My athletic career began playing organized sports – baseball, basketball, soccer, and football. In the small farming community I grew up in, endurance sports were not available, and had they been, I’m not sure I would have turned out. I believe as humans we gravitate towards what we hear, feel, and/or told that we excel at, then minimize our exposure to the “areas of opportunity” that life has to offer. I was guilty of this as well, and followed the path of organized sports vs. being open to running, even though my favorite mode of transportation was running through the fields due to an unfortunate equipment breakdown. Lesson #1 – Embrace both your strengths and areas of opportunity.
Lesson #2 was also learned from my time playing organized sports. I was a kid who was willing to put in extra work, but didn’t know what to do to go above and beyond just attending practice. My coaches would give feedback, such as go to the weight room, lift weights, and work really hard in practice, but fell short of identifying my passions, and guiding me towards a path that leads to reaching my goals and objectives.
My foray into endurance sports began after college, when I thought I was getting fat, and needed to do something about it. How about running? That first run consisted of sweats, sweatshirt, basketball shoes, around the school playground and back. Needless to say, I had a lot to learn.
It was my brother-in-law that introduced me to road cycling, and really wanted me to get a road bike and do this century ride with him called Reach the Beach. I spent many hours at local bike shops asking questions and riding every bike I could from an entry level to the most advanced. That experience taught me about bikes, and equipment, but fell very short of riding skills, and strategy. I did that century ride with very little training and experience, which taught me Lesson #3 – a structured progressive training plan will provide huge benefits!
I always wanted to do a triathlon, but my fear of the water continued to be an obstacle. It wasn’t until watching Ironman Coeur d’ Alene, that I decided it was time to take on this fear, and just do it! I was terrified, but the next week I hired a swim coach, and began lessons learning the fundamentals of swim strokes, and how to overcome my fear of the water. Learning to swim and losing that fear of the water has been what I consider a major accomplishment in my life.
Being a novice, and entering the endurance sports of swim, bike, and run was a blessing in disguise. It required me to do a lot of research, observe what other athletes did well, not so well, and question the methods I was seeing. Lesson #4 – One solution does not fit all, passion comes from within, and continue to perfect the path that works best for you.
After many years of racing recreationally and competitively, I had the opportunity to be an athlete, then a coach, at a USAT Certified Performance Center. It was at this time that I fell in love with coaching, and felt that I could make a difference for others in the pursuit of racing. I became a USAT Certified Coach, with an emphasis in working with Youth and Juniors. I wish, like many others in the multi-sport community, that I found triathlon at a younger age, which is what brought me to the idea of creating Strive.
In four short years, Strive has grown from an idea, to team athletes living in four different states and competing all over the world. We have athletes on our team that race for fun, and others that have the title of National Champion. A few of our athletes are now receiving invites to race at the International Level, and our first athlete has just received a college scholarship in triathlon for the 2018/19 season.