In the world of triathlon, success is often measured not just by the medals won, but also by the impact one makes on the lives of athletes. Michelle Lake’s journey from being a competitive collegiate swimmer to a successful triathlon coach exemplifies the transformative power of sports. With a focus on starting and running her own triathlon coaching business, Michelle’s story is a testament of competitive drive. Her journey is one that can described as a spirit of growth, community, and connection.
Starting in Triathlon: A Competitive Drive Renewed
Michelle Lake’s journey into the world of triathlons began in 2006, driven by her background as a D1 swimmer at the Naval Academy. Leaving behind the world of collegiate swimming left a void in her life, a void that she yearned to fill with competition once again. After a stage of collegiate athletic burnout, she found her way back to structured training when preparing for a fitness competition. It was during this time that she realized the transformative impact of a structured training regimen.
Triathlon: The Unexpected Path
Michelle didn’t consider herself a runner, but her journey took an unexpected turn when she participated in a 5k turkey trot and later joined a sprint triathlon at her gym. Despite her doubts about running, her competitive drive and confidence in her swimming and biking abilities propelled her forward. With a mindset to “just get through the run,” she not only survived but discovered a new passion for triathlons.
A Journey of Endurance and Overcoming
Michelle’s journey wasn’t without its challenges. From leaving traditional schooling to embracing her passion for triathlons, her path was unique. Her determination was put to the test when she suffered a broken collarbone just four weeks before her first 140.6-mile race, Ironman Lake Placid. Undeterred, she swam through the pain and powered through the bike and run portions of the race. This experience taught her invaluable lessons about resilience and her own capacity to overcome obstacles.
Triathlon Coaching: A Natural Transition
After completing several Ironman and 70.3 races with a broken collarbone that has never healed, Michelle’s expertise and experience began to attract attention. This led her to coaching, initially as a part of a team. Although her initial commitment wasn’t 100% focused on coaching, she found herself drawn to the business operations side of the sport.
Fiv3 Racing: Building Community and Impact
Six years into her coaching journey, Michelle became a co-owner of a coaching business. However, her vision wasn’t fully aligned with this arrangement. In 2016, she took a bold step and founded her own coaching business, Fiv3 Racing. Her business was founded on the principles of community, connection, and lifelong relationships. Based in Virginia, her coaching primarily serves local athletes, allowing her to create meaningful connections within her community.
Growth and Adaptation: The Changing Business Landscape
Michelle’s coaching philosophy evolved with the changing times. The pandemic prompted her to reevaluate her approach to coaching and business. Realizing the importance of marketing and proactive business development, she hired a business coach and even contemplated starting a podcast focused on growing coaching businesses. That contemplation will soon be a reality as her podcast is launching in October 2023. Her journey exemplifies the idea that growth and adaptation are key to sustaining success. Both of Michelle’s business involve coach’s tips but are not just a one way street of information.
Changing Lives Through Coaching
For Michelle, coaching is not just about athletic success; it’s about changing lives. Whether it’s the athletes she coaches or the coaches she mentors, her primary goal is to make a positive impact. Her coaching philosophy now emphasizes not only athletic achievements but also holistic well-being, promoting healthy lifestyles and reasonable goal-setting.
End Goals: A Vision for Success
Michelle’s vision for her coaching businesses is clear: for athletes, it’s about fostering a lifetime of sports, happiness, and growth. For coaches, it’s about pursuing a dream career that is both impactful and sustainable. Her journey from a competitive swimmer to a thriving coach highlights the evolution of her goals and priorities.
A Journey of Connection and Growth
Michelle Lake’s journey in triathlon is a story of transformation, community, and growth. Starting as a driven competitor, she navigated challenges, found her passion, and eventually became a successful coach. Through her coaching business, Fiv3 Racing, she has created a community where athletes and coaches alike can connect, grow, and thrive. Her journey underscores the importance of embracing change, fostering relationships, and focusing on holistic well-being in the pursuit of athletic and personal success. As Michelle herself suggests, “Grow who you know,” because it’s through these connections that the most meaningful transformations occur. You can use your competitive drive to not only improve at sport but also in growing your own community. Michelle Lake has proved that.