Did you get it?!” she cross examined me. I was confused and said “get what?!”…she fired back “DID YOU GET THE EMAIL?! CHECK YOUR EMAIL!!!”. Now having been on my laptop for the better part of an hour I was up to date on my email and besides the usual social media fluff and online shopping ‘traps’, I didn’t have anything noteworthy. I had been dreading this scenario for months now — and I was right in the middle of it. My wife, being the super star that she is, had just received an email from the selectors asking her to represent our country at World Champs in Rotterdam. By contrast, I received an email from a retailer telling me that there’s a special on toasters. If I act quick I can get 30% off… “oh my souls joy!”
We endured an awkward 3 minute conversation when she arrived home. Having had a few months to prepare for this moment made it easier to hide any emotion. I had my answer, it was the right answer. I must move on.
What does “moving on” look like? I exercise almost every day. I’ve entered a few races in 2018. I’m able to fit in a few hours learning to code a week. We’ve bought land and will be starting to build a house in early 2018. We bought a bunny called Mr. Wazoogles. I’m constantly a week away from messaging my coach and telling him i’m ready to try again.
This was written on 24 December 2017 and published to Medium.com