Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Hello 2014!

A new place to call home. New goals. New relationships. New sponsors. I am so excited to start off the New Year! 2013 has been ridiculously awesome, and the way things are setting themselves up, it would seem that 2014 is going to be even better!

I am currently training in Scottsdale, Arizona where I live in a house with four triathletes. In Scottsdale, USAT has provided us with the best resources, equipment and all around opportunities that I could imagine. I’ve only been here since November and although I have already been challenged on different levels, I have also experienced success. Heck, tomorrow we have our first “race” of the season at Lifetime Fitness and tonight will probably be the first time I don’t stay up to bring in the New Year (even staying up for the east coast to bring in the new year may be a stretch).

The goals have changed from “Giving This a Tri” to fully committing myself to excellence. I am no longer trying out triathlon. I am working hard to make myself known on the world level. The goal this year is to become a force to be reckoned with on the WTS level and a name that people respect and fear when they see it on the starting list. I want to be strong all around, never having to rely solely on my run. I want to start acquiring points for the Olympics to begin turning my dreams of Rio2016 into a reality.

And this year I am so excited to represent some new companies: Coeur, Roka, Brooks, Endurance Shield. These are the companies that help me to achieve all the goals I set for myself. They are part of my triathlon family and I am proud to be an ambassador for each of them. Coeur is a new women’s endurance apparel clothing line that was started by Kebby Holden. They have super cute clothes, but what attracted me most to this company is how genuine everyone who is a part of Coeur is. The platform that the company stands on is something I am honored to be a part of. Since first meeting Coeur at the Las Vegas Sprint Triathlon, I have felt like I was part of the Coeur family. I feel truly taken care of and have enjoyed the fun atmosphere and sense of community that they have instilled in their company.

ROKA is an awesome new wetsuit company that I first took notice of when Tommy Zaferes told me he would be representing them in 2014. I didn’t think much of it until I went and raced at Maine Rev3. There were so many professionals that were wearing the ROKA wetsuit. I contacted ROKA asking if I may be able to try out their wetsuit. I loved it from the moment I tried it on. First off, putting on the wetsuit, the material stayed intact. No holes or puncture wounds! Then getting in the water and swimming, I was controlling the wetsuit rather than having the wetsuit control me. I was comfortable and swimming speedily. Can’t wait to be racing in it this season; it’s a front pack wetsuit for sure!

I have always been a fan of Brooks shoes, even winning my first mile state title in high school wearing Brooks running shoes (see below for a very attractive picture). I was really hoping for a shoe sponsor this year and could not be happier that Brooks accepted me as part of their Brooks ID Elite Program. I am happiest when I’m running in the Brooks Ghosts and am so excited to be racing in them as well this year.

The newest company that I get to represent this season is EnduranceShield. After having a mole with melanoma in-situ removed during college, I am a huge advocate for sunscreen. However, as an athlete I have found it difficult to find sunscreen that doesn’t feel too heavy, sting and still does a thorough job of protecting me. Endurance Shield is a sunscreen company started by the very accomplished Alicia Kaye and Jarrod Shoemaker. It is also the only sunscreen that I will wear during a race. It is light enough that I feel like I can still sweat through it. Endurance shield smells awesome and also keeps me from getting burnt. My skin (largest organ of the body) and I are both quite happy we’re going to be on the Endurance Shield team this year!

I find that happiness and enjoying what you do is key to success. Going into 2014, I could not feel more balanced or confident in my situation. I am in an optimal environment to succeed, have the support of some awesome companies as well as all my family, friends and teammates, I’m in a relationship with Tommy Zaferes  that makes me smile everyday and want to be better all around and I have the drive to be a better triathlete.

