Note: This is a post by guest contributor Lisa Valentine.
In August 1988, I stumbled upon the sport of triathlon much like you might an interesting read in a bookstore. You go to the bookstore with possible intent but don't know what you're looking for. I had been swimming with a U.S. Masters Swimming group at a local indoor pool, just to keep some level of fitness in my early twenties. In the pool, I was among an athletically-minded set, so the conditions were right...and there I met a guy. A few days later, he took me on a first date (a very-early morning one, at that) to view the 1988 Central Park Triathlon in New York City. I didn't even know what a multi-sport event was at the time or why anyone would need such a thing, but I do know that the minute the action started, I took one awestruck look and thought to myself "THIS is something I must do." The sport of triathlon was in its infancy at the time, the term just beginning to surface in the American lexicon. And while I did have a modicum of lap swimming ability from my school days, did I have what it would take to also race on a bike, and then run afterwards?
Two years earlier, when I graduated from college, I'd begun a communications career that would eventually wend its way into digital marketing, a notion (and college major) that didn't exist before the 1990's. I became well-known and extremely competent in my industry and was commended by clients for my detail-oriented account management skills. And yet I saw a disturbing career pattern: each time I moved up to a new company to advance my career, almost immediately that new position didn't work out for me, for various reasons. It was always the position after that one that was the keeper. Continuing in this way right up to the present day, employment uncertainty became an uncomfortable career routine for me. But triathlon was always there for me in the background, bringing endorphins, camaraderie, challenge, achievement and fun into my life. All the the things I want and expect in my career. Triathlon training and competition has taught me several useful lessons that can be applied to a career in marketing:
I'm so glad I stayed in the race that particular day in 2011: for all of my suffering, I placed 2nd in my age group in my very first Half Ironman! Career adversity and upheaval are not unlike the challenges determined triathletes meet and overcome.
Lisa Valentine is happy to be back at Trepoint. Her race results can be viewed on Athlinks.