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I’m currently dealing
with an injured Achilles tendon and haven’t run a step since racing the Ironman
Australia triathlon four weeks ago. Granted, it’s a good thing to take some time
off after a huge race effort – but a full month without running has turned me
into a bit of a cranky girl!
I have gotten back
into the pool a few times, so when a friend asked me to join his relay team for
the Wildflower Triathlon, I said yes, so long as I could be the swimmer. If you
know me (or have ever seen me race), you’ll be laughing out loud as you read
this, knowing that swimming is my weakest of three sports by a significant
margin. Sure, I love being in the water – I just don’t pass through it very
quickly or efficiently.
But that was the
point of our relay team – three friends, each nursing various injuries, getting
out there and doing what we could in the name of pure, simple fun. In fact, our
team name was Weeble Wobble (you know, the ones that may falter but don’t fall
down?). Sure, none of us was in peak form, but what we lacked in competitive
fitness we made up for in team spirit. We even rallied with a few geeky cheers!
More than anything, being on the team was a great reminder to me (who occasionally
gets a bit too wrapped up in time splits and results) of why I train and race
in the first place – for the enjoyment. After all, if it stops being fun, what’s
the point in racing?
The reason I share
this experience is not to suggest that when you’re sidelined from running, you
should immediately hop off your injured duff and jump into a triathlon relay.
But you should take advantage of the time as an opportunity. It’s a chance to
refresh your body and your attitude,
to rediscover a lost love or a new passion, to take a step back and look at why
you do the things you do with fresh eyes and a clear perspective. I’m currently
laying out my plans for a full season of triathlon and running races – but I
don’t yet know how long my injury will take to heal. Any or all of these plans may
need to be adjusted, and I will need to roll with the changes. If so, I’ll find
something else that brings a smile to my face. Maybe it will be yoga, maybe
kayaking or maybe just getting caught up on a few good books. Or perhaps I’ll
focus on swimming and finally get my stroke up to par with my running and
– Holly Bennett