What a year! I achieved so much that I thought was impossible on 1 January 2012. Despite the lengthy period of injury frustration, it’s been a good year for me.
I started the year by running my first ever half marathon at Convicts and Wenches on Australia Day. It was hot and humid, but I managed to complete the course in 2:10.57 despite being barefoot. The achievement took me by surprise because I only decided to enter a day or two before the race.
I was still racing triathlon last summer and in February I completed the Kingscliff Olympic Distance Triathlon in 2:25.53. It was my first Olympic Distance Triathlon after returning to training in July 2011 and I was proud of the achievement. My dad and I spent a delightful weekend camping at the beach in Kingscliff, making it an even more special event.
I smashed the Twilight Half Marathon in 1:46.33 in March. I ran in shoes and had a negative split. The event was a huge confidence boost for me and I finally realised that I can run. This realisation sparked the adventures I took on the following months.
In April, my mum, grandmother and I traveled 2,000km each way to the Julia Creek Dirt n Dust Triathlon. The triathlon was awesome but the trip was even better. I rode my motorbike while Mum and my grandmother drove Mum’s ute. We took tents and camped out in national parks and Outback camping grounds along the way. Then we spent a day sailing and snorkeling at the Whitsundays on the way home. It was magnificent.
I fell in love with adventure racing in May. After completing the Byron Bay Olympic Distance Triathlon on the 12th, I also completed the Queensland leg of the Adventure Race Australia with my sister as team Whoops Which Way. After 7:48.33, my sister and I cross the finish line and I declared that adventure racing pooed all over triathlon. I fell in love with adventure racing that day; a love affair that I intend to indulge in 2013.
I didn’t race in June. I took the month off after the end of the 2011/12 triathlon season to evaluate my race goals for the second half of the year. I didn’t really see myself as a triathlete anymore and changed the name of my blog from TransTri: Adventures of a Transgender Triathlete to TransVenture: Adventures of a Transgender Outdoor Athlete. It was a statement of intention and represented a huge shift in focus.
I returned to racing in July, completing the Tre-X Off-Road Duathlon. The event was fantastic fun, though I was one of the slowest mountain biker on the course. I then followed this up with the Flinders Tour 50km Trail Run, which I completed in 6:48. This was a huge milestone for me because it was my first 50km trail run and I completed it in well under my 8 hour goal time. After this I decided to run 12 marathons or ultra marathons in 12 months. The plan was cut short due to injury in September but the fact that I conjured it up shows just how my self-image had changed: I no longer doubted my abilities.
August was a month of triumph and tragedy. I completed the 22km Lake Manchester Trail Run and an orienteering event. But my biggest achievement of the year was my first marathon. I can’t express the sense of achievement and pride I experienced when I crossed the finish line of the City to Surf Marathon, Perth in 4:17. I felt so accomplished and the memory of that experience will live with me for a long time. I have to admit that the marathon is not an event that I would be likely to run again in a hurry but just to enjoy the experience once was amazing.
September was the start of a challenging 4 months. I injured my hamstring at the City to Surf Marathon and then my shin splints got so bad I needed to rest. I took 8 weeks off running, which drove me crazy. But for the month of September, I stayed relatively positive and hung in there; focusing on cycling.
My final event for the year was the 100km Brisbane to Gold Coast mass participation cycle challenge. It was a fantastic day. Mum and I rode 160km together; the mass ride and then we rode part-way home. It was fantastic.
November was the most difficult month of my year. I experienced deep depression and anxiety after my sacroiliac joint went. I couldn’t run or ride. In fact, I pretty much couldn’t do anything. It took a lot to keep going through the depression and everything in my life suffered. But at the same time, I did find space in my life to reconnect with my faith and spirituality. Perhaps this is part of why I was injured: to force me to make time in my life for balance and others.
This month has seen me recover from both the injuries and emotional health struggles. My sacroiliac joint is settling and I’m getting better at managing the shin splints. I’ve returned to running and cycling. I’ve entered a string of adventure races for 2013. And I’m making positive plans for all aspects of my life.
2012 was a successful year. Bring on 2013