Let’s be honest, everyone makes mistakes in their lives. People doubt themselves, worry, conjure up negative thoughts and relentlessly ponder the “what ifs.” I'm guilty of all of these, and sometimes such mind chatter ruins me. Luckily though, I have people in my life that stop this and help me get beyond such craziness, and I can't thank them enough.
Personally, I love adventure but I also enjoy my little routine, and I'm a relentless planner. Plans, those that do and those that don't always happen, fill my mind up day in and day out. I'm addicted to the hope and excitement each new idea brings, but in reality I need to learn to sit back and enjoy the now.
Two people in my life that I can't thank enough for keeping me grounded are my coach, Mark Allen, and Paul, my boyfriend. Both have supported me a ton this past year and continue to do so.
Mark is my coach and mentor. I have 100% faith in Mark and his understanding of this sport. Of course, with his accolades, anyone who questions him would be a dummy! He's been very patient with me and truly has helped through some rough patches. When we first started working together in November 2011, I was deep in emotional turmoil and need more than just a program to follow. I needed guidance to follow my dreams and passion, and stay the path. Panama 2012 showed that I was forging ahead with more confidence in myself than previous years. Abu Dhabi, a course record in St. Croix and Syracuse, and other race wins/podiums were just icing on the cake.
Of course, my crash at 70.3 worlds wasn't exactly how I wanted to end a solid year. I look back at it and still am not sure what really happened. Instead of getting stuck, however, Mark helped me put it behind me. Perhaps there was a reason, but even if there was, it doesn't matter. It happened and time goes on. I move on. It was a race I had a lot of people come to watch and support, including Mark and my family. Too much pressure to perform? Perhaps, but I never felt this while racing. I was there to do my best and when I did crash, I couldn't quit. I pushed through some pain and hobbled my way to the finish line. Instead of looking on the crash negatively, I have to look at my ability to carry on as another moment that gives me strength and faith in myself.
In November, Paul and I went to Mark’s Fit Soul, Fit Body retreat. It was a real eye-opening experience that helped solidify Mark’s teachings in his book Fit Soul, Fit Body and, of course, helped me find more understanding of every email I've ever received from him. I also met Brant Secunda, shaman and healer. Though I'm still a student, a skeptical one at that, I've found more peace and more happiness in this world around me than I've ever had before.
To say i have the utmost respect for Mark is not enough. I’m truly honored to be his student and can't wait to travel into the unknown of Ironman racing with his guidance. 'Patience, grasshopper.' :-)
And of course there is also my boyfriend, Paul. We met at a race last year, at which he was the pro liaison. His duties: to take care of me! Fitting, I know. I'm lucky enough to say that it was love at first sight. Now, I know that sounds silly, but as soon as we met I was smiling. That, above all else, meant something.
He's been by my side ever since and it's amazing what a solid relationship can do to your psyche! I'm happy...and a happy athlete’s a fast one! :-) He suffers alongside me in some of my workouts and it's awesome to have his support when things become a grind. Plus, he’s a great motivator, because I'll be darned if I’ll let him beat me!