Wednesday, November 21, 2012

From Mommyhood to Team Canada

Contributed by: Amy Moss-Archambault at

I'm like most people. Actually, I'm probably a lot like you. I started competing in races late in life. I love sport, I'm absolutely passionate about triathlon but I didn't come from some incredible athletic pedigree. I was never on the varsity anything team. I never competed for my school - at least not in sport. Most of the time I had my face stuck in a book. But that's what is so amazing about triathlon. No matter how old you are, no matter what your background everyone has a shot at competing at the highest level possible - the World Championships!

Three years ago I was standing at the edge of Guelph Lake and competing at the world championships was the furthest thing from my mind. I had just squeezed into a wetsuit that had fit 2 weeks prior and was now too small because I was 5 months pregnant. But I was racing that day. Was I little crazy to be racing my first try-a-tri pregnant? Without a doubt, yes. My doctor had monitored me the entire time and I wasn’t racing to win, I was racing because I could. If you had met me 10 months ago you would know how impossible that seemed. With hindsight would I have still raced that morning? Yes! That day started a whole new chapter in mine and my family’s life, full of endless possibilities.

After I had my baby girl, I was determined to go back to Guelph Lake and compete in the same race. I wanted to see what I could accomplish without any limitations. My husband and now three children cheered me on as I finished fourth in my age group. I’m not sure who was more impressive that day; my husband, who had an eight month old in a snuggly, a two and three year old in a bike trailer running from vantage point to vantage point, or me laying everything on the line.

I’ve raced about 8 triathlons since then. All sprint distance which means I swim 750m, bike 20km and run 5km. It’s the perfect distance for me while my kids are little. I struggle as it is to find time to train. I’ve always marvel at people who have these nicely written training plans that build their training volume, peaking at just the right time. My training has always been based on the YMCA schedule. I fit my swims in around when there is babysitting or children’s programs. Until we bought a trainer my riding time was a spin class that coincided with a program for 3-5 year olds while there was babysitting for the baby. My runs would mean the two youngest in the bike trailer turned jogging stroller and my eldest on her bike next to me. When that didn’t work my friends stepped in to help.

Every time I raced I would see a few Team Canada race kits. At first I was in awe and then I became more and more curious. The idea that an age grouper could compete for their country just seemed so .... tangible. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t an amazing athlete. I was decent. I would always finish in the top half of the pack. I had great sections but I hadn’t figured out how to put all the pieces together yet. Still, the more I saw the team kits the more I realized that anyone can race for Team Canada, you just have to try.

This year I decided I wanted to try and qualify for the team. I found out what races were qualifiers and analyzed each race. I figured which course I was best suited to and wrote out a training plan. I knew my haphazard approach to training wouldn’t cut it. My kids were a little older (6,4,2) so I had a bit more flexibility. My friends filled in any gaps so that I could stick to my training plan. I’ve always said it takes a village to raise your kids, it also takes a village to train to win.

I raced the qualifier and came in third. There were two spots up for grabs that day and I earned one of them. I will be racing in London, England 2013 at the World Championships. The next time you see me I’ll be sporting the Team Canada kit and I hope someone looks at me and says I can do that because the truth of the matter is that  potential is in all of us, you just have to try.

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