It's no secret that's my immediate goal. I want to get my pro license at the end of this year. In 2009, I moved to California with that same goal in mind, and boy was it a learning experience. Looking back, I am soooo greatful for everything I experienced despite not even coming slightly close to that achievement. There are a lot of reasons for why I came up short on my overall finishes that would've prompted me to get my pro card; and as I start this year, I will take all of the lessons learned and make the necessary changes.
2010 will be a more mature journey on the route to racing as a pro and I look forward to blogging about it and invite you to read along :D
First- a look back at my 2009 mistakes/obstacles:
1) Lack of stability.
They say moving is as stressful as getting a divorce, the death of a loved one, or losing one's job. Well, thankfuly, neither of those have happened to me but after moving 4 times in less than 6 mths I can definitely tell you it's no cakewalk!!
I went from nannying at a family's house in Mission Viejo that I had only met online/by phone from Jan - early March, to the house of a new friend I made in those few months, in San Clemente, to a more stable/comfortable environment at the Mayer's house in Encinitas March- early June....and FINALLY to my own apartment in Encinitas as well mid June to the present.
CORRECTION: This year, definitely gets started with much greater balance having my apartment and zero plans to move an inch other than to a few races & a training camp.
2) Financial/immigration mayhem.
I spent all last year under OPT status (optional practical training) where I could only work part time in a marketing (my major) related field. After the nanny gig, I had to keep relying on my parents for money, albeit sending tons of resumes to any place that would file me under a part time marketing position. Damn the economy! I never got lucky. I babysat here & there, and did some packaging stuff for my friend Andrew- Beaker Concepts- but 99% of my expenses were still provided by my family (mom & stepdad).
As well, I raced scared, which looking back took some of the enjoyment off my racing. I got into this sport and fell in love with it because it was MY thing. MY goals, and I got a bit of satisfaction that my family knew close to nothing about it so the tennis expectations/pressures that led to my burnout were gone. Why was I racng scared? Because I felt like every race was make it or break it in regards to the plan of filing me P-1 or O-1 visa (for athletic accomplishments) at the end of the year.
After Kona, I realized how stupid this was. Not only had I lost perspective on the fun of the sport, but also on how little it mattered at the end of the day, because nothing really changes if you win or lose on the grand scale of things. My family and friends still love me and are alive/healthy, and actually getting my green card visa was the smartest option for my long term future. I just didn't know if I was going to be able to land a job that would grant me a H-1B workers visa until my stepdad offered me a job at Sun Loan.
CORRECTION: I now have a part time job with Sun Loan that enables me to have greater financial independence, and feel like I deserve what I'm doing in triathlon a lot more. In 2009, I felt like everytime I'd swim, bike, or run, I was a bum because I wasn't pro, I had no job, and it felt like I was just going out to "play".
3) Waaay too many equipment changes.
This sport, like any sport or skill, requires practice of repetitive motions. That in essence is "training". I made soo many changes particularly to my cycling that never enabled me to adapt and improve. I went from a Cervelo 49 P3, to that same bike with a 56/46 chain, which led to a knee injury, a change in bars, stems, you name it. Finally back to a 53/39 on the P3, then to a CEEPO 45 (too small), constant cleat, saddle, bar adjustments to feel comfortable on a frame too small, to finally a CEEPO Venom 51, 700c right before IMAZ (like 1.5wks before).
CORRECTION: I finally got a fit that works. I am comfortable and am not making any changes.
4) Too much steady effort/emphasis on volume, no intensity, no listening to my gut/body.
I did 1 track workout the whole year, added road intervals on my own a couple times because I craved intensity, and my rides were ALL steady and only saw power spikes/HR elevations because of terrain changes (ie climbing).
CORRECTION: I feel the coaching philosophy/background of LifeSport matches what I believe in and what I need at my age for the level I want to achieve. There won't be crazy volume (obviously for Kona prep it does get high), but the main emphasis will be on intensity- getting fast, increasing my FTP. Also, because so many areas of my life (home, financial, equipment) are stable, I will be able to devote an insanely larger amount of time to recovery/rest.
5) Being FAT. Like VERY fat!
I spent the whole year at roughly 10-15lbs over my ideal weight. True, in the early part of the season you don't want to be at your leanest, but that means 2-5lbs not carrying around a layer of insulation that leaves you huffing and puffing. I was able to swim a bit better due to bouyancy though haha.
There are no excuses when it comes to weight. It's logic. Calories in, calories out. While that's true, it is bullshit that because you did a 5hr ride you can eat whatever you want. It is also BS, that what I eat you can eat or vice versa. Everyone has a different metabolic rate. Some people can get away with eating crap, or just eating a lot of calories, and never gain weight. Others eat a carrot and balloon.
Although I've eaten insanely "clean" no junk, sweets/deserts, sodas, as little processed food, etc etc as possible since I was 16, 2009 was a year where I did not listen to what my subconscious was telling me, and I became a wimp. I was a wimp because I ate whenever I was hungry, I obliged to the athletes need carbs mantra, and I ignored my gut that told me "No! Although a lot of professinal athletes keep it a bit hush hush, there is a great amount of sacrifice that needs to be made to race at that level, with that little body fat." As an example, no offense, but the tour riders are not healthy, they are in amazing "form" but not what I would call healthy.
CORRECTION: 2010 and beyond it's performance over health. Call me crazy, stupid, I don't give a crap anymore. I know what I want to achieve, and I know how to do it. I am not blessed with a Ferrari of a metabolism, so for me to be lean/get to my ideal race weight, I do have to go to bed hungry more times than not.
If when I'm 40 and older this comes back to haunt me because I get osteoperosis, or whatever other illness people can come up with as a result of what I will practice the next 15 years, so be it. As long as I have a winner's crown to justify it, I can deal.
So, it's simple- all out, no regrets. There's a fine window for professional sports and I will make the most of it.
Today marks my first day in 2010 of a coached schedule. Carlsbad Half Marathon will be my first event of the year, and I'm off to training camp in Victoria, BC at the start of Feb.
Let it be in writing - my goals for 2010:
Win my AG at every tri I enter
Top 3 amateur F, top 10 overall F at all 70.3s
Top 3 amateur at Kona, win my AG, get my Pro card
I hope everyone has a great season and may you reach all your goals!!