Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A New Beginning

I need to write this blog post but I have composed and then rewritten it in my head too many times. Now, I don't know where to begin. But here goes...

Today marks the beginning and an end for me. At the risk of sounding cliche and predictable, here's what's going on.

Change can be hard and yet, it is also exciting. The process of deciding to change something is absolutely excrutiating for me. At least when it is this important. We all make decisions every day of our lives but they don't alway knaw at our insides for weeks or even longer before the moment of truth. Before you finally make your move.

It's not that I dislike change. But change is scary. You take away your comfort zone and your safety net. You take away what is stable and familar. You take risks.

The time has come for me to say good bye to my fantastic Coach, Jen Harrison. I love Jen. I love her as a person and as a Coach. I observed Jen for a while before I hired her back in 2008. I knew she would be a perfect fit for me. I was right. She believed in my skills and potential as a triathlete. She never doubted how far I could take things. She gave me an incredible amount of attention and clearly put her heart into my personalized training plans. She talked to me nearly every day about how I was doing on my workouts. The good, the bad, and the ugly. She was honest and straightforward. I worked Hard with Jen. I will work hard no matter what and always have, but Jen's workouts were particularly challenging and new to me. This made me fast. And strong. And very confident. She led me to my first Ironman. I started that race wondering if I could finish and instead, with her coaching and my own hard work, I was the 6th amateur woman to cross the line and 2nd in my age group. I earned a spot in Kona and lived that incredible experience in the fall of 2009. Jen, thank you. You got me there. The next season was filled with successsful short course wins and then topped off with a massive PR in my Marathon run this past January.
Jen and I worked very well together. She understood me as an athlete. She understood how my brain worked during training and racing. She gave me 100% of herself and I gave her 100% back.


Despite all that goodness we achieved together, I have had to do deep soul searching and come to the realization that it's time for something new. It's time for me to be guided with fresh eyes and a different approach. In order to make the gains I feel I can make, I need to do things a bit differently. I know that I can take what I've learned from Jen and move on and grow even more.

I have hired Coach Kurt Perham of Personal Best Multisport Coaching. I have known Kurt since I began racing in Triathlon and he lives only one hour from me. Kurt has watched me race. He has seen me race sprints, Olympic distances during which I crashed hard on my bike and went on finish in the top 5, he has guided me at a training camp and he has shouted advice along the Lake Placid Ironman course. He knows me quite well already. I am not starting from scratch that way. He is intimitely familiar with the race courses I compete on and he is also knows all the people I still need to beat. Kurt will design my training program differently and offer me new advice. He will help me with the pieces to the puzzle that are still missing for me. I am extremely excited to learn from him and to combine all that I know into one solid package.

Saying goodbye to Jen was very very tough for me. I admire her and I will continue to recommend her when asked for advice on coaches. I am very grateful for what she did for me over the past few years. I miss her already as she was part of my life every day since late 2008.

But a new door has opened. The sadness I have in my goodbye to her is squelched a bit by the excitement I have for my new start. At the end of the day, I need to do what is best for myself. At this time, this is the best thing for am secure in this decision and I am fired up to move forward.

I'm walking out the door now for my first workout under Kurt's guidance. Training has taken on a new feel for me and that is exactly what I need as I enter this specific training period for my third Ironman race.


JenniferLeah said...

Best wishes with Kurt! You are lucky to be able to work with two AMAZING coaches-I look forward to seeing just how you will grow as an athlete THIS year!

Beth said...

I know exactly how you feel as I made the same (very tough) choice this past winter. It has nothing to do with the coach though and all the more to do with needing new challenges and change to help you grow. Good luck - I'm sure you'll be amazing!

Ben said...

I need to get coach one yet, and you're already on coach #2. This is a sure sign of growth and preparation for progress. I expect big things for you this year!

donna furse said...

Good for you, I am exploring various options myself and find it very hard to figure out how to say goodbye, that being said change is needed. I would love to know how you went about it, I think closure is really important and leaving on really good terms is also important.

Michelle Simmons said...

Exciting isn't it? Starting with a new coach... awesome! Enjoy the process, Ange. I'm sure Jen will miss you as much as you'll miss her. :)

Kim said...

a bittersweet goodbye! i look forward to hearing all about your big new change!

Mary IronMatron said...

I still miss Jen... :(
But I think this change will give you new perspective and new enthusiasm for your training. xoxoxoxo

Christi said...

Good luck!