Like a deer in the wild stops grazing, focuses his ears and takes a look around – being cautious for preditors and hunters – cyclists in London look up every 5s to check for cars.
It took me a month to stop this bambi’ing all the time and get re-adjusted to the Dutch zoo-alike cycle environment: fenced, riding on straight lines, on separate cycle paths with the only potential risk when ignoring the opening of a up-pull-bridge (I thought my Dutch readers wouldn’t recognize the word drawbridge, like I didn’t do myself); The boringness is the downside, the increase in my life expectancy is the upside. But before all Remain voters run to the European mainland: as will turn out later from my boyfriend’s 50cm2 abraded skin, this safe haven for bikes does not apply to the entire continent.
After a month of acclimatization in my sister’s guest room the bore-out almost popped up; When you get to a point where you consider a day as busy when you not only went training, but ALSO did some grocery shopping, AND had lunch with a friend. I totally run out of savings by now as well, so it REALLY was the time to start working again.
That reminds me of a common misunderstood thing about pro-athletes: As long as you don’t finish top 5 in Ironmans, or are an Insta slut that arranged some great deals, there is not a single penny to earn by competing in triathlon. There is no funding for longdistance triathletes – which I understand cause trisuits and oxygen seaking heads arent sexy to watch -nor do I get salary through the team. Luckily, through the team my expenses drastically reduced and I’m extraordinary lucky with that.
Early November I found a parttime job at a financial trader on a stone’s throw distance from my new home in Amsterdam. It offers me the flexibility to train twice a day whenever suits me. Albeit far from suitable for my brain to go to sleep there in that men’s world, seated on a chair the legs can recover between sessions.
In the meantime I also met my (first!) training squad: a great mix of people at top agegroup and some at pro level, all much more dedicated than myself. To be honest, I felt a bit ashamed for having a pro license with my laidback attitude. But that laziness is slowly disappearing. 5 times a week we train together; 3 x swim sessions at 7am, 1 track run, 1 forest run and occasionally we go out cycling. The 7 to 8 remaining trainings I do alone or if someone likes to join (you can always message me). Let it be a mix of the squad, my coaches’ approach and a change in my own focus, but of all the words thrown at me during all the coached swim sessions I had in the past (uh, which is a just a handful) I finally start to realize what they mean. And I feel what I’m doing wrong, which is definitely the first step to progression.
Running at the track is pretty new to me as well. I think it is mentally and physically tough, and hence great to do in groups. The pace is often like ‘body says no’ and conditions like ‘brain asks why’. Three months of rain, wind and darkness while running around in circles seems to have past faster than ever. The upside of shared suffering.
In the meantime I also officially joined Team4Talent, as the first and only girl; Female colleagues and teammates are SO last year. More to be read about the step to this team in the next blog and in an interview I gave in triathlon magazine Transition, see here: https://transition.nl/2017/12/pleuni-hooijman-volgende-stap/