It has been 3 years since I turned my back on my job working for high profile equine veterinary clinics on million dollar race horses to pursue my dream of becoming an elite athlete. It has taken me almost 2 years to come to terms with the fact that nothing went according to the plan I had made in my head. I had lost the purpose of it all to the point that last August I took a 6 month physical and mental break from the sport, at the time not knowing in what way shape or form I would return to it.
my first passion was horses
“Although my dreams and aspirations might disappear into thin air, the chase in itself is worth the journey” these were my words back in 2013 when I wrote the blog for Marathon MTB http://marathonmtb.com/2013/03/28/taking-the-next-step-going-pro/ I have been so focussed on the destination and my failure in reaching it that I stopped enjoying the whole process and my passion for the sport which made me take the leap of faith in the first place!
One of my bucket list achievements, racing the MTB Marathon World Champs
It was not until late December that I started to open my eyes again, that I dared to look back and be happy with what I had achieved. A win on the back off no training in a cross duathlon early January made me realise that I was at a level I could be proud of. A week with my coach Nico Lebrun in Dignes sparked that fire in my belly again. http://nienkeventures.blogspot.co.uk/2016/01/a-week-living-dream-with-organicoach.html It was pure enjoyment, pushing my boundaries and finding flow on the beautiful trails of Les Hautes Alps. Heaven. On the way home I sat at the airport and I felt completely at peace with my life. I was a full time veterinarian in a little place called Kirriemuir in Scotland. I did not work with million dollar race horses anymore; instead I was working with horses who are worth their weight in gold to their owners in a practice where I worked with my friends rather than my colleagues. And no I never managed to get a financial sponsor so I could race as a professional and be the best athlete I could possibly be like I had planned. Instead I was racing for fun but still lining up with the elites and for the first time I felt proud I was able to do this whilst maintaining a full time demanding job as a veterinarian. For someone who never stops analysing everything and whose brain is always on overload, I felt quiet for the first time in a long while.
Ski touring in Chamonix; paradise
During the last 3 years I learned that it is all about the journey. “my life is pretty cool” I heard myself say to Michael after a magic day ski touring with Bruno Lebeda in Chamonix a few weeks after my time with Organicoach in Dignes. Bruno is one of the two master minds behind one of the coolest and toughest (mountain) triathlons Evergreen in Chamonix.https://www.evergreen-endurance.com/en/welcome/ Through Organicoach I had signed up for the Evergreen 118 distance, a 2km swim, 95km cycle and 21km Mountain run with a total of 3200m of elevation in September. When I told Bruno I was going to be in Chamonix for a long weekend skiing, he responded enthusiastically that we should meet for a coffee or even a trip ski touring. An opportunity I was not going to let slip by and when he asked where I wanted to go I told him I did not mind as long as his Alaskan Husky Januk could come along after seeing the most awesome pictures of his dog accompanying him on ski trips.
Bruno's dog Januk
“We are pretty cool” Michael replied in his typical dry way. What a day we had had. Clear blue skies, sunshine, beautiful mountains and deep soft powder snow. Solitude. Silence. Serenity. A trip which should have been an ‘easy’ 4 hours turned into an epic 7 hours pushing ourselves out of our boundaries with over 1500m of climbing and 2200m of descending in less than 20km’s. We did not have quite enough water or food with us for such a big day!! “you have been Bruno’d” we were told later at dinner by Bruno’s lovely wife. What a journey it was, absolutely magical. A story to remember created by the connections I had made through the sport. Adding to my journey.
Chasing my dreams brought me to Michael
I have been a gypsy for a long time now, with no physical place I call home. This is my journey. Chasing the athlete dream brought me to Scotland, brought me to Michael and has connected me with so many incredible people all over the world sharing the same passion. I might never stand on the podium of big races, or will I be remembered for my athletic performances. But all the stories, all the adventures, all the beautiful places I have seen and all the people who have made me feel I am one of their own after 2 minutes of meeting them mean so much more to me and have taught me; it really is all about the journey.
"The journey is my home" Muriel Rukeyser