I've enjoyed coaching a smaller group of athletes these past few years, yet still get the same old thrill whenever someone sets a new PR or achieves something they've been working so hard for. By this point in the game, I could really care less if the people I work with are back-of-the-packers or world beaters; at the end of the day, it's the daily commitment to excellence and tenacity out on the race course that I respect the most about the athletes I have the pleasure of working with, not necessarily who generates the most headlines.
That being said, I'm very excited about the progress that one of my up-and-coming stars, Rob Hollinger, is making. Rob and I met about a year and a half ago after I posted a set of race wheels on Craig's List. Rob was fresh out of college at the time and training for his first full season of triathlon. I was happy to sell him the wheel set but also sent him on his way with some advice: Find a coach. About a week later, we began working together.
My time away from racing and full time coaching has provided ample opportunity for reflection. Despite laying low these past five years, members of my crew have won national championships, claimed numerous regional titles, graduated to the pro ranks and even been picked up by Team USA elite development resident programs. And although their accomplishments net me little in the way of "street cred," I have taken just as much pride from the performances of my "non elite" athletes while watching them do things like cross the finish line in their first Ironman, set PRs in training and racing, and accomplish things they at first struggled to do or had failed to achieve.
At the end of the day, helping athletes to achieve their own athletic dreams while immersing myself fully in the world of endurance training and racing as well is what I love to do most. Perhaps it's time to turn this ship around and make some changes in 2017...