Fast forward 10 years - I had travelled the world, earned two degrees, loved, forged incredible friendships and found myself in a career with the Canadian Government. I was ready for the next challenge. In comes triathlon.
Five additional years and I am here as a professional triathlete in Calgary. Something drew me here to do my first 70.3 triathlon (half ironman). Riding and running parts of the course yesterday I think I started to understand why. First is the beauty of being in the prairies. The huge blue sky with the rocky mountains as the backdrop. The birch trees. The meandering creeks and rivers. The second reason is that I needed to be here to further embrace and understand myself as an elite athlete. Swimming taught me discipline, the importance of team, coaching, trust, and hard work. Somewhere in my career as a synchronized swimmer though I lost the love of the sport yet could not let go because it was who I was - or at least thought it was.
Coming here I realize that I am a triathlete and it defines what I do day in and day out. It is 100% my lifestyle and I do it because I am passionate about the sport. Yet, it does not define me. I much rather think that the relationships I have, support, and grow in define me. It is how I do my work (train, eat, sleep) not the end result of it. I want success that is defined by being at the top of the podium just as my competitors yet understand that this is only part of it. So cheesy but so true - it is the journey not the destination.
I have incredible life experiences behind me and so many rich experiences ahead of me. I have an optimism, confidence and love of where I am in life. I am once again here as an elite athlete at the top of my game - but better. I am prepared mentally and physically to be in this race. If you are wondering what I might be thinking over the 4.5 hours of hard work, it is about how much I love what I do... being in the water fighting to get around the buoy in first, getting on the bike flying up and down the hills, and finally being blissed out in the run because I know I can - the biggest gift yet. I also will be joyful that I am in this incredible city, creating new memories and taking all that I am in it. Zoom Zoom - here I go!