Going to back to school is never easy. The idea of not having a steady source of income and becoming a full-time student again is nerve-racking! Looking back, I believe it was a great decision, but it is impossible to know what the future has planned for you. All you have to do is trust in your abilities and have a growth mindset. But, what the hell is a growth mindset?
During the first modules in business school, this is all professors would talk about. Honestly, I felt it was waste of time! I was there to learn about business, not have someone tell me how to live my life! Boy was I wrong. Knowing how to adapt, and embrace change is probably the single most important lesson I ever learned during the MBA.
This past year, as with every year in my life apparently, has been a roller coaster to say the least. New job, more travel than ever, and a crazy dream of qualifying to the 2018 Ironman 70.3 World Championship in South Africa.
So how do you make it to the Worlds while having a full time job and keeping your wife happy?
1. Make sure you have the right support: For me this meant making some hard decisions in the middle of the season. After a not-so-good race in April, I knew my coaching needed to take a next step. I have been training and racing for six years, so this decision didn't come easy. But in the theme of having a growth-mindset, and the help of a very good friend, Marko Pandzic, I embraced a new coach and new training: Inaki de la Parra and Way2Champ. I must say, no regrets! Inaki is not only a great coach, but a mentor and I dare say, friend. From day one he knew what needed to change (based on my training history), and we got to work right away. While volume increased (So. Much. Swimming!), we kept a close eye on body freshness and fatigue.
A word of caution here. Before making any major changes, make sure everyone around you is on the same page. For me this was easy. I have an incredibly supportive wife, caring co-workers, and a cat who, honestly, doesn't really care about anything...
2. Listen to your body: Endurance training entails long hours of training. Some are hard and most are not, either way, you are putting your body under a lot of stress. This is why listening to your body is key. However, how we feel is not always a good indicator of how our body is reacting to training. My coach recommended I use HRV4Training in order to prevent over-training while increasing work loads and planning the right strategy for each workout and event. Seeing that I'm a bit of a data freak, this was a real game changer! In a nutshell, this app measures your heart rate variability and analyzes your trends. These trends, plus training and physiological data give you an HRV score. Though the score itself is not as important, the trends show how well you are coping with training (they have an awesome blog HERE). Train hard, but more importantly, train smart!
3. Choose the right race: I chose to race Santa Cruz 70.3 again this year. Don't get me wrong. I'm always in search for a new challenge, and visiting new venues. However, my goal was trying to qualify to the World Championship, so attention to detail was key. Knowing things like the venue, the course, and the weather definitely gave me an advantage. Living relatively close was also an advantage. I practiced the course many times, memorized every curve and studied every uphill and downhill. Race day will always give you surprises (such as a shortened swim), but come race day, all I had to do was go through the motions with minimized stress.
4. Commit: At the end of the day it all comes down to the following question: How bad do you want it? I know that I got lucky this time (finished 6th in my category and qualified through the roll-down), but I knew that whichever the outcome, I would not give up until I accomplished my goal. This commitment meant cramming workouts in an already busy schedule, sacrificing social events, and being under constant stress. But at the end of the day it was totally worth it... as long as I felt I was not neglecting my relationship. You see, as much as I love the sport of triathlon, my wife will always be above all. Commit to the process, but always keep your priorities in the right direction.
I want to give a big shout out to Palo Alto Bicycles for always keeping my bike in top condition, Hammer Nutrition for always providing the best performance nutrition, Rudy Project and Speed Hound for the awesome triathlon focused products!
So, long story short, how do you make it to the Worlds while having a full time job and keeping your wife happy? With A LOT of help and a little bit of luck!