|Have you heard the saying, “It takes a village”?|
Most of the time it’s used in reference to raising children, but here’s the thing…
So much of what we do in life “takes a village”. Many facets of our life take a village to help us grow and become successful. Who’s your village?
For me? My family, friends, bosses, and co-workers are all a part of my village and I’d love to share my story with you. This is a story of passion, persistence, endurance, and self-belief.
|The Freckled Strawberry and Carly are part of my village.|
As a little girl, I recall watching the Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii on television. We only had one television and my sisters absolutely hated that I was so intent on watching this long, “boring” competition that took hours and never seemed to end.
They didn’t understand what I found so interesting about it. Yet here we are, decades later, and I’m competing in triathlons myself.
I’ve never done a full distance Ironman, but I continue to challenge myself and try new distances in the sport. My athletic journey certainly has and continues to “take a village” to accomplish.
|In my first year, I did sprint triathlons.|
I bought a road bike, a training plan, trained with some friends, and we often raced together. My friend Tim had been coaching a group of us on the track through CrossFit Endurance and continued helping me with my running as it pertained to triathlon.
Ambition is part of the program and being shy doesn’t work. I sought out mentors in the triathlon community who helped me flourish. Man, that was fun, and I promise, I didn’t do it alone.
|My second year I wanted to get faster. “Let’s really try to put a dent in the field” I told myself.|
I stuck to the short course but dove into the sport full force. I read books, listened to podcasts, watched videos, attended masters swim classes, rode in group rides with other cyclists, and continued following a training plan.
I expanded upon my community and “village” from my first year in triathlon and took my racing to a whole new level. At the end of the season, I hired a coach. I was curious what that might bring to the table.
Another successful season, but again, it took a village.
|None of my success was mine alone.|
I’m so thankful I have my village!
|My third year, COVID hit. Whelp! Guess I don’t need that coach anymore – no racing means it’s back to base-training for the season. I can coach myself for that.|
Since both of my 70.3 races were deferred, I did a self-supported Half Ironman (70.3) and 2 long distance cycling events – one for me, and one with Laura for her deferred race. No races? No problem. Yep, you guessed it! I did it with the help of my village.
|My fourth year, I did all long course racing that included 3 Half Ironman distance races and a longer sprint distance race.|
Early in the season I decided, hey, maybe I’d enjoy being a coach. I asked some friends if I could analyze their data and help them with their training and racing; they were on board. I had so much knowledge to share with others and really enjoyed digging into the data. I felt I had a lot to bring to the table.
I wanted to contribute to, and become a part of, someone else’s “village”. I wanted to give back while also continuing to grow as an athlete. Both decisions – coaching and racing long course – expanded my wheelhouse even further as an athlete.
|The best part of all, though, was giving back, helping others, and growing together. My friend Laura and I both qualified for World Championships in Utah and Tim had his best Half Ironman race to date. All three of us had achieved our most successful seasons yet! Together, we had become Champions!|
|This year I have made a conscious effort and commitment to immerse myself in my local triathlon community while continuing to learn as much as I can about the sport.|
I’ve made new friends and been inspired by athletes far stronger and faster than I am. Now, I’m coaching some new clients, coaching myself, mentoring others and being mentored myself. (There’s that village thing again.)
I’m challenging myself to try yet another new distance – the Olympic distance – and finding that the more I invest in others, the greater success I have in my own journey as well.
|Isn’t that neat? By becoming a part of other people’s village, my village and athletic identity has also improved!|
By helping others grow and flourish, I am flourishing along with them.
So far (and we’re only halfway through it), this season is my most fun (and successful) season yet. I have taken the focus away from myself and turned it toward others. Watching others become triumphant and experience happiness, brings me so much joy and excitement. It’s also reduced the race-anxiety I used to get. Not a bad deal, eh?
My takeaways for you? The next time you feel pressure, stress, anxiety or overwhelm – turn your focus towards helping your village. When you celebrate a victory or success, just remember, it probably “took a village” to get you there.
Appreciate and be thankful for your village. I know I am!
|Joy Caldwell, Ironman Gold All World Athlete 2021|
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