Where Has Little Red Been? A LONG overdue update

Where in the World Has Little Red Been? A LONG overdue update

Well well well…ok ok ok….it’s time.  I can’t avoid it any longer!  This blog must get written!

So – I have sort of gone back and forth with what to write, and honestly, since it has been so long, I feel like picking some random topic probably isn’t really the right thing to do.  I think I’ve got to fill you all in on the last 3 months that I have been MIA from blog-ville and update you on my life. Then maybe I can start being picky about what I write!  So here we go….Wish me luck!

Training

After Kona this year – well actually before Kona…well….actually before Ironman NYC really– I was completely fried.  To say I was burned out was an understatement.  Mentally.  Physically.  Emotionally.  I was done.  I look back at my performance in NY and I am even MORE proud of that result now knowing how I was feeling.

My plan had called for me to race Ironman Arizona in November, but as soon as Kona was through I knew I needed a break.  Last year was such an invigorating, momentous and special time for me, and I was so proud and excited by my accomplishments and gains.  But….I went full force from Jan 1 on at an unsustainable pace.  By the time Kona rolled around I had already fallen flat on my face and was firmly rubbing it in the dirt.  I don’t think Matt or I fully realized where I was until the race was done, but we quickly came to the same conclusion that Kona was to be my last race of the season.

So…the break came.  And I released in every way.  I drank beer and wine.  I stayed up late.  I went out with friends.  I ate whatever I wanted whenever I wanted giving no concern for carbohydrate, protein or fat intake (and believe me…it showed).  I just completely shut down the triathlon side of my life and enjoyed the time off.  It took me 3 weeks before I was ready to even begin contemplating training again…but then 4 weeks into my break…suddenly….I was ready.  The vim, vigor and excitement for the sport I love returned, almost out of thin air, and there I was – ready to go and wanting to get back to work.

Starting in early November I began training again.  The focus – as it has been for the last year – was my swim.  I did some riding and running, but generally pretty limited and all VERY VERY easy.  We put the attention where it belonged.  In the pool.  And….I am so proud to say I have made some great progress.  I made another big step in my swim and am feeling, probably for the first time ever – truly confident that I may actually be able to do this – I might actually be able to get to a point in the swim where I am not the last person, or near last person out of the water in a race.  Wahoo for that!

I also started to grasp concepts that my swim coach, Gerry Rodrigues, speaks so adamantly about.  Concepts like tautness and body alignment in the water.  When Gerry talked about it before I was mystified.  I’d tense my whole body and make it what I thought was “taut”.  What would then ensue was me holding my breath, quickly go into an hypoxic state and promptly return to my wiggly, writhing self, gasping for air as I swerved my way down the pool.  I was a real sight!  But…as I’ve progressed over the last few months it’s suddenly clicked and I’ve been able to start doing it – making myself taut, while remaining relaxed.  Granted, I can’t do it all the time, but I get it now, and its been exciting mentally to be able to start making these connections.

So nowww….here I am in Hawaii for a two week training camp with Matt and the other pros he coaches.  Coming into this camp I was feeling a little bit nervous because the pro group that was showing up are all front pack, amazing-ass, 4th place in the Olympic trials swimmers….like really good.  Over the last few months its been a confidence booster for me to move up and consistently be swimming in Lane 1 back in Cali, but as I prepared for my trip here I knew I would be by far the slowest swimmer in the group, and most likely would be lapped every 100 yards.  Talk about instant ego deflation.  It’s hard to be that bad and consider yourself a pro athlete!  Anyway – the improvements I’ve made have shown through in a big way and its actually been a huge motivator for me to see how much closer I am to everyone versus a year ago – or even 6 months ago at our last camp in California.  Yay for progress!!

