Tuesday, January 07, 2014

What success takes. Pro Triathlete Will Kelsay

Wana know what it takes to be a pro and keep on being one? well the answers here are not what you would expect. they seem more like what your mother might say... except they actuality work and have been working for Will since 2007.   Now don't let all the positive talk fool you, while almost all athletes in Boulder can spot Will's wild blond hair and huge smile a mile away he is smart and tough. I have been told of insane 6500 yard session is the pool finishing with impossible send off times, Mtn bike rides farther than I like to drive and track workouts that would make your hamstrings lock up just hearing about it. 
But whats the real secret? what's the glue that holds everything together? Lets say will has extremely good "Balance". 

Will Kelsay is known for embarking on epic triathlon based adventures. In 2007, he traveled the USA in an old RV for 3 months racing every weekend. In 2011, he circled the entire globe doing 6 races in 6 weeks in 6 different countries. This coming year Will is adding to his list of once in a lifetime adventures by hopping over the pond and spending 5 months zigzagging around Europe to compete in 10 XTERRA off-road triathlons and 1 Ultra Marathon (100k).

1.     What drove you to do this?  
Will:     My career as a professional triathlete and avid adventure seeker all came about after a realization I had late one night in a college computer lab. I had been working away on a school project when a random back spasm threw me from my chair and left me wallowing in pain on the floor. From that day on, I knew that sitting at a desk at a “normal job” was just to painful for me. I continually followed my heart (and my gut) from that point on. If it sounded fun, I perused it. If it sounded… well… not fun, I reminded myself that life was to short to waste. I wanted a career where I was continuously active. Hence, pro triathlete. I wanted to continue to have the amazing memories of traveling that I had as a child. Hence, avid adventure seeker.

2.     What other priorities do you have in life, aside from this? 
Will:     Aside from racing/training, and looking for the next interesting endeavor, I’m continually focused on doing things I enjoy. If there is a job or task at hand that is intriguing and stimulating, I’m focused on that. It’s all about staying passionate about the things you’re doing. At the moment, I’m working for Friction Facts (www.FrictionFacts.com) doing marketing and social media. They are a testing laboratory that analyzes all the rotating components on a bicycle for frictional losses. It may sound geeky, but the engineer/triathlete/geek in me is absolutely loving it. So that is my focus.

3.     What were your goals at the onset of this?
Will:    Every time I have come up with one of my ‘adventures’, I would simply ask myself, what is the first thing that comes to mind? My heart hasn't led me astray yet, so if I keep listening to it, I think I’ll be right on track.  Creating memories and stories that will last a lifetime has been the driving force behind all of this. I often think of the Abraham Lincoln quote “In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.”

4.     What challenges did you face in preparation for this?
Will     The first trip was a total shot in the dark. I was flying by the seat of my pants from start to finish. I literally just made it up as I went along. Complete inexperience was my #1 obstacle. Finances were definitely the 2nd factor in getting all of these things going, but by always staying positive and focused, I have always seemed to find a way. Surprisingly, logistics of the trip have been one of the easiest parts. I have been so passionate and excited about these trips that figuring out the logistics flies by and doesn't even seem like work. Subsequently, each next idea that I come up with gets a little easier to put together (or at least it feels that way).

5.     What were the keys to over coming this challenge? How did you succeed? 
Will:   The number one, ultimate supreme key factor to overcoming all of the challenges that I have faced along the way, has been to stay positive. Always tell yourself that it will work, that you will find a way, that failure is not acceptable, and it has somehow all worked out. I have definitely surprised even myself on many occasions when I use this mentality.

6.     What was it like when you got to the moment? Was it like you imagined?
Will:   At the start of my first two trips, both seemed surreal. I had planned and planned and planned for months, so it has somewhat hard to believe that it was actually happening when I stepped out the door. I think one of the things that made those trips so wonderful is that even though I planned an enormous amount, I left a lot of things open. By allowing myself to step into the unknown and not try to control everything, amazing things started happening. I met so many wonderful new people who had heard of my adventures and wanted to take part. And I was able to take parts in some pretty unexpected experiences by being completely open to whatever happened. It always turned out better than I had expected.
7.     What was an unexpected thing that happened to you in your prep? 
Will:  I had a bit of an epiphany while starting to plan my upcoming European trip – monotony will kill you. My 2013 season was so similar to so many of my previous race seasons (doing mostly races that I had done before, not much new), that I started to lose my normal “spark for life.” I was still doing what I loved, but I didn’t feel as motivated, excited, or passionate about what I was doing. That’s when it really hit me – I have to always be seeking new, challenging, stimulating adventures. Without those new goals, new experiences, and all around thrill of the unknown, life can get pretty boring (even for a pro athlete). I realized that we can all get stuck in a bit of a rut some times, but we have to break free and keep living life to the fullest. Make your years count!  

you can keep with Will and his journeys here: http://www.willkelsay.com/ at his web site. Trust me this will be easier than trying to keep up with him on the trails.