Maggie Rusch

Professional Triathlete

2017: Picking Up Where My Heart Left Off

On March 1st, 2017, I committed myself to a partially-baked version of the “professional triathlete” lifestyle.

While I was embarrassed to tell too many people about the transition, especially given the fact that I accepted a 50% decrease in work hours and severe cut in overall pay, giving up my high-powered six-figure career to pursue the fully-committed pro lifestyle, I knew logically that it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to catapult myself to better results and use of my training time.

In the end, however, it back-fired. Sure, some people are cut out to pursue the fully-committed pro life. However, part of my previous identity circled around the fact that I could do it all.

I could be a top-notch Salesforce consultant and help companies find success.

I could knock out solid race results with only limited preparation and focus.

I could be the best dog mom ever to Lucy.

And yet, when I put all my eggs in the triathlon basket by moving to oh-so-cliche Boulder, cutting back my hours, reducing my paycheck and investing everything in a new coach and training schedule, something radical shifted.

It wasn’t fun anymore.

Instead of squeezing training time into any hour of the day available, I fretted over my schedule and whether my second workout of the day made more sense before or after the afternoon conference call—instead of just getting it done whenever the eye of the hurricane passed over for brief respite.

Last week I submitted a request to HR to move back to a full-time employee, adding significant time to my schedule from the previously luxurious part-time status. While part of me will be sad to say goodbye to the flexibility, the evening foam rolls, the Normatec time, the noon-time naps and the mid-day group rides, I truly know that I will only be a better athlete as a result.

While I may never be a top-ten finisher at Kona, I will certainly be someone who can juggle it all in order to bring the best version of myself to fruition, whether it’s crossing the finish line with jubilation and joy or bringing a multi-million-dollar contract to a successful close.

You can follow other people’s paths, or you can be brave enough follow your own. Common sense says that reducing your daily work hours should lead to more success in the triathlon world. However, common sense does not reign when it comes to the heart and to overall identity. And so today I choose the path that makes the most sense to me and to my heart.

My races the last few months may have been tough, they may not have gone to plan and they may have tested me and my commitment to the sport. However, at the end of the day, they have reminded me that everything happens for a reason—and today’s reason is that I now know that the grass is rarely greener at a second glance, and that sometimes making the most of what you have will serve you far better than what seems to be a more ideal option.

So go out there and make the most of your life—as is—instead of aspiring to someone else’s. Trust yourself and trust your journey… and if you can let go of the outcome, your destination will most certainly come with ease.

 

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