So I might as well cut to the chase. The "big change" I alluded to in my previous post involves coaching. Paulo and I are parting ways, and this season I'm looking forward to working with Eric Bean of Fast Forward Triathlon.
I've been coached by Paulo since 2005 when I, after having only done two half IMs, decided it would be cool to go over to Hawaii and race in the Big Dance. Realizing I had no idea what I was getting myself into, I sought council (through the Internet, duh) and was fortunate enough that Paulo agreed to coach me. Less than a month after we started working together, I got a stress reaction and was not allowed to run any of August and September. As we all know, Kona is in the middle October, so although I was cleared to run, I certainly wasnt ready for what would be my longest run ever.
Regardless, I got through the race in a respectable time thanks to Paulo's guidance. It was at this point that I was ready to go from a "runner who does triathlons" to a triathlete.
In 2006, Paulo and I decided that aiming for the newly created 70.3 World Championships would be a good idea. I got better at swimming and biking, and in August had a solid race at Steelhead 70.3, finishing second. My season culminated in November in Clearwater at the 70.3 World Champs, where I was the top amateur (and 12th overall). Needless to say, racing Clearwater was a good decision, and I couldn't have been happier with my performance.
2007 was my first year racing as an Elite and since then I've been focusing on 70.3s, competing in multiple races around the country. All in all I've been pleased with the consistency Paulo's training brought me. However, towards the end of 2010 and through 2011 completing workouts became more and more mentally taxing, likely compounded by frustrating stagnation. This, along with constant nagging injuries, made me take a step back and reevaluate triathlon and, more specifically, my coaching situation. I knew I loved racing, but it was a lot less fun when I wasn't getting faster. I also knew I shouldn't have to hate training. So, I realized it was time for a change.
As a member of the cross country and swim teams at the University of Virginia and the triathlon team at Stanford, Eric has been around some very knowledgeable coaches. I've also had numerous personal conversations with him regarding training, and have full belief in his approach and abilities as a coach. Although I contacted a few other candidates, I ultimately decided he would be a great choice.
I'm certainly incredibly grateful for all I've learned from Paulo and I would still strongly recommend him to Elites looking to pursue the sport as a full time profession, as he really knows his stuff and is passionate about triathlon. But I really enjoy going to work everyday at The Boeing Company where I get to design materials and processing solutions for the Space Launch System. Because of that, I realize I have no reason to be hating life because of triathlon. Certainly training won't always be fun, but the good days should far exceed the bad, and the net sum should be very much tilted to the positive, especially when racing is considered.
With all that having been said, lets bring on 2012!