It is amazing what can take place in the course of 365 days. Just last year my friend Eric Lagerstrom visited me in New York after he raced is last ITU race of his first professional season. Eric stayed with me for a few days as I was preparing to race in Kona for the first time. During this time Eric was contacted by United States Triathlon to be a part of Team USA at the World Championships in New Zealand in the U23 Championship. Almost 365 days later, many thousands of miles run, biked and yards swam he had one of his best performances to date in becoming the United States Elite Sprint National Champion. Yep, a National Champion. Ask him 365 days ago if this was going to happen he probably wouldn’t have been able to give you a good answer. However, his determination and drive would tell a different story. He took the steps necessary to achieve what he did at the Super Sprint Triathlon held in Las Vegas, NV. Simply put he followed his passion and did whatever it took to achieve his goal. All this in just 1 year…365 days. What’s more inspiring and refreshing than achieving a HUGE goal in 12 months? Anything is possible when you allow yourself to be completely and utterly devoted towards making something work.
Eric’s a good friend of mine and I’m glad I can share a brief glimpse of his story with you all. I am sure he will have his own thoughts up for you all to see very soon as well. The reason that I write of Eric’s story is to illustrate how things can take a 180 in 365 days. In my case the past 365 have brought me to the exact same place, at least geographically speaking. As I put these thoughts to paper (or wordpress paper) I am flying across the country on the first leg of my trip back to Kona for my second crack at the Ironman World Championships in Kona, HI. Last year’s race was an amazing experience for me. To experience the race and all that surrounds it was a unique and special experience. One that I was able to spend with my Mom, Dad, Brother and his family. I’d be lying if I said I was satisfied with my performance as I felt I had more in me. However, the fact is that I did what I did. That’s the beauty of the sport. No excuses, no corners cut, no adjustment of reality. All the training and work done in preparation comes down to a time XX:XX, that’s what your left with. It’s pretty great actually.
So here I am making the pilgrimage back to Kona once again. The goals are different, yet the same. With another year of training behind me, my fitness is at a higher level than last year and thus a better performance is to be expected. However, that expectation is purely based on training and the data from that training. What that expectation lacks is execution and execution is exactly what dictates whether my race day goes “Good or Bad”. Simple as that, the hay is “almost” in the barn as they say. I’ve got a few big training sessions left in my preparation for the race to get through along with the numerous other workouts that will be on my schedule. None are to be taken lightly as within a 3-4 week window everything I do can and does have a direct impact on race day performance. But enough talking about something that isn’t going to happen for another 3+ weeks.
What I really wanted to get across is that over the past year my own life has had a lot of change in it. Change that I feel I has been laying the ground works for quite some time, just as my friend Eric had with his. Change typically does not come from nothing. Instead it is the conclusion to a long process of foundation laying, brick by brick construction of a long term plan. In my case I feel that ever since 2010 and more so in 2011 when I left the world of public accounting that I was building towards a life that I wanted, a life that was extremely rewarding and equally challenging. For some that comes in the corporate world of business and trade…for me it comes with trying to be the best triathlete I can be. Ability aside, what it comes down to is that I love trying to push myself to the next level and achieve goals that I didn’t even realize were on my horizon when this all began. I don’t expect things to just happen or just happen quickly, but what I do expect is that I will stay the course, pursue the right steps and fight hard to realize my goals. I am EXTREMELY luck to have opportunities I have and to waste them would be a disservice to myself and those that believe in and support me.
Last year I was living at home in Penn Yan, NY with my parents on beautiful Keuka Lake. A really great place to be for most of the year, with the exception being the cold and bleak winter months. Luckily, last year I was able to skip town and head South for a quality training camp during February and March with a great bunch of QT2 Pro athletes. Since that camp my life has seemed to be on almost fast forward. Going from race to race in Texas, New Jersey, Connecticut and finally making camp in Lake Placid for the majority of June and July. It has really been an awesome experience. Through it all I have landed in Boston, MA, a place that has always been on my radar ever since deciding on which college to attend. I took a long round about path but I have finally made it to the home of the Boston Red Sox. I’ve got some great friends who have allowed for this move to happen and who have given me the opportunity to be sustainable. To them I can’t say thank you enough since without them this truly wouldn’t be possible. Hopefully someday, somehow I can repay them. I really mean it, you guys know who you are and your kindness and generosity is tremendous.
The move to Boston has really been great. Allowing me to be with the people I want to be with and progress in my goals. On top of spending time with those that matter to me, I have been able to find solid training here in Boston. Between the weekly group rides, runs along the Charles and miles of suffering in Brockton things are pretty darn good. The ability to train with those people who can kick my butt on a daily basis is priceless towards my own development. I just hope that my training partners are getting as much out of our workouts as I am.
So that’s a little update on what has gone on in the past year. In summary I’ve bounced around a lot, raced a bunch, moved to Boston, got a job working at Fast Splits, a triathlon specific store in Newton, MA, spent way to much $$ at Whole Foods and have seemingly acquired two news bikes I did not know I was in the market for. (SHAMELESS PLUG: I have two bikes a Trek Madone and Speed Concept for sale. Any takers? At a steal of a price!!) All this has led me to be headed to the same exact place I was last year…right on Ali’I Drive. Even though I will be at the same place, I know that I am definitely different in many good ways, and that difference will help dictate the course of events out on the Big Island. I can’t wait to toe the line again in Kona against the worlds best. My support system will be with me and that’s the icing on the cake. Because win or lose I know that someone will go pig out on junk food with me after the race!