Two days after my Ironman my sister came to Boulder to see my life there and embark on the 1712 miles of terrain between Boulder and Courtenay BC in my little 2003 Honda Civic. From my last and best night in Boulder, getting slightly detoured in the first 45 minutes of our drive, willing my car to get over the Rockies at 50 miles/hr and arriving to the Big Horn Lodge, I knew this trip would be unforgettable. We had a phenomenal time in Moab. Driving through the rest of Utah was... interesting? We learnt that in Brigham City you can't find a drop of coffee anywhere (Mormon thing) and when they say wind warning on Highway 84 they actually mean white knuckle drive with hazards on while your extremely weighted down Honda is almost blown of the road. The Shiloh Inn in Boise was a brilliant place to arrive tired, hungry and in need of a hot tub. We made it through the Outlet shopping centres in North Bend to arrive at my Lake Stevens 70.3 homestay Gary and Sarah Schroeder. Wine, amazing lasagna, Trader Joe's flourless chocolate cake, Sarah's raspberry cordial and laughter was a wonderful way to finish our trip. Crossing the border was a breeze and Danielle and I lamented that we did not buy more wine and cheese. By the time I got on the BC Ferries I had serious tunnel vision with one mission - get to Courtenay. We did and were greeted by my brother in law, brother and two gorgeous nieces. I knew I was finally home....
Sitting in Boulder on my final night I looked at the people around me. Together long rides to Glen Haven where the gigantic cinnamon buns and $.25 coffee were consumed, hours on the massage table where weekly trials and tribulations divulged, hikes up Mt. Sanitas, NBRC pool and sauna, Ward cookies, mile repeats around Wonderland Lake and Reservoir swims were shared. This year has been tremendous experiencing the lows of injury and overtraining to now where I seem to be pinching myself and wondering is this my life? Here is 2012 in a nut shell.
The year started in Iten Kenya – dancing, laughing and sharing Tusker beer with people who quickly became true friends. Days were spent running and biking in the Rift Valley, swimming in the ice cold pool only to warm up in the sauna. I never wanted those days to come to an end but adventures awaited.
When I arrived to Austin I had no idea that I would experience culture shock. Running up South Congress, a wonderful shopping street with the energy of the eclectic, hip, yuppy, granola loving people that make Austin so special, people were all sipping their $5 lattes. As I ran with tears streaming down my cheeks I wondered if anyone knew what $5 meant to people in a world away. The privilege of my life and sport were never so apparent.
Thanks to Mark, my travel sponsor, I made it to Panama 70.3 in one piece telling myself that I had all I needed to have a great race – hard training and determination. The gun went off, 5 kms into the bike I had a flat, 2 km another. My race was done. I got home and started nursing the plantar fascia issues that I had developed. On a mission to start my season and get on the Worlds 70.3 qualifying points list I took on San Juan 70.3. First out of the water was the best part of the day. With little run training, after the bike it all went downhill. Spirit took another hit. I went home to BC to be with my family.
Next race was Wildflower – a race I truly love and think EVERYONE should do at least once. The pressure was mounting to have one good race. Having finally got back to running I thought – do what it takes, if it were easy everyone would do it, keep pushing through it all. Truthfully though I was dragging myself around the amazing streets of San Francisco in preparation. How can anyone drag themselves around such an incredible and inspiring place? I was perplexed. I kept pushing and pushing, hoping and wishing it were just a little easier. My body once again snapped and I developed a labral tear flare up. The harder I tried the more my body resisted. I did not start the race.
Back in Austin I had to reevaluate where I was at. My body was a mess and my spirit low. This was not what being a professional athlete was really about I thought. Or was it? Zane (previous coach) was embarking on new adventures and I needed to change things up. I got in touch with Chuckie V. and went to Boulder to meet him and see if he and I could work together. One week later I knew I had to give it a go. I packed my little Honda Civic and said good-bye to Austin, the place where I began my journey as a full-time professional triathlete.
