This off season has been LEGIT! I have definitely rested and put on some weight. I ate what I wanted to, slept in pretty much every day, hit the pool a total of 3 times in 4 weeks and finally gave into the need for a month long nap that I was hoping for before Cozumel. Unfortunately, with rest comes cell growth, and without training that means most the cells were brain cells. Yes, I've been thinking during this off season. I'm pretty glad to be back training where I can once again kill off those new brain cells I grew in the off season and slide back into the swim bike run repeat hamster mode. Well, what would another season be without changes? The biggest one is I don't have Chuckie V this coming year. Yes, I know I know, you will miss the pictures of him on this blog. All I can really muster up is "things change." I know CV put his own dreams aside to coach us the last few years and it's legit that he may want to go check some things off his own list. Also, you have to understand, coaching Michelle and I is exhausting. I emailed Chuckie every single day for 2 years. It's natural to be ready for a break from all that. Man we had some great times, some awesome laughs and no one can deny that I have taken a huge leap upwards in the last two years thanks to his sound coaching principles and great one on one coaching. I will always remember "famous last words" and laugh about some of the fun stuff we did. His principles will be alive and well in me and the athletes I coach and I must say I learned so very much from him.

But things change. Aside from wanting to sleep for a month after Cozumel, I also wanted to figure out what I was going to do about coaching. At first, I just said "I will self coach." Believe me, I've been given the lectures...."you should be able to coach yourself" "you have all the knowledge" "you know what you are doing." Yes, Yes, Yes. I know some stuff. I would read this over and over and wonder "Am I here yet?"

The best of the elites eventually figure this out: that they can continue to figure things out for themselves.

--CV

The part of me that was bummed and a little angry about a few things in my life was saying "I'll just coach myself." It was that "I don't need anyone, I'll just crawl in a hole and do my own thing...bratty 2 year old" voice coming out. The mad little girl in me seriously contemplated applying for this or giving this a go. There was part of me that just wanted to chuck it..chuck the goal, chuck Kona, just go live in the woods for awhile or run to somewhere very far away. But something CV said to me in a personal email kept sticking with me.

You know, there are plenty of good coaches out there; don't limit yourself to having had just one or two. I learned a lot from many different sources and slowly developed my own "way." The fundamentals are all that really matter, but it's how we apply them that decides whether or not they work.

-Chuckie V

That kept speaking to me. I kept thinking about the things I know, and the questions I still have. The faster I seem to get, the more I see potential for progress. It wasn't until I started seeing sub 1:30 pace in the pool that I could see the 1:2os, that I could see Michelle's ability. The faster I get on the bike, the faster I think I could get in the future. I know there is more to learn.

As the weeks wore on, all this continued to rumble around in my brain. I spent a lot of time thinking, and reading, and I started to come around. I read The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. The little bit before the Prologue was my favorite in that book. He talks about four obstacles:

1. We are told from childhood that everything we want to do is impossible.

2. We know what we want to do but we are afraid of hurting those around us by abandoning everything in order to pursue our dream.

3. Fear of the defeats we will meet on the path. We who fight for our dreams suffer far more when it doesn't work out because we can not fall back on "I didn't really want it anyways."

4. The fear of realizing the dream for which we fought. "I have known a lot of people who, when their personal calling was within their grasp, went on to commit a series of stupid mistakes and never reached their goal - when it was only a step away"

This final one struck me, because I see that all over the place. Fear of real success. As Coelho talks about, it's easy to look around to those who have failed to get what they wanted and wonder why we should deserve to get what we are aiming for. Why are we special, why do we deserve success any more than the people around us?

Using my new found brain cells I realized that it is important for me to keep going. This journey is my journey, and it's the one I decided I wanted to go on. We all have that choice, to decide what journey we want to go on. I wanted this, I wanted to win my AG at Kona. I wanted to really see what I could do in that race. That's what I chose.

What you need to know is this: before a dream is realized, the Soul of the world tests everything that was learned along the way. It does this not because it is evil, but so that we can, in addition to realizing our dreams, master the lessons we've learned as we've moved towards that dream. That's the point at which most people give up."

-Paulo Coelho

This really reminded me of something Chuckie said to me just a few months ago.

It is important to choose your path in life with all your heart, then stick to it until it no longer makes you happy. All else goes on the back burner or is burnt entirely. You can't do as I've done and try to have everything on the front burners...or it'll fry you.

Focus on family and triathlon and worry about the rest of what life offers (or can offer) once you're no longer worried about how you perform in this wonderful and challenging sport. Find ways to stay motivated and ways to trick your mind into doing what needs to get done.

--Chuckie V

For me, it all came full circle here. I still very much want this. I don't have Chuckie, but I like to think that he got me to this point, and now I need a different guide. It's my journey, no one else's, and I need to negotiate the route. I know I need a coach. I know that there are many others that have more knowledge than I do and I want to find them, learn from them, and let them help me pave the path that I am on. I know stuff, but I want to know more stuff, and I learn by doing. I stood at a crossroads and I looked in a few other directions, I maybe even took a few steps down the other roads to see around the bend. but here I am, headed back in the direction I have traveled for a few years.

It's about Kona. For me, it's still about Kona.

So, what's a girl to do? Well, look around. Who kicked it at Kona, who's progress have I seen accelerate? Go in search of someone who is getting people to perform on the big island on race day. Go find someone that you can learn from...and then hope he will take you on (and that PIC likes him too).

Training started on the 26th with Dirk. He's advised some ladies to some great results and he has the heart of a teacher. So, here I am, back at it with some weight to lose and some fitness to gain. I'm ready to learn new things, and to question the things I thought I already knew. The journey continues.

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