TOUGH CHOICES

Graphic Content Warning. 

I’ve been home now for five days. I’m settling into a bit of a routine.

Nurses come every other day to unpack and repack my wound.

I continue to be amazed and grateful to our medical system.

I found out that the supplies for each KCI Vac dressing change cost $100, and that the machine is worth over $30,000. So far, I have not been asked to pay any of this. I have not had to fill out forms or argue with insurance companies.

Universal Health Care – even with its flaws – is truly a wonderful thing.

My EI issues have been sorted out.

I spend a lot of my time crocheting; I’m learning to make toques for babies on the NICU. It’s slow work, but I’m learning. The “20 minute hat” takes me about six hours. It’s nice to feel like I’m doing something productive.

I also spend an hour or two each day working on a variety of marketing and research projects that friends have been kind enough to send my way. It’s all small-scale, volunteer work, but it gives me a sense of purpose. About hour a day for me is about my limit right now.

I also nap. Napping is good. I am learning to rest.

I hate it. 🙂

I can appreciate why some people succumb to depression.

Being alone eight hours a day, if I didn’t have projects and goals and purpose, I could easily get lost in my own swirling thoughts.snoopy and crochet

It’s easy to dwell on the negative.

Very soon I will have to make some tough choices about the upcoming season.

I am scheduled to race for Team Canada in Cozumel in September, but many of those details need to be planned and booked now – or at least – soon.

I am reluctant to financially commit this far in advance.

Each World Championships costs me around $5000; money that I am hesitant to shell out until I know if I will be healthy enough to race – and race well.

Because it’s not just about me. It’s about representing my country and my sponsors.

It’s not just about what I want.

Right now, my season is designed to start with Long Course races, ideally Great White North in July would function as a qualifier for the LD World Championships in Penticton in 2017.

That race was strategically chosen. All I had to do was place in the top 5 with a time of 5:30 or under to get me on Team Canada for 2017.

That choice was made back in November when I thought that I was looking at a four week recovery.

But July is rapidly approaching.

And I won’t be training for another seven weeks or so.

If I can’t race GWN, then I need to prepare to race Challenge Penticton in August, as it is the other option for qualifying for 2017.

There are 10 spots available, 10 very competitive spots. It’s unclear at this point what time I would need to place in the top 10. But faster than 5:30 for sure.

Which brings me back to whether or not I should race short course Worlds in Cozumel in September.

Training for Long Course is very different than training for Short Course.

Long Course triathlons are endurance events focused on burning fat, keeping the heart rate low, and being the most disciplined strategist in the field.  Training involves focusing on “slow twitch” muscle fibers.

Short Course events are more about burning sugar, “racing” in the more traditional sense, and pounding out speed at an anaerobic heart rate.   The intensity is a lot higher. Training involves focusing on “fast twitch” muscle fibers.

Every choice affects another choice.

My heart wants to race Cozumel; there is nothing quite like the feeling of racing for one’s country in a Canada uniform.

I race well in the heat and the sun.

I earned that qualifying spot.

I am not a quitter.

And deciding not to race feels like quitting.

But I also know that if my goals are focused on racing well in 2017, that investing in Cozumel may not be the best choice.

My coach and I spent a good chunk of yesterday talking about pros and cons.

We decided that for now – I will elect not to decide.

Wait it out as long as I can.

See how well I’ve recovered a month from now.

But I think it’s only fair to be honest with those who have supported me; you need to know the truth.

The struggle.

This is where I’m at right now – today.

I don’t want to let you down. That’s the hardest part.wound

Knowing that so many people believe in me and support me; I want to make you proud.

I’m not giving up.

But I need to realistic about how to race healthy in 2017. This is a choice that my coaches, my family and I will need to make together. Not today. But soon.

I need to look past what I want to do this year, in order to figure out how to be the best athlete I can be next year.

I was reading Paula Findlay’s most recent blog post yesterday.

For those who haven’t been following my blog very long. Paula is a Canadian Olympic triathlete who is one of my heroes.

Paula raced in the London Olympics four years ago, and has been struggling with a series of injuries ever since. She recently had knee surgery.

Her spot on the Canadian team for Rio is still in question as of my the writing of this post.

But her blog is so positive and so focused; she knows what she has to do. She knows what her goals are.

I aim to have the same sense of drive.

I will race this season. You can count on that.

It just may look a little bit different.

Don’t count me out yet.