Love Yourself More by Valérie Lefebvre
I already presented myself a bit previously. With Kim, I’m the director of the Equally Inspiring program. My first language is french, so hopefully, there’s not too many mistakes. Here’s my story.
My interest for triathlon began as a teenager in a rural region of Quebec. I saw a competition on television and thought: “I could never do that! This looks so tough!”. Fast-forward to 2010 approximately. I noticed that there was a triathlon club at the gym in front of my house. I was really intimidated, but decided that I really wanted to do that, so I went to train with them. Well, I tried, for a bit. I wasn’t a good runner and was a total beginner on the bike. Also, I didn’t really believe I could complete a triathlon, I didn’t believe in my abilities for sports. It’s during that time that I did my first depression. I woke up one day not being able to go to work. I couldn’t stop crying. I was stopped from working and every morning when I was waking up, I couldn’t know what for. I stopped exercising.
Somehow, I got better, made a couple of changes in my life and started to do crossfit. It’s really then that I became regular with sports. I found an encouraging and opened community and stuck to it. During that time, I met a coach, Louis, who helped me believing in my abilities. I was doing weightlifting with him and I started to think again about my triathlon dream. We decided I would do one next year.
I rejoined the club that I used to be in, the Ytri, but still, I felt like I wasn’t belonging there. Not because they weren’t nice, but I felt like I wasn’t good enough. I did my first triathlon in July 2015. Everything went well until the run. It was really hard, but gave me objectives for the next season. I think that lack of self-confidence led me to another depression in 2015, but again, I had a community and a schedule to stick to. Sports really helped me getting better. I made goals for myself. I felt the need to work on my run. I was reading everything I could find about triathlon and it’s then that I found the Equally Inspiring program. I wasn’t back to work and a friend of mine had committed suicide. It was a really a hard time of the year. I received an e-mail confirming I was in and it gave me so much motivation and joy. I had been selected!!!
I started to correspond with Benvenuto Baldelli from BB Triathlon coaching. Right at the beginning, I felt accepted for who I was with my struggles and my goals. My plan was to run a half-marathon at the end of May. My long term plan was to do a Half Ironman in 2017, so I wanted to know if I could run a 13.1 (or a 21.1 km as we say in Quebec). There was a lot of step backs. I had some injuries, my depression came back. I felt tired. I had to choose which sports I was going to do. I concentrated on running which made me feel alive.
I completed my longest runs a couple weeks previous to the competition. Somehow, I started to believe I could run 15, 18, 21.1 kilometers. I was telling myself that my body could do it. I had to work on my mind. I had to stop beating myself for not being enough. I’m enough. I’m doing the best that I can. I had made a playlist and tried to cue Eye of the Tiger for the end. To my surprise, at 1 km of the end, the song started to play (ok, I cheated and played it three times). I completed my half-marathon and thought of everything that went down during that year. I had done it. I had set a big goal for myself and I did it. It was the best feeling.
It was the end of my coaching time with Benvenuto. I was thinking of completing a Sprint Triathlon, but for some reasons, my heart wasn’t into it and I decided that it was ok. Well, I felt guilty the whole summer I have to say… But, I didn’t want to stick to that feeling that I, again, wasn’t enough. I decided to continue training and to give me the space to do what I wanted and not what I felt like I should do, or what I think other people want me to do. This article from my coach reinforced my beliefs that I was doing the thing that I needed.
Today, I’m back at work (again) and I feel good. I still have some moments, but I learn to love myself more and to accept myself better. I love being in contact with people from the program, the new and the ones from last year. Also, I’m eyeing on a HIM for 2017… I think I like big challenges!