Here we are. After an eventful year, I finally have the time to sit down and think about it. This is always an important time of year for me, as it allows me to recharge my batteries. I finish up school, I let training be a little more chill, I spend time with family, ski, and do whatever I feels best. People always wonder how I go so hard for so long of the year. The answer is two fold; I love what I do and I take a break every year.
This being said, how do I view 2016? On the triathlon front, it started off with some rough bumps involving coaches that truly challenged my love and perseverance in the sport. But, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger and I think this experience set me up for a strong year and made my will stronger than ever! I also was struggling with a minor knee injury that was holding me back in my running. After, holding back for a little while, I was able to build up to a proper training load. This allowed me to go into my first race, 70.3 New Orleans, in decent shape. It was a good race and it started the year off with what would become my focus in 70.3’s for the year. It was also a huge party and really cool town. I would highly recommend NO 70.3. After this, I recouped and went off to St. George and got another second place overall amatuer. A good result, but I wanted more.
I had to make the decision of whether to step up to the professional ranks in triathlon. This was probably my biggest decision of the year. Many people advised me not to because of my young age and thought my development would be better as an amatuer. Despite most people's advice, I decided to take the plunge. Me reasoning was that I would be pushed more as an athlete in the pro ranks, would save money on registration fee’s, and could see if I actually can make it as a professional triathlete. I’m someone who needs to see improvement and to me this was the next step of improvement. Going pro was the right choice. This offers insight into the decision making process; ask others around you for their opinion, think about it rationally, but at the end of the day really follow your gut instinct and do what you know is right. I have always done this and it usually works out quite well.
After going pro, I raced my ass off the rest of the year with 13 races in 2016. I pushed my limits to new places, got to see some fantastic new places, and met really interesting and hospitable people. I had a 25 minute personal best (PR) in 70.3 and a 54 minute PR for Ironman. There were upsides of being second at both Calgary 70.3 and Xterra Beaver Creek. I even came out of the year with some decent prize money. I am not going to detail my races to much here as then this would become a novel.
What I want to talk about is the why. There is no doubt that my pursuit of triathlon has created a unique lifestyle. I live at home, I train all the time, I sleep a lot, and I spend most of my time on my own. And for what? A few thousand dollars in prize money, and maybe an elevated social status (doubtful). This is all very different from what most my age are doing--considering I am a college student. And to be honest, I struggled to answer this at times. Especially in the last few weeks, where partying and catching up with neglected friends has taken the stage. But the answer is there and always has been. I have a burning passion for it. I love the long rides on my own, with nothing but my own thoughts and the fresh air. I just can’t be satisfied without it. I still know that I can go farther and faster and I have to know this. I need to find this limit and once I do then perhaps I can quit. It also is an activity where the results are so tangible and it is easy to see the fruits of one’s labor. And its striking, considering I have always thought of myself as an extrovert, but I love to be on my own. I find myself constantly needing time on my own to think about all the things in life and to know where I am going.
I also find that triathlon has created things in my life that are bigger than triathlon itself. I really think it has made me a better person, which has always been the goal. It has taught me how to succeed in things. I am doing better in school than I ever have before because I know how to put the work in. I believe in myself that I am making the right decisions every day. I follow my heart and have the courage to do so. Triathlon has helped me find my path. If triathlon doesn’t work out or when I retire, I want to help other people move better, be healthier, and ultimately be happier.
I really believe that physical health leads to a l general well being and happiness. I want to do this through being a personal trainer and yoga instructor. I have also learned to delay gratification. Pain is what you make it and pushing through can usually lead to good outcomes. Finally, I think triathlon has helped me to be more positive and grateful. I am so happy to be able to do what I do and hope I can continue to do it for my living.
To conclude, I plan on going into 2017 with even more passion for triathlon. I do it for myself because it gives me great satisfaction, makes me a better person, and hopefully can improve others lives. There will be hard moments in anything we do, but if we find are calling we owe it to ourselves to commit to it and see where it takes us.
My blog is a collection of topics including training, nutrition, sponsorships, and becoming the best man I can be. In addition, I write about my spiritual realizations that are intrinsic to the sport of triathlon.