Most of us get up at ungodly hours when the majority of the population is still in ‘lala land’. We fit in that early training session, get kids ready for school, give the ‘better half’ their share of love, fight traffic, work all day, fight traffic, do homework with kids, make dinner, clean around house, try make time for the ‘better half’, then often work again and then try get 6-7 hours sleep before it all starts again. Then you get some person that has no concept of training asking how many hours a week you train – you answer proudly: “15 hours a week”. Their response is a blaze – “That’s decent” without them having even the faintest idea of what that would do to their ‘normal’ week. If you are anywhere close to 15 hour weeks you will know what I mean. That time may go up or down depending on what you training for and who is helping you with your training. If it is Lucie Zelenkova and she has a specific target in mind for you then prepare yourself for not only more hours but harder hours – much harder hours than what you ever thought were possible. J. Thanks Lucie – I mean this in the best possible way!
I spent some time with Stuart Marais (SA pro) after my race in Xiamen, China recently and he genuinely was impressed with my result and what time I managed to do being a normal person with a normal job and doing this just because it is ‘fun’ and I love the sport of triathlon. By the way this is not the first time I have had similar comments. Not to boast, but I am lucky enough to know some pretty big names in the sport of triathlon and cycling and I once had Jan Ullrich say to me “das ist nicht schlecht für einer der nichmal ein profi ist” (that is not bad for a non pro). Then some time back I had the privilege of spending a week living and training with Daniel Unger (“The Ungerman” – 2008 ITU World Champ). We both raced the Schliersee Olympic distance race in Germany. Look it up – it was said to be one of the hardest Std distance races in the world. He finished around 30min ahead of me but said to me afterwards that he was impressed with my time. That made me feel pretty special coming from a World Champ and on the day he finished 2nd to Stephan Justus.
Definition of ‘professional’: engaged in a specified activity as one's main paid occupation.
You are a person making ends meet from a family, friends, sport and work perspective. That makes you a PRO!! Go ahead – you deserve it. We all need to appreciate what we give up for this sport and how we manage to ‘find’ time where it would be so much easier to find an excuse instead or to simply just not participate. We chose to do this because we love it for one or other reason: racing, social, health, adrenalin, charity etc.
Take a deep breath and pat yourself on the back for being AMAZING and for choosing this life. Also don’t forget that with every hour you put in you take away from somewhere or someone else. It is the ‘someone else’ that sometimes needs a THANK YOU or just a hug or a bunch of flowers, or whatever it is that makes them feel wanted and appreciated.
Now go out there on your next training session and know that you are doing something that 99.9% of the population cannot or chose not to do.
Keep the passion!