Do you every wonder what your favorite former Fleet Feet staff member is now up to? Andrea catches up with past staff members and reports back on their current adventures!
My life has taken quite the turn since leaving the Fleet Feet staff in January 2013. I was invited to live and train at the Olympic Training Center (OTC) as a full time professional triathlete through a program that aims to develop former collegiate runners and swimmers into triathlon Olympic hopefuls. ITU racing (the style of triathlon carried out in the Olympic Games) involves draft legal biking over either the Sprint or Olympic distance, and creates far more explosive and tactical races than Ironman and non-draft ones. Excited to pick up this new sport after finishing a collegiate running career I relocated to Colorado Springs and instead of fitting shoes, committed to an intensive regimen of training and recovery. Along with 5 other new triathletes in the program I spent 25 hours a week swimming, biking, running and strength training with world class facilities and resources; utilized recovery modalities such as NormaTec, massage, OTC Sports Medicine, sleep and nutrition; and managed to have some fun when energy levels permitted. The OTC atmosphere is awesome and truly an athlete's paradise: you are immersed in an environment of excellence and inspiration. Ryan Lochte or Shalane Flanagan could be one table away in the cafeteria at a casual Sunday brunch!
After a few exhausting and exciting months, race season began. Early domestic racing provided valuable experience and in June I was invited to the
USA Triathlon Europe camp (based in Spain). For much of July and August I got a taste of training and racing abroad: I posted three top-20 World Cup finishes and gained a perspective on what it takes to compete and succeed on the highest level. Soon after returning to the OTC I was selected to represent the USA as part of the "under-23" tram at the World Championships in London. That race in September completed my rookie season as a professional.
In November as our offseason began, USAT made the decision to relocate our program to the Phoenix area; the desert is more suitable for winter training and a departure from altitude was desired as we, still developing athletes, progressed. I continue to be largely supported by USAT and now live in a house with other triathletes (sometimes new triathlete Alan Webb comes for a stay!) where responsibilities have increased (from at the OTC) to cooking and cleaning for myself. I still have access to world class resources, from coaching to facilities, and have continued to improve leaps and bounds in training, both physical and mentally. I also have individual sponsors that contribute and allow me to commit fully to my pursuits in triathlon. It takes sacrifice and relentless hard work but to me seems like the best job in the world. I write this from down under in Mooloolaba, Australia where I will soon compete in my first World Cup of 2014!
Follow racing and more on my blog, chelseaburnstri.wordpress.com