Thursday, July 1, 2010


Maybe I am repeating myself here, but I had a couple of encounters over the last couple of days, which just made me realize all over again in what kind of community I got myself into when picking up the swim-bike-run.

But all of this really started with the Salsa community here in Greenville. You see, as a German transplant, I pretty much isolated myself with other German transplants for the first year of my stay here in the US. There was certainly the convenience factor that supported that behavior, but it also was the whole cultural shock* thing going on that prevented me from reaching beyond my comfort zone for the longest. You may think that cultural shock stuff is just a sorry excuse, but believe me that it is for real and between that and crazy work hours, the thought of meeting new people and maintaining new connections just completely overwhelmed me.

*It is funny to read the wikipedia explanation of "cultural shock" now after so many years and I seriously don't have any problem at all to identify the phases that I went through.

After some degree of adjustment, I felt like spreading my wings a little again and started Salsa dancing. It truely was a blessing in a lot of ways. Not only was that a start for at least a little bit of exercise, but it also led me to meet so many great and amazing people... I also met my husband there. Even though we don't make it out to the club that regularly anymore, we are still in touch with a lot of the people and at least try to attend all the special occasions to reconnect. The Salsa peeps were also a big portion of our wedding receiption and they made sure that the dance floor was properly utelized!

Then in 2008, I started out on my quest to get fit and healthy again and somehow got set on doing a triathlon. Now a couple of years later and two triathlon into the sport and a couple more lined up for the year, I notice every now and then that the benefits of the sport go way beyond the physical and mental aspects... Both Salsa and triathlon have given me such a big network of people that I never thought possible, especially since I started "from scratch" five years ago in a new country, several thousand miles away from home, speaking a different language and having a different culture from what I was used to.

But the tri community doesn't only have a social component, but it's also a lot about sharing training and racing as well as trading knowledge and experiences. Because the truth is, sometimes you just ask yourself: Is this just me? Only to find out in a conversation with a training partner or random fellow cyclist on a trail that others struggle with the same things. I found people in the swim-bike-run of things to share openly what worked for them and what they struggle with. You trade tips and tricks about training, gear and nutrition. You can ask and you will get asked yourself... Give and take!

Most of the time things are not perfect, but it always helps to know that your are part of community and they know exactly what you are talking about.

So long! ;-)

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