If you had to pick between only racing or only training for the rest of your life, which one would you choose?

Of course, this is a decision few of us ever have to make long term. We get the luxury of the chocolate-vanilla swirl, year in and year out. A little bit of one, a little bit of the other. The perfect compliment.

New Brighton Pool. My new home.

As with all “would you rather” questions, this gets at the why that underlies this hobby (lifestyle? obsession?) of ours. I found myself revisiting this question yesterday—on a rest day, surely, when my mind was given minutes to whittle.

The antidote to injury: Swimming and mountain biking in Whistler.

Callaghan with Jordan.

I’ve always favoured the training side of the spectrum, choosing the daily endorphin hit over the cannon blast of racing—as meaningful and memorable as my race experiences have been. But this year, race-prohibitive injuries have forced me back into the arms of that first love. IRONMAN 70.3 Coeur d’Alene is two weeks away, and, thanks to what seems like stress fracture number two, I’ll be swimming laps in the above pool rather than donning my aero helmet for the first race of the year. (I had to withdraw from Oceanside a few weeks out as well, so 2017 is now 0 for 2.)

So far, it’s been a vanilla year. Despite the word’s pejorative connotation, I mean that in the context of my little soft-serve analogy. With love and attention, vanilla can be damn delicious. It also works with everything (rhubarb, chocolate, espresso…injury).

Rooftop java.

Bring on the race road trip FOMO with these three chicks and some serious finish line withdrawal. Bring on the whining about how this was the year I was going to get serious again after a year of upheavals (in matters of both the heart and body composition). Bring on the inane and dramatic diatribes about what my left foot is trying to teach me: Have I been running lopsided? Has moving to raincity depleted me of bone-building vitamin D? Has my long-course love affair expired? Should I take up bike racing?

Riding love, left to right from top: Buntzen Lake | YVR-Whistler coffee stop | Laura’s aid station | 10 x Stanley Park loops | STEED Wednesday Ride

Watching a good friend race all weekend at the Canadian Masters Road Championships. She’s in the turquoise stripes, I’m on the right.

But then.

» It’s summerer in Vancouver, a city that could win Most Amazing Outdoor Pools Per Capita contest hands-down.

» Summer also means that the number of vertical meters at our disposal is almost as great as the daylight hours available to climb them.

» Group rides and patio beers are the best way to spend hump day.

» In 9 seasons of triathlon, I’ve never been properly injured. This is making me a better, more compassionate friend/person/athlete, right?

» Ice cream is a major source of vitamin C, right? (And then there’s this…)

» My coach says we’ll look back at this and it will be a blip on the screen. In the meantime, I’ll be the weirdo at the pool doing what looks like deep-water aerobics. (Also, if anyone from Strava is reading this, please add a pool running category. I’m definitely in line for the New Brighton Pool lifeguard-chair-sprint-to-lifeguard-chair QOM.)

Chocolate will have to wait.

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