My Sun & Ski Challenge- Jillian Despard

When I started my internship with Sun & Ski Sports I was nervous. Who wouldn’t be? Especially when you are the least athletic person in the world surrounded by outdoor enthusiasts. I have always loved the outdoors but shied away from physical activity. An extreme lack of coordination drove me away from bikes and into swimming, which was strangely mostly indoors. So indoors was primarily where I stayed, until now.

This internship allows me to work in the main office as well as out in the stores, which gives me the opportunity to interact with everyone involved in Sun & Ski. I’ve learned that the employees are all truly passionate about outdoor sports and genuinely enjoy partaking in as many activities as they can. Last week I stood back and watched as a group prepared to head off to a full week of bike camp. An entire week of biking! It was while watching this group, with their hands gesturing wild and excited, their feet shifting impatiently back and forth, that I realized I want to be a part of this. I want to love something so much that the thought of an entire week of it gets me so excited even my hands can’t contain themselves.

To be honest, I felt a little embarrassed that I wasn’t involved in any sports or outdoor activities. Here I am, not only working for Sun & Ski but primarily focusing on the BP MS 150, and I can’t remember the last time I rode a bike. Actually, I do but I try to forget it because I nearly flew over the handle bars trying to ride it down the driveway.

So I decided to challenge myself to find that passion and excitement that the employees at Sun & Ski have for outdoor sports. Running, biking, swimming, hiking, I’m going to do it all. No excuses! Okay, except I do live in Houston so winter sports might be a little hard to come by. That is my only excuse, I promise!

Here is my plan: every single day I will either bike, run, swim, or hike. Weather permitting, I will be doing everything outside. Sun & Ski hosts several run and bike clubs each week, and I will participate in as many of those as I can.

My goal here isn’t just to get healthy and become more active, it’s to find the inspiration and passion for the outdoors that my coworkers have discovered. I also want it to be a lasting passion, I want this experience to change my life. This isn’t just for me, I want to inspire others like me. Anyone who wants to find that same passion but doesn’t know how.

On Monday I put my plan into action and let me tell you, starting a daily exercise routine is HARD. The first day was a breeze. Well, as breezy as trying to run after months of being a permanent couch fixture can be. Day 2 was a totally different story. I’m finding that motivation is the hardest thing, I kept trying to convince myself that I deserved a box of Girl Scout cookies for working so hard.

It’s not going to be easy, and I might not always like it but if I’m going to find that passion and drive, I have to push myself. I’ll use this space almost like a diary and I will be 100% honest. If I’m not being honest with myself then I won’t get honest results. So, here goes nothing! If you don’t hear from me for a few days check the bike trails, there is a good chance I fell off somewhere in the bushes.

About the author

Husband, dad, mountain biker, road biker, triathlete and runner. Spent the last 17 years here at Sun & Ski, working for the greatest company on Earth!

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