Success is often measured not just in victories but also in the ability to overcome challenges. For Athletica athlete, Jesse Whyte, the journey in triathlon began as a response to multiple ACL injuries that brought an end to a promising rugby career. Instead of trying a new sport, he chose three sports in one, triathlon. Jesse was driven by a desire to push mental and physical boundaries and perhaps allured by victories which led to a fateful day in Gatineau where he finished a race feeling devastated. After that, he did not tri for two long years.
Having returned to the sport with a renewed sense of purpose, Jesse emphasizes the importance of keeping triathlon as a source of joy and fun, free from the pressures that once led to burnout. The story is not just one of athletic prowess but of resilience, mental fortitude, and a triumphant return to the sport with a refreshed perspective on what truly matters.
We are delighted to have Jesse take an active role in the Athletica Forum, where he has spearheaded “The Big Training Thread”, sharing his thoughts and cheering other athletes on. Thank you for being part of Athletica, Jesse!
How did you start with your current sport?
I got started in triathlon after multiple ACL injuries brought my rugby fun to an end. Looking for something new, I saw the triple sport as one that provided a new opportunity to challenge myself mentally and physically. That and I like biking and swimming a lot!
What habit or mindset change has been most beneficial to you as an athlete?
The mindset that has helped me the most is striving for consistency in my training. I understand that I can’t “win” it all with one session, I need to accumulate many of them.
How do you balance work, family, and social life with your training?
I balance family, work, and training by aligning expectations with my priorities. I’m compassionate with myself when I miss training sessions. I know it’s not because I’m lazy, but I have limited time and energy to divide up.
What are your strengths and weaknesses as an athlete?
My strength as an athlete is my ability to embrace challenges. 32 and humid? Fun! Puncture? Skill test! Pouring rain? That’s ok, it’ll be cooler! My weakness is how hard I am on myself. Performance expectations don’t always line up with reality. Misaligned expectations did lead to mental health issues that I’ve grown from.
How has using Athletica improved your training?
Athletica has helped me embrace Z2 training! I appreciate being able to recover well from one workout to the next given how busy I am. The dynamic updates based on the work that I have (or have not :P) been putting in keep me progressing safely and getting the work in.
Share your most epic failure, funny story, or insane thing that has happened to you while in training or during a race that you have learned from or think about often.
Epic storytime! Picture it, Gatineau, Québec, 2021. It was a beautiful weekend in mid-June for a sprint triathlon. I’d been super focused on my training, hitting greens across the board. I was at my highest FTP, CSS, and open 5k TT since I started this adventure in 2017. My coach and I had come up with a race plan to ensure success for the run.
Being mid-pandemic, we were ushered into the water in waves of about 20. I waited for a later wave and drafted from one athlete to the next, passing dozens of swimmers. I felt like a torpedo. Out of the water, T1 was quick and smooth and I grabbed my brand new TT bike and ran for the line. Already thinking about T2, I jumped on my bike BEFORE the start line and the marshal stopped me for a time penalty. Flustered, I started the ride annoyed (and truly not believing the marshal) and drove the pedals hard (but not too hard, I had a plan!). No one passed me, I was the passer on my blue rocket.
T2 arrived where I got off the bike at the correct line and quickly transitioned to my shoes. 500m into the run I was not feeling fast at all. I had paced myself to leave lots of energy for a fast run. What is happening?? My pace dropped and dropped. It was all I could do to keep my feet moving, using an athlete in front of me a carrot. When I finally crossed the finish line I was devastated.
I didn’t run, bike, or swim again for 2 years.
The Gatineau triathlon proved to be a blessing in disguise. I now had an opportunity to focus on my mental health. Which I did, a year later.
It’s been a couple of years now, and I’m back to running with less pressure to perform. I have gained perspective: This is what I do for fun. Let’s keep it that way.