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.

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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!!!

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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.

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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!

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