After Ironman 70.3 Victoria I told my mom "I think that will be my last triathlon".
Her eyes widened - are you okay? No, I was not. I had spend the entire run giving up on myself. I had no will to push on and thought of one too many excuses to stop -- i tripped and my ankle hurt too much, I started projectile vomiting and they told me to stop, etc.
Two days later I still wasn't sure if I wanted to be in this sport. I had just cheered at Ironman 70.3 Santa Rosa where I witnessed Sarah Piampiano push herself to the max on the bike and run. I realized then that I had to have SO much self confidence, belief, and will power to push myself beyond my comfort zone to be the professional athlete that I want to be. After Victoria I didn't think I was capable of that. I want to be the best professional athlete I can possibly be but if I am unable to push myself past my perceived limits in a race then there is no sense in continuing (in that elite of a setting that is). To me it wasn't that I had a "bad" race...it was that I gave up on myself and to me that is completely unacceptable. I never give up mentally. Never.
After reflection I talked to my coach Matt Dixon of purplepatch fitness. He gave me two choices:
- Step away from the sport and excel at whatever I want to do. Still compete if I want to but put the dream of being a professional athlete aside.
- Commit and don't look back.
He told me that this was my choice and NOBODY would judge me either way. I had to do what I wanted deep down. I would be great at whatever I set my mind to. But the choice was mine and nobody else's.
The decision didn't come to me right away. The prospect of having a normal life was exciting: staying up past 8pm? Not waking up at 4:30 am? Being a normal 25 year old? Having more time with Zach (my boyfriend). Not worrying about money?
The life of a professional athlete is not glorious. It involves early bedtimes, strict eating habits, and a restricted social life. BUT it also involves the beautiful outdoors, training for a living, and being surrounded by some amazing training partners.
I approached Zach, my boyfriend, and told him I was thinking of quitting triathlon. I thought he would say "okay!" as it would mean a normal life for the both of us. The opposite occurred. He looked me in the eyes and said:
Are you CRAZY? From the moment I met you you said that you were dedicated to triathlon. This was your dream and passion and you weren't going to let anything get in the way of it. Okay, you had a bad race but get back on the saddle and go for it. You LOVE this. You work so hard for this. You can't turn around now. Now is when you push harder.
I was shocked. Wow. I knew he believed in me and was my #1 fan but man...that made it so much more real.
But, I knew it was still a choice I had to make myself. After a week I decided that I was going to commit. Not look back. Go for it.
I'm glad I did.