On any average week I'm devoting between 15 and 25 hours of training time and quite a bit more in preparation, driving, recovery and restoration to complement that training. It's time away from Kyle, from family & friends, less time to help others with projects or things they have going on and sometimes feels a bit, well, overwhelming.
I struggle with the balancing act and I struggle with the examination of my priorities at times. I look at where I am in my life at 33 years old and it looks very different from other people's lives at this age.
At times, it's hard to justify. I ask myself, if I were making a good living from the sport would it further justify what I'm doing? To me, the answer is no. I looked deep into my heart before I made this decision and set some ground rule for the things that I would let define me and some things I would not. Money was never one of the reasons I signed up and will not define how long I do or do not stay in the sport.
However, I still think it's important to take the time to look at things from different perspectives and come to your own personal peace about why your doing what your doing long before you step up to the plate of a LOOONNGG season to come that will require countless hours of sacrifice from not only you, but from those closest to you. Your best bet is to be on the same page with them and to help them understand just where you are coming from in terms of your reasoning and have them voice their thoughts, ideas, concerns so they are all out there on the table before you do that first trainer ride of 2013.
Here's what I've decided.
This year was hard on so many different levels. You all have seen the ups and downs. I've probably been even a little too forthcoming about the things I've encountered and some of the nuances of what it takes to move up to this level.
Turning pro was harder than I thought it would be and in the end, I'm grateful for that. If I had an easy go of this transition I don't think I would have appreciated it nearly as much.
I worked hard, very hard. Do you know how many long rides or runs I missed this year:
That is a first ever for me and I truly believe that I didn't see the fruits of my labor (or my coach's labor) until my last three races of NINE out of the entire season. I ate plenty of humble pie throughout the season, but I stayed positive and I believed in my heart of heart that if I was supposed to be doing this that I would see progress and that I would know this was the right path for me at this moment.
In the end, I think I saw that. It wasn't a place or time that showed me, it was stepping up to the starting line at Ironman Arizona after so many highs and lows and realizing that I not only deserved to be there, but that I was capable of producing a result that put me in the hunt for a great day, right in the mix with these girls. I didn't need to actually PRODUCE the time to know that.. I knew it was in there. That my friends was the victory of this year. THAT was what I have been searching for even when I didn't know I was searching.
I didn't have it before. I wasn't ready. I was always questioning, wondering, analyzing, feeling below the mark, trying to prove myself.
I'm all done with that.
In the end, I'm so thankful for the experience and I'm also glad that rookie year is over. It isn't as hard as they say it's going to be, it's harder.
So, in the midst of all this how do I go on and justify another year of long training.. all that time...all that sacrifice. It's not easy. You may think it is looking from the outside in, but trust me.. it's not even close. It's actually like Matilda Raynolds describes HERE in her article on Witsup Professional Triathlete Job Description.
In the end, I owe it to my maker, myself and to Kyle to be the best possible version of myself day after day, year after year. The version where I fight tooth and nail for what I believe are the abilities given to me for a reason. The version where I'm not afraid to be great. I'm better for Kyle and even will be better for my children someday if I'm blessed enough to have them.
You know what, there's nothing selfish about that my friends. Nothing.
It's important to do it for them, for me, and for everyone who would love to be out there living their dreams and can't. I made myself a promise at the beginning of all this that I wouldn't waste one second of this opportunity and you know what so far I've kept that promise. My intention is to keep doing so until I feel there is another priority that calls my name clearly.
Thank you Kyle for believing in me. This year would have never happened without you.
Thank you coach Jesse. You are my rock of consistency and you never ever stopped believing that I could be the athlete that we spoke about at the beginning of our time together. You saw me through some really rough times and I appreciate you more than you know.
Thank you Mom. I know this whole lifestyle scares the living crap out of you and you encourage me and love me anyway. I appreciate you & love you dearly.
Thank you Dad. You've never even batted an eyelash when I've told you my big dreams. I love you so much for that.
Thank you Sponsors who help support me and encourage me!! I don't take your support lightly and I look forward to continuing great relationships with each of you next year.
Thank you to my friends, Jocelyn, Beth, Chloe, Jen C, Jen S, Heidi, Lisa, Janine, Rich, Bruce, Billy, Garvin, Chad, Monique, Stacey, Lissa and so so many more that I will totally forget like a big dork here. You guys make this whole thing so much more enjoyable and I appreciate the notes, cards, messages and everything else you do.
Thank you family, especially my Aunt Dena, who just continues to always blow me away with your positive attitude. You inspire me to be so much more with your courage and love of the Lord!
Thanks to my QT2 Teammates who I have formed a real bond with, Molly, Jennie, Jacqui, Pat, Mary, Jessie and so many more. You guys have been awesome. Thanks so much for your support.
Thanks to those who always comment on this blog. I read every single post (I just don't always do awesome with responding!!). I appreciate all of them though. I appreciate the calls, emails and facebook posts.
I could never do this without my support team around me. I am very blessed and it is the best feeling in the world.