My coach's company recently mandated that all athletes are now "required" to purchase and wear the uniform which prominently displays his company name and its sponsors. So beginning in 2008, all athletes must wear the company race uniform. Ostensibly, this change is so that we can feel like we are part of a team, but the requirement and mandate felt so heavy-handed and obviously one-sided that I made the extremely difficult decision several hours ago to end my wonderful coaching relationship with Amanda. Amanda has been great and she coached me through a broken ankle and other mishaps to ultimately record a PR in the Carpinteria Triathlon. My time was so significantly better than my best case scenario that I was stunned. She is awesome and did a terrific job.
I do feel terribly about losing my coach, and it's no fault of hers at all. While I do respect the decision of the small business owner to change his policy and require athletes to purchase and wear his company-branded race uniform, I disagree so vigorously with his demanding style and approach to charge his athletes to be his literal billboards on the racecourse, that I can no longer affiliate with his company. Philosophically, and on so many other levels, I just completely disagree with his business approach.
I signed up for a coach, not to be a sponsored athlete; I want to make my own choices about whose gear I wear or whom I decide to represent. And my choice is to represent my great friend Tom. But according to my former coaching company, I would be breaking my contract with them if I were to wear his "TomStrong" gear during a race, and that is completely unacceptable to me. Please see Tom's story and link to the right, in "My Support Team."
Of course, now I have no coach at all, and no real prospects. And so I begin the search to find someone that can help me stay focused through the long months ahead as I work toward my first big test which is the Hawaii Ironman 70.3 Triathlon on May 31, 2008.