Monday, July 25, 2016

Breaking Up is Hard to Do - A Tribute to Coach

Ironman New Zealand 2011
Since my accident in January I've had a lot of down time in recovery and recuperation and a lot of time to think.

Some would say too much time!

What it's done though is allow me to think about my goals, hopes and aspirations for the future.  10 ironmans down - rudely interrupted while preparing for number 11 - is no mean feat.  But is that all I'm destined for?  Is iron distance racing going to be my sole focus for the next 20 years?

Hell no.

My current goal of 10 Ironman New Zealand finishes (legend status) remains but there are a whole world of challenges out there that excite (and scare) me in the same way my first ironman did.  And with St Pete's support I'm setting my sights on one for 2017.  What is it?  Well that's for another blog post.

This blog entry is all about paying tribute to Coach Dave Dwan and his Team Evolve. And I'm doing that because my new challenge on the horizon meant that I recently made the logical but very difficult decision to break up with Dave as my coach.  The logical side I'll also cover at another time.  Today, though it's all about expressing my thanks and appreciation for Dave and the guidance and support he's provided over the six years we have been working together. The part that made this decision so very difficult.

Ironman World Champs, Kona, 2014
We first met in March 2010.  I was enthusiastic about this desire to give ironman a go but with no idea how to go about it or even if I had the ability to do it.  The idea excited and terrified me in equal measure but Dave took me under his wing and guided me through that first ironman so successfully that I became hooked on the sport and the lifestyle.

Over the next five years St Pete and I built a strong partnership with D and through that I successfully completed another 9 ironman races, including the experience of a lifetime, the world champs in Kona.  A 100% success rate at ironman events is one of my proudest achievements and D had a big hand in that - making sure my body was handling the training load and my head was handling race day highs and lows.

As a coach I couldn't have asked for more - the unwavering support when I had doubts, the willingness to talk and get to the bottom of my biggest fears, Dave didn't just email through a program. He was a sounding board, mentor, cheerleader and friend - qualities that go way past the technical expertise required for the job.

Ironman Western Australia - Busselton, 2015
And finally, his most important contribution - and which ironically has led to my decision to move away for this next project - was to give me the confidence to aim higher and to challenge myself with something bigger.  Without the experience of the last 6 years I would never have considered myself even slightly capable of taking on what I soon hope to.

And for that I'll always appreciate and value the role Dave has played. His baby athlete has grown up, found her wings and is now ready to soar from the nest.

Will I be back?  I don't know. But I do know to never say never, and whatever happens, in Dave's own wise words, life unfolds as it should.

This isn't an end but it is a new beginning.  Thanks D for the part you've played in my journey so far - you've been the best coach an irongirl could have and I wouldn't have changed a thing.