Well, as my Belgian compatriot Claire Michel recently told me, there’s no time like the present to dive right in. This past week I competed in the Aquathlon World Championships at the World Triathlon Series Grand Final in Chicago, IL. I did not literally dive in, as it was an in water start, but nevertheless experienced my first taste of world class level, elite triathlon competition.
Before proceeding I should explain that an aquathlon is not the same thing as a triathlon. I am not sure any one truly knows the correct pronunciation, so if you sneeze and add an “lon” to the end, you’ll probably be fairly close. The aquathlon consisted of a 750m swim followed by a 5K run. I had a blast. In short, I had a great first 100 meter start, struggled to hold on halfway, and finished the swim strong. My run was lopsided, but I managed to finish 12th, not reinjure my foot, and smile at my devoted fan club (thanks mom, Frederic, and Carl), making the race a total success in my eyes.
A bigger point I wanted to make in this post, besides giggling like a little girl everytime I try and pronounce aquathlon, was to explain a theory that I am actively applying in this triathlon journey. Not being afraid to fail. In high school, I was determined to go to the senior homecoming with a date. I asked 4 guys. Embarrassing? Maybe… But I tell this story because rejection makes you more resilient. (also *most* of them already had dates I promise…)
I’m not sure how fast I can be, and how high my ceiling is, but I will allow myself the opportunity to find out. I will try and not make excuses for poor performances, but rather go back to the drawing board and be better. I’m delighted that my foot has healed and a 6 month injury is now in the past. I do wish I were more prepared for the upcoming races in Mexico and Puerto Rico, but I keep the bigger picture in mind. For me, the upcoming competitions offer an opportunity to gain experience and learn now, what needs to be tweaked before the triathlon season takes it’s annual winter hiatus. I will consider it a success if I finish the season with a healthy foot and ready to train hard again.