They say if you don’t change you die. The past year has brought many changes for me in many different facets of my life. In one single year (starting from when I turned 29 last May through what is the inevitable closing of the 3rd decade of my life in less than a month) I: got married, started a PhD, joined the coaching staff of TriBy3 and took on many new clients, got a promotion at work (my day job at Columbia), got a new niece, moved twice, and adopted two ADORABLE little furry children with my husband that melt our hearts every single day (except for maybe the days when I’m awoken by one of them chewing on my hair at 4am, which is actually every day but we still love them regardless).

To say that the 2013 triathlon season was successful would be a complete understatement. Thanks to my coach, Greg, and the encouragement and support he and the rest of the TB3 family gives me day in and day out, I was able to accomplish some pretty incredible things this year, many of them beyond my fathoming. In the same year that has brought so many changes (many of them putting significant demands on my time), I was still able to build on the previous success of 2012. In the last 12 months I: podiumed at every single triathlon I entered (most of them as 1st amateur female), clinched the overall win at my first race ever (Lake George Half over Labor Day weekend), PR’d in 3 different distances  (Olympic, Half, and Full; and two in one weekend back to back), broke top-ten over all women for the first time ever, dropped over 11 minutes in my marathon time and qualified by Boston’s men’s standards, ran my longest distance ever (50 miles, North Face Endurance Challenge in May – thanks to my husband who signed me up for it), and returned to Kona for the 2nd year in a row. Also worth and important mention is that I picked up my very first sponsorship from Guru Bicycles, 100% thanks to Greg, which significantly upped my game on the bike leg. No longer could I show up on my “vintage” tri bike from 2003 and not be taken seriously, only to win as the dark horse. The 2013 season brought on a whole new level of competition, and much of the credit is owed to TriBy3.

I could very easily be satisfied with repeating last year’s successes. But that’s not why I compete. I compete to make myself a better athlete, and while it’s certainly fun to do well and win, that’s not the main reason why I do triathlons, nor do I ever want that to be my main motivation for working hard. That’s why this next season in 2014, I’m going to continue to make a few changes to my racing and training. I decided to get my pro card shortly after Kona and have since competed in my first race as a professional triathlete at the Panama 70.3 in February. The decision to go pro was both incredibly difficult and surprisingly easy to make – difficult because of all of the uncertainties and self-doubt that I have about my ability to compete at that level, easy because of the extent to which I know that I have to in order to be faster. Only by comparing yourself to those better, stronger, and faster than you can one improve and so it will be in this next season. I’ve already toed the line with some of the best female triathletes in the world, and it became very obvious very quickly where I stand among them – at the bottom. BUT, now I have my work cut out  for me and I’m way more motivated now to get better than I ever would have been had I been complacent with competing as an amateur. And at the end of the day if my goal for competing is not improvement, then I shouldn’t be competing at all. As a result of getting my butt kicked in Panama, I’m making a few more changes to my training and racing this year. I’m overhauling my race nutrition by switching off of sugary gels and sports drinks to UCAN exclusively. In order to get the most out of UCAN, I’m also completely overhauling my daily nutrition and going grain free. I’ve seen some pretty drastic changes already since February and I hope to see more as the season progresses. I’m going to take recovery more seriously, and the first place is in sleep. I haven’t quite worked out the kinks yet in how I’m going to handle this from the perspective of scheduling, but I know that the one part of training I ignore the most is in my recovery. And last but certainly not least, I’m going to be more honest with my own self-assessment. If I’m tired, I’ll give myself some slack. If I’m dogging it and I know I have another gear but just don’t feel like notching it up, I’m going to remind myself that I can’t get away with that anymore because my new group of competitive “peers” are pushing just that much harder. And that’s exactly why I think 2014 is going to bring even bigger and better things than 2013.