Giving Back

Posted: August 22, 2011 in In Transition, Motivation
Tags: , ,

As my tapering period started this week, I have already begun thinking about the goals I want to set for next season, and not so much my own fitness goals as there will be lots of time to chew those over in off-season, but those more intimate personal goals near and dear to my heart; those things that make this whole crazy triathlon juggernaut worth while.  I’m talking about those opportunities to give a little back, if you will.  A person can’t simply exist on focusing on and setting new PB’s alone. That’s pretty self-centered if you ask me.

Lesson #1: How to put on a swim cap

But where I still want to do well, obviously, I also don’t want to loose myself in the process. After all, one of my personal mantras just happens to be: “Be humble in battle as in life”.  Lord knows I’m going to be spending an insane amount of time running and spinning over the winter months and I’m likely to develop gills by April, but I also want to, hopefully, have some fun in the process; not that spinning indoors for hours on end isn’t fun in and of itself mind you.  NOT!

So one of the goals I hope to accomplish next year would be to encourage my little cousins to compete in and complete their own ‘Try-a-Tri’  event next season.  Figuring between the three of them, they have the makings of a decent relay team as one likes to swim, one likes to bike, and the other is a decent runner.  I have already planted the seed with them (with a weak initial response to say the least) and I will do my best in the coming months to build their interest to actually go through with it.  For me, this would be a real thrill to participate side-by-side in an event such as this.  Furthermore, if we were to set our sights on the Welland event, it would also provide me a decent warm-up for my own Half Iron race the next day.  By that time, the Welland Half Iron event will be my ‘tune-up’ race leading into my big Ironman objective so there is an opportunity here to kill two birds with one stone, so to speak.

Lesson #2: High elbows…well, kinda.

The other fun advantage for me is that I will be able to spend some time with them individually by assisting them through their own ‘training’ regiments.  Last winter, I used their home as an occasional base for my long runs and then enjoyed a nice prepared breakfast when time allowed.  I’d like to continue that tradition with the exception, maybe, of coaxing the runner out with me for a short period (2-3k), before I head out to complete the rest of my own prescribed ‘Sufferfest’ for the day.  I could take the cyclist to the occasional spin class with me to work on her cadence and leg strength (remember, we’re only talking about 10k  here)…and so on and so forth.  Maybe their mother might even consider training with me for her own 10k  event? (nodnodwinkwink)

Lesson #3: Don’t panic.

The biggest challenge with this Relay team, however, will be assisting the swimmer of the team (also the youngest).  Not that she can’t swim mind you, but doggy-paddling around their small backyard pool isn’t the same as completing a straight away 400m…much less in open water.  To this effect, I had the chance this past Saturday to bring her out to experience her first open water swim at the Welland International Flatwater Center  and gauge her skill level to do this.  From learning how to put on a swim cap (safety first!), to keeping your head down while stroking, to being able to keep your breath, it was a fun-filled 13 minutes or so.  Not bad for a first outing.  And although we may have a way to go yet to get her ‘Try-a-Tri’  worthy, it is definitely not impossible and well within her ability  The good news was that she didn’t instantly panic in the open water and end up tossing her cookies dockside.  Winning.

Lesson #4: (above all else) Have fun!

Another personal goal I’d like to set next year is to become more active in the ‘Kids of Steel’ program here locally.  I know there are some members within my Tryforce group who have expressed an interest in setting up such a program here at our local YMCA, and I would love the opportunity to become involved and work with young kids to develop their own interest and skill in this magnificent sport.  As such, this may require me to seek out and develop my own coaching skills via Triathlon Canada’s NCCP (National Coaching Certification Program).  No worries there.  At the very least, I’m interested in regaining my lifeguarding certification in order to teach kids swimming lessons at the YMCA pool.

Similarly, a close friend has also recently mentioned to me that her two daughters Riley, and Madeline may be interested in competing in their own ‘Kids of Steel’  event next summer and may need some assistance in doing so.  Hell, I’d be all over that opportunity like the Bush twins on a six-pack!

‘Operation: Open Water’ is a success!

In the meantime, I’m maintaining my focus on September’s challenge (26 days and counting).  But come October, I will begin seeking out to orchestrate some of these more personal goals during the next year.  After all, if it’s not fun…what the point?

  1. Janet Guembel says:

    KIDS of STEEL…….. AWESOME…… Welland/ Niagara…… we have the ‘safe’ water way- the safe Welland Canal bike trail…… and tons of safe running routes…… WHAT A GOAL!!!!

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