“Outside of your comfort zone is where the magic happens.” ~Anonymous
It’s been far too long since my last blog post. The reason for my radio silence? Big changes! The last month has brought significant change for me: new coach, new coast, new squad, new training regimen, new city…… so much new!
Now that I’m finally finding my feet and getting settled, I wanted to take a moment to share my thought process in making such a big decision, as I’ve had many questions from you all!
As I mentioned in my last post, at the start of the year, the second half of 2017 brought disappointment – not just in terms of results but more so in my progression towards performing in swim/bike/run at the WTS level. Cutting my season short due to illness last year ended up being a blessing in disguise—it really pushed me to take the off-season to do some serious reflection. Should I keep doing short course when I could presumably win more money and have more “results” in long course right now? Removing results – which are never guaranteed in sport – what did I want to take away from my time racing as a professional triathlete? To put it bluntly, what would make my triathlon journey fulfilling?
My massage therapist referred me to the Universal Laws, which might seem a little hokey, but really provided clarity for me: I love draft-legal racing; I want to race the best, and with draft-legal triathlon being an Olympic sport, I see that format as being the pinnacle of the sport.
I recognized that at my core, I began my journey as a professional triathlete with the goal of making a run at the Olympics, of earning a start at the 2019 Test Event. As a US female elite triathlete, that will be a battle. It might not happen. But if I knew that I had left nothing on the table—committed to that goal with every ounce of emotional, physical, and spiritual energy I had—then I could be happy, whatever the result.
I’m currently reading The Mindful Athlete, and really connected to this quote from George Mumford: “To learn, you’ve got to take risks and stretch yourself. You’ve got to romance the unknown and concentrate on pushing the envelope so you can gain new skillsets and achieve flow even under the most trying circumstances.” It perfectly captured how I felt heading into 2018—in order to achieve my goals, I had to commit even more, to continue pushing myself out of my comfort zone; I needed a change.
After speaking at length with my coach at the time, Greg Mueller, we decided that the best course of action for me was to switch squads. I consulted several coaches to see whether they had capacity for me and, if so, whether we would be a fit. My gut quickly told me I had found the right person: Jarrod Evans. For those of you in the sport, Jarrod needs no introduction. However, for those not as familiar, Jarrod has developed and guided many athletes to top WTS finishes and was recently named head coach of USA Triathlon's Women's High Performance Squad. During our conversations, it quickly became apparent to me that between Jarrod’s experience, demeanor, and analytical mind; his squad of down-to-earth, talented, hard working women to push me day-in and day-out; and my focus, work ethic, and determination—my dream could very well become a reality.
In her TedTalk, Brene Brown reports that in her extensive research, those who are happiest and achieve the greatest success have a unique “willingness to do something where there are no guarantees.” That is what brings me to California. To take my commitment to the next level and chase my dream with reckless abandon, knowing that nothing is guaranteed.
I owe so very much to Greg. His unwavering support, guidance, patience, and mentorship over the past three years have gotten me to where I am. When I came to Greg, I had been in and out of a walking boot for almost two years—I had zero fitness, major musculoskeletal imbalances and no idea what an ITU point was or why anyone would ever want to rubber-band their shoes to their bike in a race. But what I did have was a competitive fire and a desire to work hard to achieve a childhood dream. Greg helped me translate that passion for my newfound sport of triathlon into performance. The many lessons he taught me will undoubtedly help me through the inherent ups and downs of draft-legal racing and stay with me for the rest of my life. I am eternally grateful for his time and investment in me as an athlete... and for all the laughs we've had along the way!
My commitment and determination are things that Jarrod has already recognized, and I am extremely excited to be on his squad—it has exceeded all expectations thus far! I have a lot of work to do to continue clawing my way up, but I have clear eyes, a full heart, and for the first time in a little while, the wholehearted belief that I will make my dream a reality!