Paula Findlay

From winning five WCS races to finishing last at the London Olympics, it’s been a turbulent two years for Findlay

I was so heartbroken at the Olympics that it was hard to put a smile on my face and move on

A hip injury plagued the end of your 2011 season and after the Olympics you were diagnosed with anaemia. How are you fairing now?

My hip has been better for a long time and my iron levels are slowly improving. I’ll need to continue monitoring my iron levels and supplementing on a regular basis, but I’ve made good progress in the past few months. My energy levels are back up.

What exactly has your recovery involved?

I worked with a great physiotherapist, Marilyn Adams, for about five months leading up to London. Her manual treatment combined with a good strength programme got me back up and running. Injury compromised my training but I did what I could to be best prepared for the Olympics.

Do you think you’ll be back to full fitness for the 2013 season?

Absolutely. This past year was a struggle but I’m back on track to be ready. My confidence is pretty low right now, but with the continued progress that I’m seeing in training, I know that I can get back to where I was in 2011.

Obviously the Olympics were a huge disappointment. What did you take from the experience?

The most positive part of the Olympic games was being part of the Canadian team. They’re such an inspiring and uplifting group of athletes and I’m honoured to have been a part of it. I met some great friends and have a whole new network of people that I can lean on for support and inspiration for the rest of my triathlon career.

What did you do for the rest of the Olympics?

I tried to enjoy the rest of the Games and watch other events, but honestly I was so heartbroken that it was hard for me to put a smile on my face and move on from my experience. My friends and family were in London so I was lucky to have them to spend time with. That said, I enjoyed watching my Canadian team-mates compete and it was inspiring to see many of them on the podium.

How have you dealt with this year psychologically?

My friends and family have been my biggest source of support this past year. I have a great network of people who believed in me even when I stopped believing in myself. They really helped push me through the tough times. I don’t know if I could have been on the start line in London without them.

We’ve read that your dad’s not been well [Paula’s father was diagnosed with colon cancer last October]. How is he?

My dad is recovering really well from his surgery a few weeks ago [at the end of November]. He’s a tough guy so we’re optimistic that he’ll continue to get better. His situation has forced me to take a new perspective on the past year. No matter how hard I hit rock bottom, my rock bottom wasn’t really that bad. He’s showed that optimism and positivity are powerful tools when the going gets rough.

How are your studies going?

I’ve almost finished my undergraduate degree in biological sciences, but I decided to put my studies on hold in 2011 so that I could focus on preparing for the Olympics. I haven’t actually applied to medical school yet, but it’s something that I’m keen on doing sometime in the future.

How have you been spending your off-season?

I’ve been at home in Edmonton spending time with friends and family who I haven’t seen much of this past year. They’ve been so helpful in getting me through my post-Olympic disappointment. I’ve also been focusing on getting healthy and strong so that my body can handle the increased training load when the time comes.

What’s your coaching set-up?

I recently started working with Joel Filliol, which has been a refreshing and positive change. We’ve set up specific goals for me and I’m confident that we’re on the right path to get me back up and racing at the top.

Have you set training and racing goals for 2013?

My primary goal for this season is to be strong, healthy and consistent. I don’t have a solid race plan for the year right now. I won’t necessarily be at the first WTS event as I want to build up my confidence and race skills before jumping back in with the big girls! I’m excited to get back to the races and be the best that I can be this year.