Rye Y Story Project: Denise

DeniseWe have had a family membership for years; my children were on the swim team. I’ve always liked sports and biking, but not exercising. A friend suggested I try a spin class here and I loved it. Spinning is great – I sweat a lot, like the music and feel like I’m accomplishing something. One day, Diana told me that she thought I’d make a good spin instructor. I got certified and a few months later started teaching just one class. Diana is the best person to work for. She is so responsible; her interaction with members and staff is fabulous.

I love teaching because I like to challenge people and get energized when they respond. It’s fun create a variety of interesting music to motivate people. One class turned into two, into three into four into five. I’m also a LIVESTRONG at the YMCA teacher. Just today a past participant came up and gave me a big hug. She is still getting chemo once a week and is here all the time exercising – really embracing life.

This is the third year I’ve been a volunteer TRIBE coach and now I’m a certified triathlon coach. I focus primarily on swimming and biking, both of which I really enjoy. I’ve coached people who are just learning to swim, even people who were afraid of the water. As part of the training, Sally Braid and I led early morning bike rides at SUNY Purchase. It is so effective to ride right next to the members and talk them through the cycling process – they learn how to shift to get the right equilibrium.

The way the TRIBE members feel when they cross the finish line is a huge high for me. I coached a 75 year-old woman who wanted to do her first triathlon. She was struggling with the swim and her pulmonary doctor didn’t think she could do it. She was so disappointed. But I figured there was a way to get this done. To swim for a short while, take her time, relax as much as she needed. Embrace it. We got her through it. She weathered the waves and completed her first triathlon!

I want to say that it is fun to come to work at the Y because the members are so nice. I love going in to class and joking around with them. You know about them and they know about you – it’s completely unpretentious. You really feel you are helping people, that you are having an impact.