Staff Reflections: 2009: Work Hard, Play Hard

While I’ve always tried to abide by the Door County mantra – work hard, play hard – 2009 seemed to be the year I’d realize what this really means. No, I didn’t make an extra effort to foray into the late-night bar scene, rather I attempted my first triathlon.

As a soccer player most of my life, being a member of a team was always one of my biggest motivating factors. For some silly reason, I was hoping to push myself to the brink of my physical abilities (as I do not consider myself a swimmer, biker or a runner), and I was obligated to no one but myself.

My intention was to participate in the Door County Triathlon; however, upon a Save the Date card arriving for my college roommate’s (and soccer teammate’s) wedding for the same weekend, I realized I couldn’t let her down. The Door County Tri was out, but I wasn’t ready to give up on my whim entirely. I’d already spent a chunk of money on gear and three consecutive Sunday afternoons in a triathlon-specific swim clinic in Green Bay – I was invested.

A few days later, I opened my email to discover the usual menagerie of junk mail, as well as a message that the Trek Women’s Triathlon Series was making a stop in Wisconsin. Crisis averted; I’d head to Pleasant Prairie, Wis. for the triathlon the weekend before the Door County Tri, and then, hopefully, I’d be able to celebrate my accomplishment the following weekend with old friends.

My goals were simple: first and foremost – to finish; for the swim – don’t drown; for the bike – complete the 12-mile course in under 45 minutes; and for the run – no walking.

While the goals were modest, finding the time to train for those goals seemed to be the biggest obstacle to overcome, especially as the hustle and bustle of the summer season took hold. I also discovered that the pressure of deadlines was heightened by the necessity to eat every hour and a half, as my metabolism jumped into action with the eight-week training regimen.

On race-day, I reached each of my goals. I trotted out of the water at 18:47, a grin on my face – I was still alive! I breezed into the transition area on my bike almost 10 minutes under my goal time, and upon crossing the finish line of the run without walking a single step, I was woman number 221 out of 2,551 to finish.

At the wedding the next weekend the triathlon came up; however, it was my renewed sense of pride about this place I call home that seemed to dominate my conversations with old teammates. With each workout, I got a glimpse of the peninsula at a different pace and angle – whether sighting across Eagle Harbor on my chilly swims, pedaling through the backroads of the county at a perfect cadence, or running the trails in Peninsula State Park – and I felt obligated to share this with my friends, hoping they’d come for a visit and experience it for themselves.

So, heading into 2010, my hope is that it is the year I complete (perhaps even compete) in the Door County Triathlon, experiencing all over again the splendor this peninsula has to offer. And, may it also be a year that more people come to play with those of us that are fortunate enough to work here.