Well, hi! It's so good to see you :) It's been a good long while since I sat down to write with the intent to make it an actual post. Trust me, I have a list a page long with drafts, that just felt kind of forced. Truth is, I never really liked writing race reports. I'd much rather write about epiphanies I have during a ride or Sunday long run!
Since my road has turned rather bumpy, I've been reluctant to write about for a couple reasons.
1. I don't feel like my voice matters.
2. My journey has taken some very strange turns.
I don't feel like I have to explain myself to anyone, but I do feel like I have learned a LOT over the past couple of years and hopefully something I share will be able to help someone. Or maybe not. It will feel good for me to answer some questions.
Rewind to a couple years ago when I qualified for my pro-card. I did! I was so excited. I had worked SO hard and finally had some good results. So, I hired a fancy coach, found some sponsors and quit my real job. BUT, I didn't ACTUALLY take my pro-card because my coach thought I should develop my swim first because it would be demoralizing to come out of the water last...as if I had some other expectation. What I should have done was take it. Needless to say, I went out way too hard that season to "prove myself". Hitting 2 early season training camps and racing hard from the get-go. I was working as a personal trainer, which AT BEST would have brought in a whopping $20k (even at 40 hours a week), but of course I couldn't work THAT much with all the camps and racing. By the end of the season, I was over-trained and literally starving to death. I beat myself up for not ending on a high note that year...after-all I had postponed taking my pro-card to end on that elusive high that I never found. I was devastated and embarrassed. Had "let everyone down"? Worse than that, I had let myself down. I "knew better" than to dig myself into a hole that deep, but there I was. Rock f'ing bottom.
I was forced to take at least 6 months off to recover. I kept it low key, put on some weight and learned how to "relax". At least as well as I could. I mean, I will always be an athlete.
By the end of the season, I was healthy enough to do 1 race, Santa Cruz 70.3. It went well enough that I wanted to try and race again. But I was afraid. I was afraid of messing up. I was afraid not be at the top of my game, but I knew I still needed to heel. I more-or-less hobbled through the following season, afraid to go "too hard" because I wanted to embrace what I had worked on developing the past year. It felt strange, I wasn't myself. Somehow I ended up at 70.3 Worlds in Australia (2016). It was horrendous. I let myself give up because I didn't trust myself, didn't think I was worthy of anything and had no vision. What was I racing for?
I spent some time reflecting on 2016 in the off-season and tried to do normal things. Got back in the gym and moved some weight around. Everyone should lift, it's good for the soul. That, and trail running. It's about balance, people.
I decided to give another season a go. But, I again didn't want to set expectations too high, even though my training was better than ever. I started with a few local running races. They all ended as epic failures. Every time I would reach a challenge, resulting in a mental boxing match. I was lost. I was hurt. I wasn't ready to give up. Most of 2017 I spent breaking down my weaknesses and facing them one-by-one. My whole life I've been an athlete. My whole life I've held myself back. I vividly remember false starting races in high school because I felt like I didn't deserve to be as good as I was. I didn't deserve to be gifted. Someone else should have the opportunity more than me. Then, of course the back-lash. All the hard work, dedication, sacrifice and heart that had put me in that position. Thus, the boxing match. No you can't -- yes you can -- over, and over, and over, and over. It didn't matter which side won, I was so devastatingly exhausted by the end it didn't matter. My heart was broken.
I refused to go out that way. So, I did what I know how to do best and I worked. Diligently for months and months. My Sports Psyche and I talked every week and together we actually changed my mindset. My races for the rest of 2017 built on that work we had done. It wasn't perfect, but learning to trust myself for the first time was not exactly a straight upward trajectory. I don't know what my future looks like with triathlon, but I know a few things for sure.
I know I will never take the easy road, I love a good challenge.
I know success is not possible alone.
I know I am worthy of my goals.
I know that to catch my dreams, I have to keep chasing.