Tuesday, September 27, 2011

GIVING BACK IN TRIATHLON

Me with two of the athletes that I coached this summer
I recently read an article about 5 important tips for Ironman/triathlon  success. I was surprised to read that # 3 was all about giving back in the sport. Ironman can be a VERY selfish sport. We train long and we train hard and nothing gets in the way of it. This article talked about the importance of taking time to give back by mentoring and/or coaching and it made me think back to this past summer and I was happy to be able to do just that.

In the midst of my own Ironman training, I worked hard to get put a triathlon training program in place at the local Y and thankfully was successful. I began a 12 week coaching program for beginner adult triathletes and this program would lead the athletes into their first triathlon at the end of their training period. I absolutely loved helping these athletes out and we had so much fun along the way. They were all successful at the end of the 12 weeks and they all competed and did great in their first triathlon. They are continuing the triathlon journey and have already begun to pick out more races...this makes me happy :)
Me coaching pool side...where I spend most my days!


Also, this past summer, I decided to tackle something a bit tougher than coaching adults. Coaching children!! I became the swim coach for a swim team earlier in the year and this kept me really busy. I coached over 40 children, all beginners, to compete in swim team. The ages were from 6-18 years old. I am still coaching and we are projected to have over 130 children in our winter swim team.WOW! Being head coach for the swim team is definitely a tough job, but so worth all the hours spent pool on pool deck.
Some of my young swimmers

After the swim team season ended, I decided to take on something even more dear to my heart. I decided that I would teach children about the sport of triathlon and that I would also coach them toward their first triathlon. (Oh, how I wish I would have had triathlon in my life at age 7, 8 or 9!!) So, after lots of planning and work,  I became the triathlon coach for kids summer triathlon camps in 3 different locations. I am so happy that I was able to teach 120 children to swim/bike and run and compete in their very first triathlon this past summer. 120 new triathletes!! I learned so much from these kids...and they each inspired me in their own ways. I had a special child named Jackson who is a leukemia survivor and that boy inspired me so much. Nothing would stop him and he was he fast! He suffered through many years of cancer treatment and has been in remission for a couple of years now. He was probably my biggest inspiration. He worked so hard and always had a smile on his face. ( See pic below)
Jackson-8 year old leukemia survivor & new triathlete

Lots of little triathletes :)
All New Triathletes :)

Looking back over the summer I am very happy that I had the opportunity to give back to the sport that means so much to me.  In the midst of a very hard Ironman training season, I took the time to show others  how to compete in the sport that I so dearly love. I can only hope that each and every one of these children and adults will continue in their triathlon journeys. I know that if they do they will never regret it. I plan to continue coaching and maybe next year I can double these numbers. If the article that I read was right, then I feel proud to have successfully achieved #3....giving back :)




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