On Being Coached…

It’s been over 8 years since I’ve truly been coached. There was a brief period where I hired a friend to help me with workouts to prepare for my first season of triathlon in 2007 but I had no clue what I was doing then and wanted to learn the principles of training. Now I have opinions…plenty of them. My coach has even more opinions along with the experience and knowledge to back them up. The game plan is to trust him and see how my body and motivation responds.

When I swam, I never lacked motivation and dedication. Triathlon has proved an interesting experiment of turning the obsessed perfectionist into somebody who enjoys training and competition. Sometimes this borderlines being lazy if left to my own devices and don’t set up enough training dates. Reflecting on the past few years, my schedule and life has been in a constant flux, which also presents difficulties with training consistently. I’ve moved a total of 8 times in 3 different states since 2008. I’ve been a high school science teacher, swim instructor, administrative assistant to a chiropractor and a medical school, nursing student and finally a night shift ICU nurse all since 2008. I wouldn’t change any of that for the world. I discovered so much about myself as a person and finally found direction in my life and career. Now is a time to relax, grow spiritually, relax, focus on training and my job and find some type of stability.

So far with coaching, my body and spirit feel broken. The Dunedin Sprint Triathlon was embarrassing because my body wouldn’t race, and I love that feeling of racing. And this was only two weeks after starting training! Now, in the middle of the fourth week training under a coach, I still feel like crap but am starting to gain a more positive perspective. The rest of this season will probably feel like a failure in terms of performance but will be full of lessons about my body, natural ability, and will to persevere. Age Group Nationals in August might be miserable but it that’s still two months away which means I will be two months stronger, so who knows.

This post sounds negative but underneath the fatigue and feelings of failure, I am excited. I am excited to see what my body is capable of in triathlon. I’m excited to finally be consistent with training and follow a true training plan. It’s a wonder I pulled a 5:24 last year in my half-Ironman because there was no rhyme or reason to my training.

Besides reaching out to a triathlon coach, I recently contacted an registered dietitian for a consultation about weight issues. I’ve shared with a few friends my frustrations with steadily increasing weight and finally decided to make real changes to my nutrition. Living in San Diego made it incredibly easy to eat right and find a healthy balance with my love of food and training. Moving back to Florida brought challenges that threw that balance off and then we throw working night shift into the mix. I still love healthy food but I also love baking and cooking not-so-healthy food.

Just a few examples…

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Basically, I want to learn how to continue to enjoy food but in a way that lends itself to a healthy weight. My biggest challenge is overeating and indulgences. So I’m looking for somebody to help me with mindful eating so I can be happy with my weight in a bathing suit or while running.  Nobody should feel self-conscious about their weight while running! By mentioning this, it’s important to state that all people have a different weight that makes them comfortable. My point isn’t to offend anybody that has been battling significant weight struggles for the past few years. Weight has always been difficult to discuss among my friends because we all have different histories, weaknesses and metabolisms. It’s a topic I usually avoid for that very reason but here I go writing about it on the internet for all to read.

This should be a difficult and interesting next couple of months as I continue this road of trusting somebody else with my training and learn how to develop a new and healthier “relationship” with food while balancing full-time night shift position and other aspects of life. Does anybody else have recent or recurring struggles they are taking real steps at changing?

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3 Responses to On Being Coached…

  1. Genna says:

    What a great post! I admire your honesty. I would loved to be coached, I think it may Mak elite easier in terms of being accountable. I have had weight issues as well. Gee up with a family obsessed with weight and then having a thyroid disorder doesn’t make it easier. Recently I ballooned up and now finally trying to take it off.
    It is best to be honest with yourself! God job and keep at it 🙂

  2. The level you’re at now, and how you’ve been feeling about training & nutrition, definitely warrants expert help! 🙂 I’m hoping working with Felipe helps take some of the weight off your shoulders for Nationals and other events, too. It’s hard to self-coach.

  3. Mike Wallingford says:

    Although we are not on the same level physically (and age), I have some of the same issues with food. Sometimes I feel as though I deserve to eat what I want after slugging it out through a long hard workout. But then, after the last bite, guilt comes knocking at my door because I feel I’ve just undone everything I worked so hard for. My goal is to consistently look at food as fuel. It’s easy when I know I will be running soon but in the off time I struggle. Also, a recurrent struggle, is I seem to have an affinity for rehab programs. A cardiac rehab 2 years ago and a recent spine rehab for back surgery in January. I am finally back to where I started as far as time and distance prior to my injury. On my way back I had concerns that I would never make it. Now, it weighs heavily on my mind whenever I run. “Just don’t hurt yourself” seems to be my mantra these days. I hope that I can one day be free to run without constantly being so cautious that I take myself out of my race. You have always been an inspiration to me and thank you for allowing me to feed off your thoughts and observations. Good luck with the coach.

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