August 21, 2011
Findlay second at nationals
By CON GRIWKOWSKY, QMI Agency
KELOWNA, B.C. -- You could sense the frustration through Paula Findlay's tears.
Findlay sobbed as she crossed the finish line of the Canadian triathlon championships.
"I was pretty upset," said Findlay, whose career has taken an unexpected detour.
Findlay had beaten the best in the world five times in six World Championship Series races.
Yet, on Sunday she finished second-best behind Winnipeg's Sarah-Anne Brault, unable to defend her Canadian title.
There's no question Findlay is going through the toughest stage of her career.
She'd become accustomed to success, yet still has been unable to handle, much less accept, adversity.
A 29th place finish in London two weeks ago. A second-place finish in Kelowna.
"I just started the season so well and I've had some tough luck at the end," said Findlay. "But, that's racing."
With three weeks to go before the Worlds in Beijing, her desire to officially nail down a Canadian Olympic team spot is as strong as it's ever been.
Trouble is, her body's unwilling to co-operate.
The quad injury that first kept her out of the Edmonton World Cup event raised its ugly head again in Kelowna.
After the race, Findlay was so distraught that she initially brushed past reporters and went straight to the restricted athletes' area.
On a day when she received Triathlon Canada's award as elite female triathlete of the year, Findlay was one frustrated gal still dealing with fitness issues.
"I've been injured for a month and my running's not back to where I want it," said Findlay. "To race at the level I've been at, I have to train in my running. I just haven't been able to sustain it because of the injury."
Findlay had a great swim, finished second in the bike portion and had a great transition to the run, bolting out into first place, holding on through the first of four laps.
"It (quad injury) was a bit aggravated on the last few laps," said Findlay, who fell 16 seconds back at the midway point of the run.
She finished 55 seconds back of Brault in a time of two hours, 5:35 minutes, considerably slower than her winning time in 2010.
"Usually, I can hold that (lead) for the whole race, but I'm not there right now," said Findlay. "I'm still training hard, but my run is just not where it needs to be. The first half was fine."
There's no question Findlay will be named to Canada's Olympic team, no matter how well she does in Beijing in three week's time.
She's made a strong case already with her determined performances in the World Championship Series.
The big question now is how severely she aggravated her quad and how it will affect her next outing in Beijing.
"I hope three weeks is enough time," said Findlay. "It's pretty soon, but that's the goal. It's sort of the same (as it was after London).
"I just haven't been able to train enough."
Right now, as it was after London, it's a matter of when she'll be able to firm up her fitness.
After the season-ending event in Beijing, Findlay will have the whole off-season to fully rest and come back stronger.
"I'm still competitive and I want to win," said Findlay. "It's hard to have races like this. Thanks to everybody for supporting me."