I think one of the best gifts you can give yourself is to try and live your life with "no regrets". To live life in such a way that you treat people as they should be treated, you love others as they should be loved, and you follow your passions without apology. People who successfully accomplish this and keep their heads about them, are usually people that I greatly admire.
Of course I haven't made it through 32 years of life without some regrets! I've definitely made mistakes, and I'm sure I will make more. But with the concept of "no regrets" in mind, I've decided to race professionally next triathlon season.
I've been looking forward to this for a very long time. Although when I first started into triathlon I had no concept of what "going pro" meant, it didn't take long for me to start to wonder if perhaps I'd ever be able to do such a thing! The idea fascinated me and as I got a little faster each year it was easier and easier to envision myself making the leap. But then at the end of the season each year, it just didn't feel quite right. I would finish a season and start to dream of goals the next year and those goals would almost always center around staying amateur. In 2009 the goal was to finish on the podium at 70.3 Worlds. In 2010 the goal was Kona. In 2011 the goal was to do well at Kona. I kept coming up with excuses to remain an age grouper!
Without a doubt 2011 was a breakthrough year for me. It may not have looked like it from the outside but in my own mind, I made a lot of gains. I set PRs for sure. I was able to compete with people I've never even been close to before. I was able to win a few races. But probably my biggest breakthrough came in training - in being able to handle a much larger work load both physically and mentally and ENJOY it (um...most of the time... :). I got a little peek into what it would take on a day to day basis to compete at a higher level and I realized that I enjoyed that challenge just as much if not more so than the actual racing itself. And that's when racing pro really started to feel right for 2012. I was not just in love with the idea of racing pro like in years past, I was also starting to really love the idea of putting in all that work to see how good I could really be. (and lets make no bones about it, it truly is A LOT of work)
When I started to think of goals for 2012, what REALLY excited me most was the challenge of racing against some of the best women triathletes in the world. How would I measure up? I may not like the answer to that question!!! :) But it's exciting to have the opportunity to at least find that answer and live with no regrets or no "what ifs". I can't tell you how big my smile gets when I think of this! Like I said in this article, we all need something that gets us out of bed each morning to train and this new challenge will undoubtedly serve as excellent motivation for me! Nothing like knowing you will be starting races with Julie Dibens to get thy butt to thy pool to learn how to swim STAT! :)
I reached out to several other pro women who have taken similiar paths and they all provided extremely candid and helpful advice in making the transition, of which I am so thankful for. So after a lot of thought and discussion with Oscar and a (very) long chat with Dirk, who really emphasized some key ideas (like PATIENCE), I've decided to do this thing! I have no idea where this next part of my journey is going to take me but I'm very excited to find out! Here we go!!!!!!!!!!