Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Shawna as a Triathlete...a Self-Assessment

The time has come for me to look for a new coach. It’s much like ending a relationship. It sucks. I know him, he knows me but, I’ve come to the point where it isn’t the best situation for me anymore. When it comes to coach-athlete, it is what’s best for the athlete.
I met Jason at the Nashville RnR Marathon 2012. My first ever, he gave me a great pep talk the morning of.
Did I mention it sucks?
I’ve been with Jason and Fast Forward Multisport for two years. I’ve reached every goal ever set. I’ve stayed injury free (except when I tried parasailing) for 2 years. He took me from my first sprint when I kept tipping over on my bike to Ironman. I ADORE my coach. He was and will always be my first tri-crush.
Acworth Women's Sprint 2013. When I discovered, I don't like sprints.
Recently I have been asked if I would recommend Jason as a coach. I can emphatically and unabashedly say YES! No hesitation, YES! He knows his stuff and he cares. Someone told me the other day you can’t learn how to “give a sh!t” either you do or you don’t. Jason does.

Why am I moving on?

It is the right move for me at this point in my life.  Did I mention it sucks?
I’ve decided I need to do a self-assessment of who I have become as a triathlete before I start talking to other coaches. I need to figure out what I want and need from a coach.
My strengths:

I’m stubborn. I didn’t realize how stubborn I was until I had to start riding long distances. The first time I rode 56 miles was horrible, but I did it. There was a 60 mile ride I did on a saddle I knew was wrong for me but I had no other day to get the ride done. The MAAC Century took me 8 hours to complete, but I did, even after my riding partner dropped around mile 90 and got a ride back with SAG support. I’m a hell of a lot stronger mentally than I have given myself credit for in the past.

I follow directions, even when I don’t want to. I turn down group runs and rides because they aren’t on the schedule. I will go float around Red Top because I can, but that doesn’t happen often. I’ll disagree with a schedule but follow it anyway.
I do my workouts. As assigned. Period.

I like to smile. Really. I truly enjoy this sport and most of the people it has brought into my life. I do feel like I miss out on some things because of training, but I don’t really regret it. I like who I have become since beginning to run and then becoming a triathlete.

I prioritize training.
I’m great at pep talks for others. I can find the silver lining in anything for a friend or fellow athlete.
I am stronger than I think (right Jason?)

My weaknesses:
I’m insecure. I’m insecure about cut off times, speed, hills, what I look like in a tri kit, group workouts, and my cycling.
I don’t willingly challenge myself. If left to my own devices I would get every bit of mileage in, but there would be no speed work, no hill repeats.
I whine. The usual whine this season was before a running workout that involved timed intervals. Me: “But I don’t feel fast this week.” Coach: “You never feel fast.” Workout gets done. Me: “Did you see those splits?” Coach: “Told you so.”

My life is crazy busy (yes yes, so is everyone else’s.) Rigid 9-5 job. Second full time job (or so it seems) mid-February through the end of April. This means all training has to be done before work Monday through Friday and weekends are touch and go regarding availability until lacrosse season is over. Long rides don’t happen till the end of April.

Unassigned characteristics:
I’m a planner. I like to know what’s coming. I can’t fit everything in if I don’t know what I have.

I don’t like surprises.
What (I think) I need from a coach:

Someone to challenge me. I don’t need accountability. I do my workouts. I don’t need someone to call and ask why I’m not uploading data. If something happens I’ll tell on myself. I need someone who will push me to be a better version of me. Note: better version of me is not a podium chaser, I am a realist.
Ego stroking. I’ve been honest with y’all from the beginning, no reason to pull punches now. I have been known to have panic attacks/temper tantrums about new workouts and new races and group workouts (see above regarding insecurities). Sometimes, they are even reasonable. Sometimes it’s completely okay to be told to suck it up but other times, I need someone to tell me it will be okay. As the weather shifted at IMFL 2014 people kept saying, “Suck it up, it’s Ironman.” There came a point when that observation Was.Not.Helpful.

I must have a coach who believes in quality over quantity. I was a doubter when Jason only had me doing one discipline a day with occasional bricks on the weekends and 1-2 rest days a week. It worked and it kept me healthy. I told him before and I’ll say it again…. Jason you were right!
If you are looking for a new coach, mine has a slot available and you won’t regret it. I’m not moving on to greener pastures, I’m just moving on.

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