A journey is a distance travelled. A successful journey is one that takes a person to a higher place.
I have turned a new page and started a new journey in my life – and it has already brought me to a higher place. A happy place!
I am sitting in my small room in Poway, California, coffee by my side, gazing out the window with views of a clear blue sky and a green garden. A little more tanned, a little more fit than when I got here 6 weeks ago.
Temporarily calling the US my home is definitely not something I would have seen coming a year ago.
And then again, maybe I would.
There is no doubt that throwing myself out of my comfort zone and finding a new environment was an idea that started taking form a long time ago. I just didn't know whereabouts in the world.
You never know where life takes you. But you can definitely try to steer it in the way you want to go!
COMMITTING TO TRIATHLON
I am a girl who likes to seek opportunities. I want to know what's out there. That's why I like traveling. I want to try it all, see it all. People tell me: you're young! You have your whole life in front of you! Yes, I do. But I want to live it now.
Graduating high school I knew deep down that I was going to pursue triathlon. There was never a doubt in my mind. However, at the same time I felt a dozen strings pulling me in different directions. Should I take a bachelor degree in the UK? Australia? Getting the college experience in the US? Backpacking? Volunteering? Engage in politics? NGO?
I wanted it all. I still do. But I know that I can't do everything. And I know that if I want to follow this dream of excelling in triathlon - it's now. Deep down, it's also want I want the most.
And I can’t do it half way – that would not be fair to myself and to the people who invest in me.
The last year especially, international politics, environmental and cultural issues have filled a great deal in my mind. With the slightly crazy events happening world-wide these days - at least from my perspective - running around in my own little triathlon bubble trying to become quicker at moving my body from one place to another can sometimes seem a little off. A little meaningless in the bigger picture.
Trying to justify my decision, I realized that there was no need to.
If I find meaning in swim-bike-run all day, then why not? I cannot save the world by myself, but maybe by committing to a process that makes me very happy, I can become a better version of myself, inspire others through my endeavors in sport, and later in life contribute to the world outside of triathlon.
I have fallen for the lifestyle of triathlon. It's so simple, yet so fulfilling - and being able to combine that with part time studies in International Business and Politics (even though a small part of me sometimes wants to omit the "Business" part), is meaningful to me. it gives me friends for life, amazing memories and travel experiences. I also believe that sport is a strong voice in the world and that it can unite people - something that there is definitely a need for these days.
In the end, however, trying to become the best version of myself and seeing that development is ultimately what keeps the engine going.
THE 24-HOUR JOB
Most of all, committing to triathlon has meant committing to the everyday life of an athlete. That is the part I love the very most.
For many years of my life, like most people, I have woken up to the noise of my alarm clock. The very first thing that would run across my mind was the million things I needed to get done that day, the many places I needed to be, and the amount of bags I needed to carry along the way. This was very stressful at times.
Waking up now, I find myself at peace, being able to enjoy my breakfast while reading the news and chatting to my housemates. The day starts peacefully, and even though training might be hard, I still find myself at peace with my everyday life.
There are of course tough days where things don't go your way. You're tired, grumpy, frustrated. But mostly, all that noise in my mind isn't there. I am better at being here, right now. I have always had a habit of worrying a lot. I am getting better at it, slowly. And my everyday life now helps me do that. I'm living in a bit of a bubble.
However, life is still busy. I have plenty of studying to do, sponsor work, my writing role at pastaparty.dk, and not to forget all the cooking and eating that comes along with training a lot recovering well. And of course, mostly, training.
Being a professional triathlete is a 24-hour job. It’s so important to keep your body in balance in order to be able to handle a high training load. Everything you do affects your performance. I always knew this, but not until now have I really realized how much stress I was under previously, when I was trying to balance so many things in my life. Mostly because I was trying to be a million places throughout the day, but also the mental pressure I put on myself. It highly affected my recovery as an athlete. And I often felt I was doing things half way.
That's not the case anymore. I still have balance, which I find important (!), but I have committed fully to triathlon now by making this move.
INVESTING & BELIEVING
It is no secret that professional triathlon does not make you rich. Even the very best in our sport earn very little compared to many other professional athletes in e.g. soccer, tennis or golf.
Jumping on that plane some weeks back was not only a big personal and emotional investment for me, but also a huge financial investment. It would have been a much safer option for me to stay in my home environment. However, sometimes change is the only right decision. It's like starting a company. You have to invest before you start earning some profits :)
I am making this investment because I believe in myself.
Sometimes, that's not easy. The last race I did was in 2015. I've had some good results, but I haven’t been racing internationally for that long. It is easy to have doubts; to question whether that girl, who was good at triathlon, is still hiding somewhere inside.
I know she is. I believe that if I make the right decisions, fight through the hard times, enjoy the journey, think long term and I am patient, I will be able to be competitive at the highest level in triathlon. Otherwise, I would not be here. It’s no holiday, I can tell you that ;-)
In my opinion, the best careers in sport are those fought through life’s trials, through periods of unhappiness and devastation. You mature, you persevere – and you come out stronger. You make friendships, you share successes with the people who fought with you. All this is what makes the journey worthwhile.
Standing on that top step of the podium is what we’re all fighting for. It’s why we kill ourselves on 8x3 min hills on the bike like I did the other day. That’s why we endure the pain.
But in the end, it’s the lifestyle. Winning is only a small part of if. It’s seeing the development, and trying to better your best everyday. That’s why I committed. That is why I am currently training with a committed, world-class, hard-working group of athletes in California. A change of environment is sometimes a good thing. For me so far, it sure has been.
See you out there on the race course this summer. I don’t know when, I don't where. Yet.
But I will be there!