As I reflect on this past year, I have come to realize that I have become the ultimate slacker with this site. In my defense, this year has been quite a whirlwind of a year. As the year started, I would have never expected to grow both personally and professionally. It has been a bit of an emotional roller coaster, trying to improve myself while still doing what I love and am passionate about. As a fellow triathlete and friend just reminded me, I am good at what I do. I had to question what she meant, but she said it perfectly “Making people feel successful in their training. Motivating. Practicing what you preach. Being empathetic, but not enabling.” Wow, I truly did not know that I made that much of an impact on others, but excited that my strong passion has carried over to others. This quote reflects a professional goal as I continue on this life long journey. And as we all know, no journey is perfect: there are hurdles, bumps, hills, and rocks, but that’s what helps us grow. So I am vowing in 2016, not only to help others, but to focus on ME!
So what have I been up to this past year? Well, I have always been interested in working in a bike shop to learn more about one of my favorite passions and to share that passion with others. Dreams apparently do come true. Late spring, while helping a triathlon client buy a bike, my friend working at the bike shop mentioned that they were looking for a store manager. The wheels (no pun intended) starting spinning in my head. Later that evening, I was emailing the owner of the company who I have known for a long time to inquire about the position. Long story short, the position as Store Manager at a Trek Bicycle Store fell into my lap. The decision was a heavy one, that meant giving up some of my jobs, leaving behind close friends, and just like moving to a new town, starting over a bit. I have spent so many years developing a community at Prairie Life both with the tennis and triathlon, but in the end decided tennis is what I needed to give up. I am fortunate enough to still have the time and opportunity to train my triathlon clients, plus it keeps me connected and active. One thing I vowed to myself by taking this job was to stay in the loop. I love my clients, co-workers, friendships, and the vibe at the gym. No way could I give that up. So now I try to focus on a balance between Trek and Prairie Life. Balance is quite a challenge, but so far so good. Beauty of it all is that by working at a bike shop and working at a gym, everything seems to blend together nicely.
Time for my rant-Men, warning, you may want to shut your eyes and ears. What I have learned by working in a male dominated bike industry is that I starve for my female time now. This was never an issue before, but now that I have to listen to dirty jokes, crude insulting comments, and interact with a male dominant customer base, I need FEMALE power. As a female, I am trying hard to change the dynamic and culture in the bike shop to make it more inviting to females, but this will take time. So for you females that are intimidated by bike shops, I get it. It has never overly bothered me, but understand why chicks do not love the bike shop culture. Between the guy talk, smell of grease, lots of tools, and lots of testosterone, it can be overwhelming. But I promise, men in bike shops don’t bite. Ladies, let’s work as a team to help change the bike shop image and make it just as welcoming to women as it is to men. And ladies, I don’t want to hear excuses about working on bikes. Am I good at it, heck no. But when customers see me wrenching behind the service counter, it’s pretty cool. I have a very limited skill set, each day my goal is to learn something new. Guess my nickname at the gym, Bike Girl actually works.
Triathlon, where does this fall into the equation? I obviously had to juggle a bit, but I still managed to train a kickass group of folks for the 4th annual session to get ready for the 2015 triathlon season. And when I say kickass, that is an understatement. It was a huge year, with lots of energy, motivation, goals, pr’s, and humor. We had a lot of returning folks and a ton of new faces which made for a great group. I am still blown away with what a great group it was and how we were able to train almost 40 folks. There were many new challenges with a lot of beginner swimmers and even novice weight lifters, but no challenge is to tough for us. The best word I can use for this past season is teamwork, both on the coaching side and as a group of individuals coming together. I wish more groups could become something more like this. This picture alone is just a small handful of the folks that raced last season, but wow, such a cool powerful pic!
On a side note, did I race? My race season was mediocre at best because of the work/family balance, but I was able to escape a weekend of Select Baseball and work to do an Olympic Triathlon. Did I train, ehh. Yes I did train, but not to the level I should have. Needless to say, the road trip with a tri client/friend was worth it and it was a great race venue. I ended up doing the Bluff Creek Triathlon in Boone, Iowa in the dead of summer. Triple H: Hot, Humid, Hilly. But doing triathlon can be therapy for me. I love to open water swim, absolutely love to be on my bike, and running, well running is running, good days and bad days. It ended up being a rough day both physically and mentally, but by some unexpected odds, ended up on the podium. I can’t complain for being out of shape, overweight, overworked, and under-trained.
Lesson, we all have to ability to do anything, just never doubt yourself. The sense of accomplishment is SOOOO worth it. And I got the bug from the Olympic distance race enough to peer pressure both my sidekick and some of my fellow clients to do another race at the end of the season. Black Squirrel Sprint Triathlon was a blast. The swim sucked and was chaotic, the bike was awesome, fast, and flat, and I PR’d on the run. Perfect way to end a season; racing decently, bonding with some of my favorite peeps, and gosh darned it, having fun!!!
What have I learned in 2015? More than I would have ever expected! I am almost at a loss for words. It really has been a roller coaster. I have found a new me. I have learned the importance of a strong family support system, my close female friends are vital to my well being, working out is necessary for multiple reasons, my favorite pastime has been carved into my career, I have a new appreciation for music thanks to my employees at the bike shop, and life is too short to dwell on the negatives, find what you love and roll with it. Make life fun and rewarding! Cheers to a fresh start in 2016 and new adventures!