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A Monster Goodbye

Strangely, this has been one of the most difficult posts I have had to write.

I’m not sure why.  Well, yes I am…

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I have decided, for many reasons, not to continue my training with my dear coach and friend… Coach Monster. (And you all breathe a huge sigh of relief because the Monster is still living—-and for a split second, it appeared to be that kind of post. A death. Well, it’s not… but it feels like it.)

None of the reasons are due to his coaching.  In fact, I believe I gave him the classic line, “It’s not you, it’s me.

(For those of you wondering… no, you may not take my place. He’s not taking on any new athletes at this time. And besides, I’m irreplaceable! Waaaaaaa!  Seriously, hear me whine…)

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So I told Coach M before Augusta that I wouldn’t be continuing with his coaching after Augusta.  Then I proceeded to have two of the most detrimental and sabotage-y weeks of my life.

Was it because I didn’t have his accountability? Or did I not want to continue with a coach because I knew I was about to go off the deep end—and I didn’t want him to watch it?  Am I tired?  Am I insane? 

Either way, I am sad.  Yes, it’s my decision, and yet I am sad.  Why? Well, it’s funny.  As I talk about in my book about choosing the right coach, it’s so important to choose wisely…. And Coach Monster was definitely the right coach for me for almost three years.

[If you don’t know about the Monster and what he has carried me through – check out this Dedication Post I wrote before Ironman.]

And my own words — you better like your coach because your coach/athlete relationship is a relationship— it’s so true. He was there in the beginning (much like God of triathlon… In the beginning was the water, and there was a Monster who helped me learn how to swim).

I chatted/emailed/texted with him in some capacity most days, and to just go *poof* of that relationship? Hard. Very hard.

Sometimes I liked him. Sometimes I adored him. Sometimes I wanted to stab him with an ice pick due to the workouts he wrote for me.  And well, mostly I’m sad. 

I received an email from Training Peaks at the end of my training with Coach M:
Your Coach has disconnected himself from your Training Peaks account.”   It was a swift kick in the gut. And I had done it to myself.

I talked with Coach later, and he assured me it was a gut kick to him as well.

I guess we both were just used to each other.  Like a pair of old stinky triathlon shoes. So what next?

Well, as I cry spontaneously only about twice a day now…. I will maybe begin writing my own workouts.  Taking some time to breathe without the pressure of a rigid training plan.  Taking on a half marathon this weekend (something I am sure Coach M would not have recommended so soon after a 70.3, but yet… I do it anyway…)

Also, taking some time to explore some other options with The Swim Bike Mom Army in mind.  I have folks interested in helping me, personally, AND you guys —with some awesome ideas for the future. A tag-team of sorts.  The possibilities are endless.

And that makes me less sad.  (But I’m still sad.)

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I don’t need to re-hash out all the ways the Monster has changed my life.  Of course, you all know.  He’s an incredible coach and citizen of the world. I am honored to have been under his very kind, very compassionate, very gun-show of a wing for almost three years.

Part of me wants to see if I can fly on my own.

Part of me wants to do some different things.

Part of me is terrified to death that I’m going to fall on my face …and there will be no way to recover without him.

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But if that’s true… then I didn’t learn very much from the Monster.

Because he worked so hard and tirelessly to give me the confidence to get this far. He told me to believe, over and over, until I actually began to believe in myself.  That’s what an amazing coach does.  I am so thankful I had the chance to work with him these years.

And like a giant, sweaty baby bird, I’m flapping off clumsily into the distance.  It may not be easy to make this move. In fact, it stings a little (a lot).

But I will go forth …and do my best to make him proud.

An interesting journey…I owe, in great part, to him:

15 Comments

  • Colleen

    October 4, 2013 at 3:40 pm

    He raised an amazing triathlete and I’m sure he’s proud of where he’s taken you. And you will be fine… you were a student of his and will take everyhing he taught you on to the next stage of this journey.

    Reply
  • Karen

    October 4, 2013 at 3:46 pm

    awwww so sad! You will be fine on your own but I am sure it feels like a break up of sorts. Sniff sniff. 🙁 What half are you doing this weekend? I am running the Allstate one on Sunday. Just picked up my number!

    Reply
  • Penny

    October 4, 2013 at 4:38 pm

    A year or so after I started with my personal trainer (in 2006), he told me that I would leave him someday. That I would be strong enough to stand on own two feet, and that he would always be there if I needed him. And, sure enough, 100+ lbs later, I did find my own feet and my own path to running, then triathlons. Occasionally, I’d give him a slightly panicked call or text and with a little poke of encouragement, he’d set me right again and send me on my way. I did call him back into “service” to help me gain strength for this little 140.6 that is happening in, oh, 29 days (!!!). Afterward, I’m sure I’ll let go again because I can handle the maintenance on my own. He’ll always be there though if I need him. I guess all this is just to say that I’ll bet Coach Monster will be there for you, too. Watching you proudly from a slight distance and willing to give you that same little nudge of support on your new journey. There if you ask; otherwise, smiling as he watches you spread the wings that he helped strengthen. The sad and scary moments are usually the ones that bring the greatest joy in the end. Congratulations on finding the path that YOU want to follow and moving forward.

    Reply
  • Brad "IronGoof" Minus

    October 4, 2013 at 4:46 pm

    It is a hard thing to “break-up” with your coach. I will give you a little hint though, it is even harder to coach yourself. I am getting ready for another Ironman next month and this is the first season I am coaching myself, and it feels like it is the first time. Even though I had a good performance in Augusta, so my workouts have been doing their job, I am still very wary if I will be able to complete the Ironman as comfortably as my previous ones. I have athletes of my own whom are very happy with their performances, but yet I am truly feeling he weight of the possibility of being under-trained. I am sure you are going to be great, but just be aware even elite coaches have coaches. I am a huge fan of your blog. You are truly inspiring.

    Reply
  • Karrie Kunich

    October 4, 2013 at 5:12 pm

    It is as though the Network has written off one of the main characters to a show. I am sure you will miss him, as will your fan base. Without him, or someone like him, you may never have hit Submit on that first race.

    Reply
  • Jennifer

    October 4, 2013 at 9:08 pm

    Tears. You are so much braver than I am. I have watched with great envy the relationship between you and your coach. I had my very own “coach monster” and felt the same as you for a couple years. Sadly this last year has not been great. Actually, not even good. Yet I am too much of a chicken to call it quits. You are amazingly strong. Here you are ending a wonderful relationship and I can’t even manage to get up enough courage to end one that is making me miserable.

    Reply
  • Ara

    October 6, 2013 at 2:54 pm

    I know exactly how you feel right now. I used to have THE BEST coach in Utah. He helped me get through my first half Ironman and we had a great relationship. Sadly, I lost my job 3 weeks ago and so that is one expense that had to go. 🙁

    Reply
  • Ruth Price

    October 10, 2013 at 12:05 pm

    Okay this is really weird but I feel like I was just kicked in the stomach. Perhaps I’ve gotten to close to this relationship. I am sad too.

    Big Hug.

    R

    Reply

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