Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Evolution and Reflection: My TNT Journey

Inevitably when the New Year holiday rolls around, we take at least one last look over our shoulder and review the past 365 days. I've found myself twisting my neck a little farther back and thinking about all of the time I've lived in LA (6+ years) and how my friends, teammates and participants I've made here have shaped me as a person and a coach.

Scrolling through some pictures, I'm surprised to see just how many people I've gotten to work in the TNT community - particularly in the marathon program. With each go-around hovering around 75 people, and with 12 season under my belt ... discounting repeats, I think I've shaken a fair amount of hands and shared a lot of smiles.

I've always been a planner - there is safety in knowing what's coming up and what's on the to-do list. But had you told me in 2006 - when I graduated college - what my life would like in December 2012, I would have wrote you off as mental. Who knew.

As important as it is to know where you are going, it's also important to remember where you came from, who has traveled the trail with you, and who has changed your life. The folks in these photos, among many, many other people, have made me who I am today.

This has been my TNT path - a big part of my adult life.

San Diego Rock 'n Roll 2007

It started with the Summer '07 season. Marathon bug bites. I'm forever infected with desire to run far and free.

Followed the Winter '07 season...

Running and fundraising allowed me to travel Honolulu for my second marathon. By the numbers, this was my worst race. And physically, this was the most painful one. But I returned to the mainland wiser and stronger and still motivated to chase down another finish line and raise more money for the mission.

Became a TNT mentor in '08

Might as well hit up the other non-contiguous state. I broke 4 hours for the first time at the Mayor's Marathon in Anchorage, AK.

I kept my West Side Team involvement alive by racing the Santa Barbara half marathon the following season (Winter '08-09). No pictures, but a PR that would hold for a couple of years.

The following summer I had my first shot at coaching. And I returned to the San Diego RnR race.

2009 was the year I fell in love with coaching. Wise men say that the things you think about during your free time are what you should be doing with your life, because when you love what you do, it's not work. For me, coaching is never work. It's an expression of love. It's how I "be" and "do" and feel alive.

Unable to kick the TNT addiction, I returned for the winter season in 2009 as an assistant coach

Back to Honolulu! By now, then race had become an annual tradition.

Arizona RnR Marathon in January '10

Track jacket family descends upon the Inspiration Dinner!

Step up to co-head coach the team for the summer '10 season - San Diego, Alaska, Seattle marathons.

I was balancing IM Coeur d'Alene training as well as a 60-hour work week schedule. Little sleep, but unforgettable experiences and lessons.

Big, scary, rewarding leap to solo head coaching for Winter '10 season

We trained for LA Rock 'n Roll, Hawaii and AZ RnR races and completed them all. Forced to step up and lead, and with the help of my assistant coach, Joe, we had a successful season.

At Arizona RnR, Jan '11

Our team had the Top Fundraiser in the Nation. Proud to call her my friend, Lori.

Winter Season '11-'12 - Back to Hawaii!

I took a season off, finally, and then returned to co-coach the group to Santa Barbara Half, Honolulu Full, and Walt Disney World (Half, Full, Goofy) races.

Robert and I at the first leg (half marathon) of the Goofy Challenge

So very memorable to share my love of WDW Marathon weekend with my TNT family.

Summer '12, San Fernando Valley Team

The following season, I took what I felt like was a big risk - I left my home on the West Side and jumped chapters to the San Fernando Valley. It was the best decision I have made in recent memory. The doors that opened for me there, the people I coached and worked with, and the path it led me on (to where I am today) are all irreplaceable.

Life now: an assistant coach on the Ironteam.

9 months, 75 participants, 3 races and 1 goal - find a cure. I haven't left marathon-ing, I've just added two more sports before it! The feeling of belonging here is strong.

I cannot believe so much time has passed since my first season. I've lived so many lives between then and now - many of which I did not expect and some were trial by fire. But all of them have molded me into the coach and friend I am today. And while I, like everyone else, always wants to change things about myself, for the moment I am content and comfortable. And I believe wholly in my heart the best is yet to come.

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