Sponsors

I am sure so many of you wonder what we, as full time pro triathletes, do either when we are not training or are in the post-season when we are off all together.  One word:  SPONSORS!  Managing sponsor relationships is actually a job in and of itself.  I would say that in any given week I allocate 10-15 hours towards sponsor communication, relationship building, fulfilling existing sponsor commitments, and working to further progress my brand.  It takes a lot of work.  At the end of the year this time requirement goes up as the focus turns to re-negotiating existing contracts (if they are due), negotiating new contracts, and also going through an annual review to make sure both you and each sponsor are getting what they expect and want from the relationship.  This is such a critical piece of the puzzle and takes a lot of time.  For me – This last bit was a 2-month process post-kona, and I dedicated typically full 8-hour days, 5 days a week to this until my contracts in place and finalized.

When I initially sought out sponsors my goal was to work with companies whose brands I already used and believed in and whom I felt I could truly build a long-term relationships with.  The longevity of my relationships was important to me, and I was excited to work with brands with the same sentiment.  So…with that in mind, I am REALLY so happy to announce that I have partnered again this year with all of my sponsors from 2012 – Saucony, Cervelo, Shimano, Clif Bar, Kask, CycleOps, ISM, GameReady, WIDSIX and Verdict Digital.

PLUS have added two new sponsors – Helen’s Cycles and Aqua Sphere.  Helen’s is THE largest bike shop in southern California and a big supporter of road teams and many of the cycling events that take place in the area.  I’m excited about working with them as one of our main goals is to encourage and empower beginner cyclists and triathletes looking to enter into the sport but wanting more guidance and support than they might otherwise get.  My partnership with Aqua Sphere is equally exciting! This company has made its name by putting an incredible amount of R&D into product development and listening to what consumers need and want.  And I can attest – their products ROCK!  I used their Phantom wetsuit for the first time in Pucon in January as was blown away by the flexibility around the shoulders, the support and structure in the stomach area – it was amazing.

So yay for existing sponsors and new relationships!

Races

This year, I have a few goals – win my first Ironman, podium in 70.3 races, and not just qualify but compete well in Kona.

We learned last year that I need more time to recover between races.  I’d love to be someone who bounces back quickly and can hop right back into training, but I’m not.  I need more rest.  This year we listened and planned accordingly.

We built a season that allows me to complete a full schedule – 4 Ironman races (including Kona) and seven 70.3s.  The key though is allowing adequate time for recovery between races.  That means 2 months between Ironman races and in some cases up to a month between 70.3s.  I started my season early this year at Pucon 70.3 in January (where I placed 2nd!!).  It was a great way to kick off the year and was a perfect prep for my next race – Ironman Melbourne in March.  It will be a hugely competitive race, but I am REALLY excited to go and get in the mix and see where I stand next to some pretty awesome women!

After that look out for me to do some domestic 70.3’s and then get ready for Ironman Austria in June!  It’s going to be a fun year!

Personal

Personally, I’ve had a few changes in my life.  Big changes actually.  To be candid and very upfront, in 2007 I went through a break up that shook me to my core and left me emotionally closed off and completely convinced that not only did I never want to be in another serious relationship, but also that I never wanted to marry.  As a relatively pragmatic person I understood that people go through challenging breakups all the time, but for whatever reason I could not and would not let myself go down that road again.  This sentiment was further compounded by my transition into triathlon and my move out to LA in January 2012.  I had one goal – be successful in triathlon.  I wanted no distraction, least of all, a man in my life.   And then I met James.  He has completely enhanced my life in the most positive ways, opened my eyes (and my heart) to how wonderful being in a relationship can be, and has helped me learn how to have the focus I so desire to be successful at my job, while also maintaining balance in my personal life and letting someone in.  It has been an extremely special time for me, and I believe it is because of him that I have been able to make some very positive changes in my training and overall life balance that will benefit my career going forward.  So….stayed tuned!

So that is the update!  Check back soon!  I need to get on a blog roll!

Until next time.  Don’t dream it.  Be it.

Xxx

Sarah-

 

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