Looking back on another year

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Another year and season has come and gone… what can I say, it hasn’t exactly been the year I had hoped for/expected. But I guess that is life: you never really get what you bargain for. So where to start - 2017 came to a really good start with me actually being in pretty good shape going into the new year. Training was going well, I was getting closer and closer to race weight (I have to admit to having put on a few pounds in a mentally tough year 2016) and was just roaring and ready to get back racing. But fait didn’t want me back on the racing scene quite as quickly as I wanted to be back…

In late Januray, I crashed on a sunday ride on wet, wintry country road: I lost the grip on my rear wheel going around a corner. I was pretty shaken after the crash but appeared to have stayed in one piece - so got up and carried on with the ride. Just over a week later, I started having immense pain just below my knee on my left leg. I was on training camp at the time and the German team doctor and physio were both equally as clueless as me as to what it was - but we all thought that with a few days of rest, I’d be back running in no time. But that wasn’t meant to be and it turned out to be a bruised bone which took just over two months to heal sufficiently for me to start doing some running on it again - and six months until I last felt any pain in that area. This obviously meant no racing until quite a bit later in the year - and spending training camps on the cross trainer and in the water instead of running outside.

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To any normal/sane person, that might sound like a nightmare, but I have to admit that with all the great people I’ve had around me in Oxford and the German squad that time actually flew by and I managed to stay really positive and smiling throughout the entire two months (which is definitely more than can be said for my injury period in 2016)! And then it finally got to racing time again! My first triathlon was the Varsity Sprint Triathlon against Cambridge (a week after my first successful 5k run) - a whole 10 months after my last triathlon! Needless to say, my transitions were horrendous and it felt super strange being back racing - but I can’t even begin to describe just how amazing the feeling of being back on the start line, feeling the pre race buzz and getting in that race zone and just racing my heart out was… it made me realise just how much I loved this sport, loved racing and how much I had missed all of that in the past months. Nothing could have swiped the smile off my face for the rest of that day.

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A few weeks later, I raced my first Bundesliga race with my new team Ejot TV Buschhütten - and surprised myself by qualifying for the European Sprint Triathlon Championships! I knew that my running fitness was still nowhere near where I wanted it to be (and it would take time until it was) but I loved every second of racing and after a few more European/World Cup races, eventually qualified to race at the top level - the World Triathlon Series - again (I am currently one of only two German girls that has qualified to do so).

Later in the season, I finished 3rd in the German Championships and was selected to represent Germany at the U23 World Championships in Rotterdam. While I was finally feeling like myself again in the training leading up to World Champs (and was running times in training that I hadn’t run since 2015!), a puncture in Rotterdam and a crash at the World Cup in Huelva stopped me from actually showing off any of the progress and the hard work I had put in. But it also left me hungry for more. I have seen the progress that I have made in my running this year already - despite injury worries and bad luck - and it is all definitely heading in the right direction… I just need a little more patience (which is always easier said than done I guess…).

Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it is about learning to dance in the rain… and I guess 2017 has been exactly that: dancing in the rain. I have laughed a lot, had more fun than (probably) ever in training and racing, appreciated every second that I have been allowed to do this awesome sport and most importantly have been super lucky and grateful for all the amazing people that I have on this journey with me. For now, I will just keep dancing - the storm will pass, because it may be stormy now, but it never rains forever.

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 © JoKleindl / DTU

© Sophia Saller 2016. All rights reserved. Impressum