It’s almost March… and that means only about a month and half until I head to New Orleans for the 70.3. It will be my first time racing at that venue, so I’m really looking forward to it. It happens to be the weekend after my birthday, so I’m hoping to have good reason to celebrate while I’m there! The first race of reason season always brings with it a lot of anticipation, anxiety, excitement, and, of course, a little bit of pressure to see what the training over the winter months has done and how this race performance stacks up to races last year.
These winter months have been… for lack of a better word, “stressful.” But not for the reasons someone might think a professional athlete stresses about. It had little to do with performance in races, or how well I’m going to represent my sponsors for 2014. It had to do with something much more basic than that. My (real) job.
To make a very long story as short as possible (so I don’t lose people half way through this blog), I started a new job with nursing company that places people in the homes to take care of patients. After being at the job for about 6 weeks, the person’s insurance decided to stop making payments. So, as a result, we were force out of the house until that whole situation got straightened out. Essentially, I was laid off. I was able to get a few hours here and there, but it wasn’t anywhere near enough. I started to panic.
Thankfully, my coaching business and rental property had really started picking up since it was January when this happened. However, I could see that if things didn’t change by the time September rolled around and coaching clients began falling off due to their seasons wrapping up, things would be difficult. With lots of changes going on in the healthcare scene, nursing jobs aren’t as prevalent as they used to be in Louisville. I began thinking about going after a job that wasn’t even related to my nursing degree. It had to be a part-time job because of the coaching clients I had were paying for me to do a good job at looking at their data and giving them workouts that were specifically selected for them. Plus, if I wanted to get to races, a full time mon-fri job would make it very hard to travel the distances required to get to a lot of the big races.
I spent hours submitting applications for anything I could find. Meanwhile, my motivation to train was lacking. I was still doing it, but my heart wasn’t in it.
I found a job posting on-line for a home health job. Part-time! I almost didn’t apply for it because I figured I wouldn’t even get an interview since it said in the description that prior experience was preferred. But I figured I give it a shot… what did I have to lose?
Skipping a lot of unimportant details, after 3 interviews for that job, I was offered the position. It will be a lot more flexible than any other nursing jobs out there that I’m aware of at this point. It fits my needs and desires perfectly. That same week I signed 2 more athletes for my coaching business (and hit the cap of 15 athletes that I set for myself), resigned FCA Endurance as a sponsor for next year, and got an email from USA Triathlon saying that I had been named Pro Rookie of the Year.
After walking through a valley for such a long time, I learned a lot of things that I think God really wanted to me (re)learn:
1. He promises to provide all our needs – God gave us the money we needed to pay the bills and make ends meet while I was laid off with income coming in from self-employed ventures and my wife’s nursing job.
2. God is more concerned about our relationship with him than our comfort – sometimes, the only way we can get back on track with God is by going through a tough season that brings about a lot of growth. If other things take priority in our life, God will do whatever it takes to reclaim that position.
3. All things happen in God’s timing, not ours – I had been offered a job at long term care facility as a PRN RN. It wasn’t anything what I wanted, but I was going to settle on it for the sake of having a job. Thankfully, God had better plans and I was offered the home health job just two days before starting orientation at the long term care facility. Ironically, I got that email from USAT just hours after all this happened. It was like God saying, “now that I’m back on top, you are free to race for my glory again.”
Looking back on all this, I can see why I went through all of this. I learned a lot, and ended up in a much better place than before this whole situation happened.
With all this in mind, it doesn’t change my desire to do well in the sport of triathlon, represent Maverick Multisport and the rest of my sponsors well, or my motivation to push myself to new heights. I believe that I’m supposed to do everything with 100% effort, whether that’s racing, spending time with family/friends, my coaching business, my job, or anything else in life.
So, if you see me at races with the FCA Endurance logo tattooed to my body somewhere, it’s not only a because I’m trying to be an ambassador for them/Christ, but it’s also a reminder to me of why I race and where my abilities come from.