Thursday, June 11, 2009

Leadership and announcement tomorrow

When I left racing after last season and decided to concentrate on coaching, I did it for a number of reasons. Some were:

  • Competition getting tougher
  • Travel expenses rising
  • Sponsorships becoming tougher to get
  • Prize money staying the same, or in some cases going down, (XTERRA)
Basically, everything pointed to negative. All of this contributed, but there were other things, like wondering if I had the mental commitment required to continue to race at such a high level. After all, these factors certainly upped the mental ante.

I was starting to look more at the opportunities triathlon was costing me, and not what it was giving me. I left teaching to race professionally, because I loved the sport, not because of money. Somewhere along the line that changed, and I wanted to go back to loving the sport.

I saw so many things the sport needed, which I had a desire to chase and make happen. I came to realize triathlon didn't need another pro-triathlete. What triathlon needed was leadership. Leadership in coaching, teaching, journalism, development, and growing the sport.

Since this realization, I've forged ahead with the same effort and intensity that I brought to my training and racing, near it's peak. Some of these things have been:
  • Coaching a weekly track workout, on Tuesday nights, trying to grow the event, and make it a learning experience for the athletes, not just a hard workout
  • Coaching an open-water swim workout every other Wednesday, because it was clear the community of athletes were lacking race-specific skills
  • Running my first training camp in Tucson, in March
  • Clinics on a variety of skills
  • Giving monthly talks on training topics, at B+L Bikes, on heat training, using GPS and power meters to monitor and track training, swimming, and much more
  • Expanding into other regions of the country to do the same things, (Chicago, Orange County, and soon New Orleans)
  • Coaching and working with elites, like Renata Bucher, to help her make the jump to the top step of the podium this season, (hopefully)
  • Working with celebrities, (Parvati Shallow and Matt Hoover), to bring more attention and new exposure to the sport
This has all been great, and I am happy about the decision I have made, and I think the sport is better for it. I hope to return to racing at some point, but right now, this is what the sport needs from me, and needs me to continue doing.

Last night, at the open-water swim workout, two people from USA Triathlon happen to be walking by, in town for a collegiate conference, and saw what I was doing. They came up and talked with me for bit, and seemed impressed with what I was doing. It was assurance that I am doing the right things, which the sport needs.

So tomorrow, I will announce the next step in this personal mission to be a leader in triathlon, and help raise the profile of the sport. I'm excited, and I think you will be too.



Trevor Glavin said...

I am impressed with what you are doing for individuals and the sport as a whole. I know how much time you are putting into all this and I hope you continue to get the recognition you deserve. Keep it up man! People like you always get rewarded in the end.

Jim Vance said...

Thanks Trevor.

pacadi said...

Hi Jim! I'm a regular at the Tuesday track workout and we have talked a couple of times. Until I read this, I did not know that you actually "paused" racing to do all of these things but I do want to tell you that I admire your courage to follow a new path and your capacity for embracing change. It seems that you are truly fighting the good fight!