Just about a week ago now I had a restless sleep and out of nowhere I took a look at my life and my career with more of an outside perspective. I took a step back and looked at the big picture, my future in the sport and my seemingly never ending cycle of injury. I've been injured for 5 straight season's now and I'm still only 23. With plantar fasciitis slowly creeping back into the picture I woke up with a gut feeling "It's June and I can't run. Should I really be trying to race this year?"
This thought came very suddenly. One day I'm time trialling the Waddling Dog loop at my best effort and loving it, the next I'm considering time off. That day I had planned to ride 4hrs with a local established athlete. We got talking and really being honest about the past, the future and what I'm doing now. The more we talked the more it became clear. I mulled over the idea of resting for a few days weighing out pro's and con's and trying to get a sense for where this was coming from and how I really felt without taking into account outside pressures or opinions. My gut feeling was right. In every way! So why was facing the idea so hard? It's because I love what I do. I've been a triathlete for 18 years now but training full time for about 12 of those. I don't know anything else. This thought was a bit daunting but I knew if I wanted to have a long career I needed to give my body a chance to fully recover from years of battery and coming back from injury as quick as possible.
So now we are working on Kirsten 2.0. The new and improved, refreshed and revamped model! I told Jamie, my chiropractor about the doctor who told me I was a "Ferrari engine in a Volkswagen Bug body" to which he quickly replied with "Well Volkswagen went on to create Porsche." And that is our goal. To turn this little old Beetle into a race car. I've been getting lots of treatment and carefully scanning back through all my old aches and pains and previous injuries and breaking up the scar tissue and adhesions, releasing things chronically tight muscles and also tightening things like my super mobile knee caps, SI joint and ankles with Prolo therapy. All things that take the back burner while I'm training. Right now I'm severely bruised and soon to be swollen but all for a good cause!
"So what do you do with your days then?" you might ask. Well, besides near daily appointments I still keep active. I do core work everyday and either bike ride and/or go to the gym. I'm working on my shoulder which I injured when I had my back crashes last year but never really fixed so I haven't been swimming much. I've been mountain biking lots and absolutely loving it. The goal of this break is to be better when I return so I'm not letting myself go to mush, nor do I feel like it! I want to stay strong to prevent injury in the future. Plus, I love being fit and active so that will never change. What has changed though is the hours of sleep I get. At least 10! Also, my appetite which is fading without the crazy training. And my ability to volunteer, help people out and bake cookies! I have done all of the above this week and it feels great! There are positives to being a "normal person" haha Not being completely self absorbed and goal oriented! That's the part about being an athlete that I struggle most with. I'll have to get back there but for now being helpful feels good! I've also just moved into a lovely new suite which I am quite enjoying decorating and organizing. The catchups with friends are nice too!
I was worried about feeling guilty about taking rest considering this is the first time I have ever voluntarily taken a break but it's not an issue because I know I'm doing this so that I can be better. So in a sense it's like training to me. I think this is showing signs of athletic maturity on my part! It's about time!
Even though this is a break with an outcome goal in mind, I'm still going to enjoy it and savour it. Little things like staying in bed and reading in the morning. Going camping, hiking and spending more time with my family, friends and boyfriend. Basically just relaxing and adventuring! I have a list of things I want to do. Trips, hikes (the Chief in Squamish!!) bike trails, races even! I consider bike racing to be ok as it's not as hard on my body and I can still have a competitive outlet :P
Anyway, that's my story. Just in case anyone was wondering where I disappeared to. Luckily my ever-so-supportive sponsors are behind me which is a huge relief. As are my coach, doctors and family. I have 100% support from my entire professional and social networks which is a great feeling! Thanks everyone for the support over the years. I will be back, healthy and strong... Kirsten 2.0! :D