If I could explain last weekends DCAC Convention in one word, it would be “eventful.” Although a smaller conference, it is one that is very poignant with remarkable sessions and presenters. With such an array of talent, I felt blessed each day to be there.
My teammate, Natashia Iacovelli, and I had a fatiguing Spinning® Instructor Training on Thursday to start the weekend off. With 52 registrants and what I will define as a very cozy room, Natashia and I persevered. While waiting for arrivals of the day, Natashia and I formed somewhat of a comedian act as she was trying to explain to me in her Australian brogue how to “really” pronounce her last name. I think I’ve finally got it. J Everyone seemed to hunker down pretty quickly so I don’t know if it was Natashia’s catchy accent, sweet demeanor, quick wit, intriguing stories of Australia and Ironman experiences, or they just found us to be funny as we managed to get quite a few chuckles throughout the day. A few new Spinning Instructors stayed for the weekend, which we are always elated to see. Their remarks about the sessions were profound and that always warms my heart. Listening to them, watching them, and noticing the epiphanies always validates why we do what we do.
Despite the heat radiating out of the Spinning room during Josh Taylor’s “Fighter Pilot Ride,” I decided not to ride and save my juice for the weekend so I sat in the back and watched. Living the Navy life for 12 years I could tell Josh did a lot of research on this ride. I felt like I was in this fierce fight merely sitting in a conference chair! Attendee’s burley grit and determination showed rampant in their intent to finish the fight. Immediately after this grand delivery, Josh was off to New York to wow some more enthusiasts.
Admittedly, the stress level finally kicked in the next day needing to be on my game for the first session at 7am, thus, waking up at 5:30am. Filling in for Josh Taylor’s “Drill It” directly thereafter created its own set of anxiety. I knew folks were expecting the icon, poster boy of Spinning®. I’m sure some didn’t stay, but I tried not to take it personally. They were expecting Josh for goodness sakes, but I figured being your self is always the best way to go. All seemed to go well and the session remained full.
There are three gentlemen that I can’t write this blog without mentioning. Naftali Kramish, Events Coordinator, Ben Rippe, Events Manager, and Tony Berlant, Director of Programs. These guys are exceptional at what they do. They are an integral part of the concrete structure of which holds us all together. Witnessing more of what they do enhanced my already present and deep respect for their positions. It’s always a pleasantry to learn more about your teammates and these three are definitely an enjoyment to be around. Hanging with them and Tashy one night at dinner was a refreshing night out. Even though I settled for only vanilla ice cream, good conversation makes any mediocre flavor as vanilla worth the time.
Still on day two, two sessions down and one more to go. I was holding on to an anticipatory feeling with this third session as I’ve never presented it before anywhere, to anyone, at anytime. It was, “Work What You Play.” It’s techniques I’ve been implementing in my locals rides for over a decade now, but I knew it may not be what attendee’s necessarily expected. When the session was done, lights turned up, tears being wiped away, a loud round of applause, and comments about a relief not having to always search for earth-shattering music, I knew my goal was accomplished. They got it. Phewww! Now ready to slip into the last Pilates session of the day where I found Zoey Trapp making everyone laugh, yet remaining professional and educational. It was the perfect medicine for my body, soul, and spine.
Natashia and I were like Yin and Yang throughout the weekend, playing back and forth technical and biomechanical sessions with mind, body, and spirit sessions. Just as an orchestra plays to every type of crowd, I believe Tashy (my new nickname for her) and I made a pertinent team to satisfy attendee’s appetites. When the opportunity presented itself, I took the liberty to sit in on Tashy’s rides and listen to her beautiful coaching as riders soaked in her words of indulgence, yet inflicted punishment on them selves at the same time. It was quite intriguing!
However, an unfortunate chain of events occurred Saturday as I watched an illness wash over Tashy and completely dismantle her to the point of submission by Sunday. She kept her iron girl will and spirit, determined to get through Saturdays sessions without a hitch. I bet no one even knew she was sick. I don’t think I truly realized until Saturday night when I heard her coughing up her lungs and struggling for breath in our hotel room. My heart ached. I wanted to will it away with my mind as a mother does her young child. All I could do was offer assistance.
By Sunday, Tashy finally had to submit to her body and although another 5:30am day for me and a two hour thought provoking session to start, with “Grace of a Pro”, I was happy to cover and help a teammate. I knew she would do the same for me. I know this because Tashy wears her heart on her sleeve and I only wished we had more time to know each other. Filling in was the least I could do except anxiety swept through me once again knowing these folks signed up for a specific session with Tashy who had gained some loyal fans. Surprisingly, there were no verbal complaints and everyone was exceptionally sympathetic as other attendees become struck with the same illness. Unanimously agreeing to ride, “Switching Switchbacks” I think they were all too exhausted at this point to be fastidious about the replacement session anyway.
Finally, now the third session on Sunday, “The Omega 3’s” and last session of the conference, I was becoming scorched with fatigue, but I swear the 3 Musketeers bar I ate with breakfast helped me through. The splendor of it all was these participants had the same vigor and flare as the first day because most had not been to any Spinning sessions yet! They came equipped with the thirst for answers to their questions and fresh legs. Oh my soul I thought to myself. Can I squeeze another drop of cortisol from my adrenal glands for this? Tony was very considerate in checking in with me for the day knowing it would be long and all three…shall I call them the other 3 Musketeers, Ben, Tony, and Naftali were always available for Tashy and I during the conference. I wish we could have done more for them.
Between presenting sessions I decided to flutter about to allow Tashy alone time to rest and was on a quest to learn a new exercise discipline. I found Piloxing®. Yup, I totally drank the cool aid. I was completely smitten by the creator and impressed by the workout. However, nothing ever compares to the knowledge I gain when taking any Peak® Pilates sessions. Zoey Trapp and Connie Borho bring it on every time. It served my body well between hard rides and I swear it’s what keeps my 5’11” height in tact. Thank the heaven and earth for these ladies and the Peak Pilates Team. They are brilliant. If anyone has never attended a Peak Pilates session, get on the band wagon!
Talking with so many people and meeting so many other folks involved with the conference and fitness industry made for a lively and eventful weekend. Most importantly, the opportunity to chat and sit down with participants; some of which I’ve seen in previous trainings and some new, but all the same, talking with them is education in and of it self. I am always that much more humbled when leaving these events. The unwavering support from participants, seeing their light bulb moments, gears turning in their minds and legs, and the camaraderie of teammates make all the long hours of preparation for conferences worth while.