Whether you are an elite world class athlete at the top of your game, or you are a newbie to your sport, your situation is unique to you and only you. That is what we all have in common. We all have a unique situation. We all have goals. We all want the best from ourselves. We all want to achieve. But everyone is unique. Everyone is individual. Everyone is an individual.
Even within a similar group of athletes who strive for the same goal, call it Olympic Gold, every single one of them have taken a different pathway on route to the race which will determine the outcome of their goals. Every one of those athletes will have had to battle different situations to get them to where they now stand. Life is a challenge. No one has it smooth sailing and that is the biggest thing we all have in common. Challenges.
Within the triathlon community, the word ‘challenge’ might bring with it a different connation. Within the long distance triathlon community there is a Challenge family. This is a selection of long distance triathlons that are run all over the world. For myself and my boyfriend Rich, our April Challenge was in Fuerteventura. Rich was racing his first half ironman as a pro, and I was on hand as no.1 supporter/helper.
Rich had set out a race plan. He set off to race and the plan was underway. The run leg was the important leg for him where he wanted to bank a fast split…cue the challenge. Rich being used to running 5km and 10km off the bike, set off a little hard throwing in a 2.57min/km within the first three kilometres. He knew he shouldn’t have done that as we had laid out the pacings but such is racing and such are these learning curves that seem to come with every challenge. Life hey…what a wonderful thing!
The week before we flew to Fuerteventura I had a camp with my French Team, Brive Limousin Triathlon in southern France. When I think of the south of France, I think of sunshine….yeah, easy to say that wasn’t the case. At this time of the year, I was just about 2 weeks shy of one whole year healthy. The race was on to make it to a year and this was a battle I was not willing to let slip through my hands. Rain and colder damp sessions meant having to be super careful with my health. Lack of rest between sessions and lack of naps meant my body was under strain. Lack of normality meant new challenges for my body to deal with. I was not losing this battle. I just needed to survive France and get to the sunshine in the Canary islands to replenish my vitamin D stores. With careful management, the health hurdle was hopped and I found myself in sunny Fuerteventura with my beautiful Ribble bike 🙂
Back in the UK now and I am simply counting down the days until May 1st where I will wake up a whole new person. One year, including a leap day, 366 days of health. That for me is HUGE. That is 366 days of uninterrupted training. That is 366 days of consistency. That is a goal achieved in my life that I never thought possible. That is one happy Ailbhe. That is simply magical. I have come through a lot of illness in the past where my body just did not want to play ball. I have battled mentally for a long time with my choice of pathway and I have come through everything stronger, healthier and finally happier than ever before. I am sure there are a lot of people out there who have battled mentally and physically just like I have done, but just know that if your battle is still on going, there is a future brighter than before just ahead. See the challenges and relish what they have to offer. The final hop over the last hurdle brings with it such a feeling of strength and fulfilment that you will wonder why you ever took so long in getting there. See a challenge and go for it.
My next challenge? I have started a crowd funding project with pledgesports.org . My reason why? As an elite athlete, finance is huge. Camps away and races abroad all cost money and for me, I work two jobs on casual contracts to earn my keep. Not easy with a full on training schedule thrown in the mix also. I would love to be able to get some more coaching badges under my belt that will provide me with a platform to reach out and coach athletes. This would act as a form of income for me and allow me more time at home, rather than in the work place and on my feet. Marginal gains are huge…oxymoronic?!! If you are interested I would love for you to hop over to this link and have a read and support me. Coaching courses are expensive and at the moment, the money I earn is spent on living, there isn’t any residual for coaching course fees. I have dreams that I would love for you to be a part of.
Check back again next month for more rambles 🙂