Time to go?

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.

When I was a freshman in high school, I started out running track during the winter just to stay in shape for soccer. I was decent, OK. I won some stuff, but they were small races. Then we had our very first big outdoor track meet, with lots of fast schools and faster runners. We were going to get our asses kicked.

Except I didn’t know that. I didn’t know I was supposed to lose now. The gun went off for the 800m at this big invitational and I took off. I came through the first lap leading and people were going nuts. Who the hell was this freshman? Shockingly, I couldn’t quite hold on to it and I ended up getting nipped in the last turn. I also ended up with the school record and a huge PR and the realization I could maybe be pretty fast at this.

But here’s the part you’ve probably heard before: I never ran as fast again the entire rest of high school.

I’d like for this to have been some kind of lesson. Like: And now I’ve learned what I did wrong and I went on to achieve what I’m capable of, yay. It’s not though. At least not yet. Everyone knows I still have these flashes, moments of brilliance that seem to demonstrate some kind of potential, and then they disappear. Everyone knows what my weaknesses are too. (Outside of, you know, actual physical ability.)

1. You need to have your life set up to take on the kind of volume and training intensity necessary to do triathlon good. My life is not a “daily performance environment.” Especially not right now.

2. You need to be there mentally. Day in and day out, willing to just get it done. You know those stories about how competitive some top athlete is, unwilling to lose random games of bowling? Yeah, that’s my sister, not me. We talked about it on the podcast, but when I care, I *really* care. It’s just that, well, a lot of times I think about all the other things I could care about instead.

All of this is to say: Back in the fall, I decided to actually try to realize some of those flashes of potential and be fast, but some days it still feels like a disaster around here, like I’m cramming in workouts in between rushing to jobs and trying to sleep, and then some days I’m swimming faster than I’ve ever swum and I’m flying through bike routes and, when I can get my hip not jacked up, I’m just clicking off miles at paces I never would have been able to run before. Some days.

I signed up for Oceanside 70.3 as my season-opener, rust-buster, get a chance to race the best. It’s really just an opener for Peru 70.3 though, which should be fun. And then, since Wildflower got cancelled (sigh), I’ll be at St. George 70.3 too.

I also am getting some real, solid support to try and make a go of this too.

Nuun partnered up with Smashfest Queen to back a pro women’s team, and it’s been really cool to have women’s companies supporting women — with real legit support (like $$) and products for women. I also got on the phone with one of the R&D directors at Nuun to fine-tune my nutrition, which I’ve never had before. It’s always just been me “figuring it out.” (Also the R&D head ran XC & track at my high school too!) Plus, both companies support Live Feisty — the company that produces the podcast, newsletter, Summit, etc. Use the code “ironwomen” at nuunlife.com to get 30% off and I’m pretty sure you can still use “ironwomen” at smashfestqueen.com for free shipping.

One of the things I really needed this year was a smaller bike. Loved my old bike, but it was just slightly too big for me. The whole search process ended up being pretty complicated; there are simply not that many top-end TT bikes *really* designed for those of us who are 5’2″. But it turned out Dan from Premier Bikes committed last year to serving this underserved women’s market and has built a real XS bike from scratch, with a huge amount of attention to detail. Now, he just needs to get the word out. So I’m riding this brand new XS bike for the year and so far, after just a few weeks, it seems FAST. (Of course, I also got decked out with a way way more aggressive fit, since it’s small enough now I can ride more aggressively.) If you’re small and looking for a top-end TT bike, check it out.

And, of course, I’ll still be eating my Clif Bars and wearing my Xterra wetsuits. You can use my code “SA-OMARA” here to get 60% off a new wetsuit for the season and check out Xterra’s new swim paddles. (I also like their goggles for open water.) And my understanding is Clif is donating the profits from the Sierra Mix Trail Clif Bars to a second responder fund, because things have been rough disaster-wise out here.

So. It’s almost like I’m almost a real professional now. We just need to string together a bunch of flashes of brilliance into one whole season now.

2 thoughts on “Time to go?

  1. Keep on trying Kelly. Your moments of brilliance beg only opportunity to shine, to show off your full potential.

    I don’t know beans about being a professional athlete (other than what I read from your blog). Nevertheless I will share with you one of my favorite quotes which may help you get to the your essence:

    Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is the noble art of leaving things undone. The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of nonessentials. – Lin Yutang

    Best Wishes.

  2. I want to say that I deeply appreicate your writing skills and the fact that you ferret out super interesting articles, facts, tidbits about sports in general and women’s sports in particular that I would otherwise never find on my own. I also love your attitude: supportive of other women athletes and willing to put yourself out there on the course, even while realizing that some bad-ass, finanically supported, top-five in the world athletes will also be toeing the line. That takes more courage than I would ever have. I read your newsletters on Live Feisty—and sympathize with your recent frustration. I understand the desire to post some amazing results and the frustration when hard work does not seem to pay off. Who doesn’t experience burn-out and wanting to just friggin’ ESCAPE once in a while? There are very few “must do’s.” You don’t have to compete in a triathlon or run a race or write a column even. You are entitled to a “vacation” once in a while. In such times, I think it is important to take a step back, take extra good care of yourself, hook up with your team (the people who not just love you, but lift you up, make you laugh a bit, inspire you, and accept the whole you), watch movies that make you laugh, read an inspiring book, exercise enough to activate positive endorphins, and just give yourself a well-deserved break. And, above all, get enough sleep! It is impossible to manage all the $#*@ that life hands out when you are exhausted. Then….. when you are feeling a tiny bit better about the world, revisit what you really want and why and brainstorm (maybe with that beloved team) ways to nudge yourself in the direction of your dreams. You are a fine writer and a perceptive, engaged woman of the world. Don’t underestimate yourself. In the meantime, lovely baths and mugs of tea and lunch with a friend who makes you laugh can work wonders. Be kind to yourself. There are those of us who are cheering you onward!

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