I've told you a lot about Iowa in previous posts so I won't get into it much more...but the short and sweet is that Iowa is a very hospitable place where people work.
They work for a living, they work at building communities, they work at family and church and just about everything they put their minds to.
But the midwest is also struggling with a few issues like we all do. Not quite as bad as parts of the south, but not great like the state of Colorado, Iowa is dealing with health problems linked to obesity. But the kids don't start out that way. Most kids are energetic and they burn calories easily with their energy so the key to keeping them at that state is to help them maintain a level of movement and more importantly the enjoyment that an active lifestyle provides!
I suppose it should come as no surprise, that Iowa is also part of a HUGE health initiative to make it the healthiest state in the country. They may have slipped in recent years... but their work ethic has them yearning to make it better. And so I was headed to Iowa, to do my very small part in instilling excitement in the younger generation to reach that goal, and keep it there.
As I wandered around the halls of my old high school (with a classmate who now works for the school) I was amazed at how much had changed... He told me how now they download notes online - no more frantically copying notes from a day you missed in your notebook... We laughed at how the football players can't load up on "power" slices of pizza in the lunch line anymore, even the library shrunk because all the information is available on computers instead of in books. It was a walk down memory lane for both of us. And an eye opener for sure.
But some things, can't really be improved upon.
As I made my way down the hallway where I spent so many early mornings, dreading that cold water, making my way past the kids I could relate to so well, and into the room where I went from an average kid with an above average amount of energy into an average kid with a focused amount of energy. It was a welcomed sight to see... it was just as I left it.
I didn't even know how to swim when my mom recommended I stick to individual sports :)
I had to ask how far a length of the pool was, and... IM? No clue. ha
And although every year I was sick of eau de chlorine, and couldn't wait to sleep in... every fall I found myself back in that pool eager to give it another whirl, see if I could finally qualify for state.
I never did... :) I got over it.
After some reminiscing with my old coach, a tall and slightly shy, young lady with blonde hair and blue eyes (a lot of scandinavian heritages in Iowa) meekly approached us.
I was told she was a wonderful representation of what the future of Iowa's active generation looks like. To help encourage her continued involvement not only in triathlon, but any active endeavors she pursues we gifted her with a triathlon "outfit" known as a "kit".
Because triathlon isn't a sport supported by most high schools, this young lady had to find a group outside of school to pursue her passion. She also runs on her high school cross country team, and this year, as a freshman, qualified to run at the State Cross Country meet.
We'll have to keep our eyes open... Maybe one day I'll be talking about her on TriCenter... but at the very least, I hope I'll be seeing her as fit and active as she is right now, throughout her entire life :)