In the six short weeks I worked with Chuckie he had a profound and positive impact on me. He changed everything I did in my training to be manageable, enjoyable but still hard work. It was like I woke up to see where I was again -outside in an incredibly beautiful place. One of his many motto's was to ensure that training gave you energy and did not take it away. I did epic rides and loved it. I hiked up and down mountains giving my body exactly what it needed – strength and endurance. I worked hard but after every session I still had a little something left. I also had moved into the house of Anita Lopez. Her energy, positive influence, infectious joy for life, willingness to learn and embrace everything that comes in one's path and her knowledge on hydration and nutrition was the complete package to heal my spirit and body. Chuckie had to take some time away and I was left to coach myself. I figured I knew what to do and had incredible support at home to do it. For the first time I learned how to trust myself fully.
Lake Stevens 70.3 was the first race of my “new” season and my goal was to embrace every moment. With my sister and mom on the sidelines this was easy. I have never had so much fun in a race, negative split the run and smile the whole way through. I had come back.
Life never really gives you a break and 4 days before my second race, Boulder 70.3, I had a terrific crash on my bike. In typical Tenille fashion I thought I would be healed in days because of my positive attitude. I tried to get to a start line 3 times in the month of August but my body kept saying nope. My back and hips had suffered the most. Eventually with the amazing work of my massage therapist Allan Kupczak and help of Jared Hauschildt I did get going again and was on the start line of Muskoka 70.3.
Every race for the rest of the season I had people I loved on the sidelines – my best girl friends in Muskoka 70.3, Ottawa friends at Pocono 70.3, host family extraordinaire in Rev3 Anderson and whole Austin community at Austin 70.3. They carried me through consistent and joyful racing despite my growing fatigue. I put everything I had out there on every race and raced smart.
I had been told that being a professional athlete is nothing but hard work, sacrifice and lack of balance. I think this is wrong. Balance comes from knowing where you are most happy and able to find your abundant energy to do your life's work. For me that happy place is being engaged in learning, in my sport and in those relationships that make life richer and meaningful. In September I took on a full race schedule, progressive training load to prepare me for Ironman and started classes through distance education at Simon Fraser University. My life was full on and I certainly had no room for naps. I finally found balance, where I loved working and studying. I understood how my passion and work could be combined and where I could flourish.
It was while injured from the crash that I thought about Ironman distance and the what-if. Once again I called up my personal “sober second thought” Mark Cathcart. He was nothing but enthusiastic and once again made it possible with air-miles and accommodation. I found myself on the start line at Ironman Cozumel to finish off a tremendous year. This race was amazingly fun until I had to learn some valuable nutritional lessons that I suppose I could only learn in a race. I am super excited about doing another and totally “crushing it”.
Before Ironman Cozumel my Uncle William died in a car crash coming home from a long stint working up northern BC. He was very present in my life cheering me on. He picked me up from countless ferries and airports as I made my way home from adventures. He was super keen on my VERY cool Rudy Project sunglasses and a little miffed that I couldn't get him a free pair. His answer to that was on-line shopping. He also proudly told me of his new training regime of biking up the hill from Deep Bay (our family summer fishing spot). Everyday he got stronger. So many memories and I miss him deeply.
Leaving Boulder was harder than I thought it would be. It became a wonderful home to me – I met amazing people right up to the final days. I have no idea where it fits in my future. For now I am busy planning 2013. Abu Dhabi Triathlon, training with Melissa and Jared Hauschildt in Australia (How COOL is that!), Ironman Melbourne is just the beginning. I have new sponsors of Scody, Computrainer, Rudy Project and have the support of old ones – Specialized, Nineteen and GU. It is going to be a tremendous year. But first I get to enjoy December in the off-season. Mountain biking, skiing Mt. Washington and family, family and more family. Can't wait. Let the adventures continue...
Welcome to my blog where I share my perspective as coach and experiences as an athlete. Enjoy!