I am going to tell my story and I don't know how long it will take. It doesn't matter. It will take as long as it needs to. What happened isn't something that I can just walk away from. This is my catharsis. It needs to happen. And I hope it is helpful to anyone else who had a similar experience. Because I know you are out there. My message to you- you are not alone. My story is a just a small part of a much bigger scenario. One that has gone on for well over a decade and involves dozens if not hundreds of people, a lot of time and money utterly spent. A lot of hurt feelings and broken hearts.
It all started with a post. A post advertising the need for some new coaches. One male and one female. My old boss wasn't my coach. Let me be crystal clear about that. My coach is someone else - someone who is near and dear to me, someone who knows me well, has been with me through two Ironmans and I have lost count of how many marathons, halfs, and triathlons. Someone who not only knows how to train my body but my mind. I would not be the athlete I am today without his guidance.
I saw the post, and thought, I can do that! Running and multi-sport is my life. Outside of family, running and triathlons are my absolute passion. I feel a kinship with running, almost as if it was an entity or a person. Its a deep, visceral relationship. I love to swim, the freedom I feel in the water. Cycling and I have a more difficult relationship, although I am grateful for it because it is my weakness. A place where I can focus and grow. I hadn't "worked" outside the home since the kids were born. And now that they were in elementary school (at the time I took the job), I felt like I had the time to work, and I was excited about the prospect.
The initial interview was on the phone. I talked to the head of the company, who at the time was working with his wife. I had seen her on-line, heard her voice. I knew I liked her but unfortunately I never had a chance to get to know her. I dealt almost 100% with my boss, including the first phone interview. The deal was this. The company was growing, and they needed help. We were to take on some of the older clients, as well as bring on own new clients. At some point, early on, I specifically remember my boss saying "I'm done. I'm done." He often joked about retiring to some island. He is a smart guy, and it seemed to me that his business was growing and he needed help. There seemed to be a couple other coaches working with him, but I didn't know them going in, and didn't know to what extent they were involved. It turns out that there were, if memory serves, 7 of us hired. We were asked to take the ITCA certification course. It was a busy time. 70.3 training, raising the girls, running the house. I would get up very early each morning and spend 1-2 hours reading the materials, studying, and answering some on-line questions. I felt like the ITCA was very comprehensive, and worth my time. I learned a lot. I will say that I found myself utilizing my old anatomy book often to further my education.
The next step was to travel to a coaches camp. 8 days. I had never left my family for so long. I was grateful to my husband for taking some time off work/working from home so I could go. He has always been supportive of me. I am thankful for him.
I didn't know what to expect at coach training. I figured it would be intense, that we would learn everything we needed to know. And we learned a lot. We were up every day, very early. We ran some, spent a day at the pool, did LT tests, were taught about the importance of getting to know each athlete and their lifestyle. I met most of the other coaches. Four of us stayed with our boss. The other two were local, but by that time they apparently weren't going to do the job anymore. I was not told by my boss specifically why, although I heard a reason or two from someone else. We did meet them, when we spent the entire day working at a booth at a 70. 3 expo that just happened to be taking place when we were there. They both seemed like nice people, although their exchanges with my boss felt awkward.
There were 2 campers there that week. They had signed up for a trail camp. Very nice women and such good sports. They didn't seem upset that there was a coaching camp also going on that week. Thank goodness a local runner who they knew met up with them and took them running a few times. I felt bad that they were brought to the Expo. That's not what they signed up for. Working at the booth was a good learning experience, although a bit stressful for me.. I didn't know ANYTHING about the shoe and had to pick it up really quick, in order to answer any questions people had. Thank goodness one of the other new coaches did know about it and filled us in. Little did I know that this would be the first of many, many situations where were just "thrown in" and left to fend for ourselves, to sink, or to swim.
I have days where I wish I could go back in time, and not see that post. The past two years of my life would have been way less stressful. Stress that caused me friendships, took up my valuable time, and had a secondary affect on my family. But if I didn't see that post, didn't experience all that crazy stuff, I wouldn't be at the place I am now. A new company, a new opportunity. Where my business partner and I are in charge. And we learned everything about what NOT to do. Our mission is to be completely above the board and ethical in every way. Our mission is to provide the best possible coaching for each of our athletes. To see them as the amazing individuals that they are. To help them dig deep, to reach their potential.
Is telling my story ethical? I have asked myself this many times. I will not name any names, or say any places. I will not lie. People that I care about have been hurt. And some of them hurt way worse than me. I only took a small financial hit, but I know other people took a big one. I am going to tell my story.