I wake up everyday knowing that there is nothing else I would rather be doing. Hello 2014! I am super pumped to see what you have to offer! Even if your arrival does mean I will be doing a 5k race bright and early tomorrow morning!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Tri-al Phase Complete

January, 2013….My dad and I are finishing up the final leg of our trip to Colorado Springs…and I suddenly start bawling in the car.  I know, optimistic start, right?  I promise it gets better from here!  Deciding to move to Colorado for training was the second biggest decision of my life.  My first major life decision was choosing to go to Syracuse University.  That was one decision I never regretted!  I was hoping I would soon be two for two in life decisions. 
Dad dropping me off in January
For some reason, my decision to move to the Olympic Training Center felt scarier.  So many questions went through my mind as we got closer and closer.  How would I handle a 24 hour drive from my family?  Should I be pursuing a teaching job instead of chasing my dream?  So many unknowns!  What would the training be like?  Could I handle it?  Who would coach us?  Would I meet the expectations they had for me?  Would I like my training partners?  Would they like me?  With so many unanswered questions, I felt out of my element.  I am a planner and I like to know what to expect.  Hmm…what was I getting myself into?
Fast forward 11 months and here we are in December!  Looking back, my emotional breakdown on my way to the OTC now seems ludicrous.  I mean honestly, one of the OTC mottos is “amazing awaits.”  

USAT in Tiszy!
What’s so intimidating about that?  This year I have been living my self-named “fake life.”  How could my life this year be real?  It has been a year filled with more experiences and opportunities than I could have imagined!  I have had countless opportunities, both large and small, to move out of my comfort zone.  I participated in my first (and second and third….) draft legal races.  I raced in two WTS level races.  I traveled to Europe to train and to race.  Now for the biggest steps out of my comfort zone!  I tried brussel sprouts and mastered parallel parking!   These experiences have helped me learn and grow.  I have become more confident and have learned to embrace the unknowns.
Cruising around Santa Cruz
So, what’s next? I finished off a great season with a fantastic two week break in Santa Cruz with Tommy Zaferes. Then in November I packed up all my belongings in Colorado Springs and we drove to Arizona to begin my next adventure….and this time there were no tears.   I am training with a group of triathletes in Phoenix.  The group includes some of my OTC training partners and some new additions. It turns out all those fears about training partners were also ridiculous; these people have become like siblings to me!  Although I have no idea how long we will be here or where I will be next, I am enjoying  another  awesome opportunity that my second biggest life decision has given me.  So far the weather has been superb and the training venue is amazing.  In addition, we work with top notch coaches and have access to incredible resources.  When I think about the ideal situation for success, this is where I want to be and every day I wake up happy to be both living my dreams as well as achieving my goals. Looking forward to keeping you all posted on my new adventures in 2014!

Top 10 Moments of 2013:
  1. Throwing away half my clothes upon arrival to Phoenix under the guidance of mates—Hoarding lifestyle has been left behind
  2. Doing the San Diego Super Sprint and then the sprint relay with Joe Maloy
  3. Discovering the movie Pitch Perfect and the soundtrack
  4. Competing in my first WTS race in San Diego
  5. Racing the Columbia Triathlon with my dad and family there to support
  6. The 1500 time trial and getting my best time (even though Chelsea outkicked me)
  7. Winning my first World Cup in Palamos
  8. Maine Rev3 with Off the Front Multisport and Team Psycho
  9. Watching the Mixed Team Relay in Hamburg
  10. The entire Tiszy experience

Not Top 10:
  1. The bitter cold weather at times
  2. Coming back to altitude after breaks
  3. Spending the night in the Houston Airport before Cozumel (though I did have good company)
  4. Running up Goldcamp with Jacob, Chelsea and Kyla in the snow
  5. The temperature of the hotel room with Chelsea in Tiszy…especially before figuring out the air conditioning
  6. Woodmen long run with Chelsea where the wall was hit hard and I had her go on without me
  7. Dragging my bike box (that was missing 2 out of 4 of its wheels) from the ferry to the bus after Cozumel
  8. Kosmins at the track with Bobby –rain, wind, cold, sprinting, waiting, freezing, sprinting
  9. 4th of July ride out East with Chelsea Burns and Alex Willis –flying out on the workout only to hit the wind and bonk on the way back
  10. Crashing and having the fork of my bike impale me

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