Win4Youth 2016 | 2 Weeks Before Ocean Lava
Tracy Rocca—Adecco’s VP of Partnerships— learned in April that she was selected to represent Canada as our Win4Youth ambassador for 2016. Before starting her journey, she had never completed a triathlon and could barely swim. But it was Tracy’s passion, tenacity and commitment to the cause that made her the frontrunner for this year’s ambassadorship.
In just 2 weeks, Tracy and 72 other Adecco ambassadors from across the world will be participating in the Ocean Lava Lanzarote Triathlon in Spain. The event will mark the finale to the 2016 Win4Youth Initiative: a 10-month long journey in which Adecco employees, Associates and clients across the world run, swim and cycle to accumulate mileage towards a collective kilometer goal. Once the goal is met, Adecco makes a substantial donation to various global foundations that support disadvantaged children and their families. This year, we’re jogging, swimming and biking towards an ambitious 3,500,000km goal!
Below are Tracy’s reflections as she gears up for Spain.
It’s hard to believe that in 2 short weeks I will be competing in the big event for which I have been training for over 4 months: the Ocean Lava Triathlon in Lanzarote, Spain.
The last 4 months have been an absolute whirlwind of activity. In addition to my kids, concentrated training schedules and daily life, this is also the busiest time of year in Partnerships, as—for the most part—our clients ramp in Q3 and Q4. Finding the time to fit in intensified training has been challenging as I need to make sure I am available to our onsite clients, support my staff and continue my Win4Youth responsibilities. I’m not sure how, but so far—I’m right on track.
It’s the support I receive from my friends, colleagues and family that keeps me committed to the program. One of my favorite moments throughout this journey was when I first rode my bike on the road and I could hear loud music blasting behind me. As I was trying to stay on my bike, I thought “turn your music down!” Then I heard a familiar voice: “GO MOM GO!” It was my son following me in the car playing the Rocky theme song…Gonna fly now!
After the Belgium training camp and my last post, the other Global ambassadors and I were given a 6 week training schedule (to start). As intensive as it seemed, I was still unsure about how I was going to be truly ready for this huge event in 4 months. Well, I approached it like any large project: breaking it up into baby steps. I started with cycling for an hour, running for 30 minutes, learning to swim—and gradually increased each activity and intensity level.
As my endurance and time has increased over the last 4 months, so has my confidence…for the most part. But I have also had a few dips in the road. There have been some practice triathlons (which I call baby tri’s) that I have entered. The first one was in August. I was so confident going in but after about 5 seconds in the open water, I had a panic attack. However, I was able to lean on my mental training, calmed down and swam the whole thing! I was one of the slowest people that day—based on my doggy paddle and back crawl—but I proudly made it out! The bike and the run were pretty awesome but that swim was my wakeup call. I went the very next day to the Caledon Triathlon Club and chatted—well, pleaded—with their head coach to give me some lessons. It’s funny how the same message stated in a different way can change everything. I now can swim in my new 2,000m “pool” (the quarry in Caledon) at a very leisurely and relaxed pace.
Not only can I swim 2,000m (in just over an hour), but I can also ride my bike on the hills in Caledon for 3 hours or more (and amass 70km in W4Y mileage) and run 10km in just over an hour. That is where training has gotten me today. Every week I take part in about 10–12 hours of training and have added hockey recently as well!
I leave in a week for the journey of a lifetime. Our North American team is 11 people strong and I have become so close to all of them. I am filled with pride at my accomplishments and am overwhelmed by the gratitude that I feel for Adecco in supporting me through all of this. I get goosebumps every time I realized that every single kilometer that my colleagues, clients, Associates and I take gives dollars to our supported charities that provide better lives and opportunities for youth around the world. And that’s what this is all about.
I can’t wait to see all the other ambassadors in Spain and run this amazing race with them…Let’s go Win 4 Youth!
About Adecco’s Win4Youth Initiative:
Now in its seventh year, Win4Youth supports foundations giving children and families in need a better start in life. Since its inception, Win4Youth has raised over $2 million USD for youth charities through sports events organized in more than 60 countries, involving thousands of Adecco employees, Associates and clients around the world. In 2016, we will be swimming, cycling and running to reach the goal of 3,500,000 kilometers. The combined kilometer count will be converted into a donation to 9 foundations, supporting abandoned, orphaned or sick children, helping families from disadvantaged communities and assisting civilian victims of natural disasters, wars and economic collapse. Adecco employees will also be volunteering at the foundations, helping them in daily operations and learning first-hand how Win4Youth supports their work.