People 18 October 2018
Sometimes life throws unexpected difficulties at you and you just have to face it head-on. That's exactly what Rachel Brenke did. Brenke is a mother of 5, a cancer survivor, a successful entrepreneur, and an athlete. All at the same time. She has faced difficult adversities in her life but she chose to face those demons.
She focused on positivity and has overcome a great deal because of her positive outlook. Her battles have led her to achieve great health and fitness goals. Brenke was awarded a slot to compete in the IRONMAN World Championship in Kona, Hawaii October 13. All of her adversities have allowed her to be who she is now.
Brenke trains 6 days a week. She gets up early before her kids are up to begin her day. “I do my long runs and biking during the week so I have the weekend for my family," she says. Her training is broken up into 3 days with two training slots consisting of a 100-mile bike ride, followed by an 18-mile run. Being a mother it's hard to find the time, but Brenke makes time doing what she loves, “I maximize my schedule, I put family commitments on my calendar first then training. On some days training has to be done at night but for the most part, it is concrete in my schedule."
Rachel Brenke prepares for the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii.
Thursdays and Fridays are her long training days, Saturday is her rest day and Sunday is her light training day. She says consistency is the key to her training. “Training for an Ironman or any race is a big commitment and requires a lot of focus to do it," Brenke says.
However, training for the Ironman is not the only thing she does, she juggles being a mom, entrepreneur, and athlete. “It has changed my life and has given me a great lifestyle."
"Quit focusing on the numbers. Focus on being remarkable? and the numbers will follow."
Brenke started her journey to entrepreneurship at the age of 20 when she had her oldest son, now 13 years old. She told herself if she made it through she didn't want to be away from him. “I didn't want to work a 9-5 job and stick him in daycare all the time. I also didn't want to be working for someone else. They would be pocketing all the dreams and goals." Though Brenke was in the corporeal world for a while, she didn't enjoy it. She knew it wasn't meant for her, she pulled through it because she knew she had to do it and so, this led to her being her own boss. Now, she has been working for herself for 13 years. Brenke owns a law firm, runs an online website, makes podcasts, and has written a couple books. Because Brenke is her own boss and is busy taking on all her businesses, she said the key to balancing her work is not to balance but to juggle. “For me, it's all about making choices that I want to make, you have to be committed, your family has to be committed, and at times, I'm not able to do it all."
ADVERSITIES & POSITIVITY
Brenke has faced hurdles on her way to success. From her mental battle with deep depression and her fight against cancer to her physical battle with training. Brenke said she overcame her adversities by have a positive mentality. Brenke looks at all these adversities as preparing her for a positive mindset. “ It prepared me for doing something like this, it's all about how much can you take on to stay in a positive light." Brenke believes it's all about focusing on staying positive and being very disciplined. Brenke also tries to find positivity by keeping busy. “I'm somebody that thrives on a busy schedule, but on negative days I just try to be more focused."
Brenke has learned many lessons along the way, be it entrepreneurship or training for the Ironman Championship, she says it all goes hand in hand. “You have an end goal in mind. Developing a plan and trusting that plan. It's easy to give up, especially for me with my training. It's easy to let doubt creep in when you get tired and fear that you're going to fail." Brenke said this is the same worry with entrepreneurship “You just need to tell yourself to focus. This is just temporary emotions, don't make decisions based on this. It's also surrounding yourself with people who will step in to talk you up on these hard times."
Her journey has led her to where she is today. Brenke said it didn't just happen overnight. All in the face of her mental and physical adversities, she has become a successful business owner and has led her to great opportunities. “I have been on this entrepreneurship journey for 13 years now, I didn't set all this up at one time, the same thing for the Ironman, I didn't just decide I'm going to do the Ironman, there is a lot of training and hours and steps that go into the process."
Brenke offers advice to anyone who is wanting to achieve a goal but may be hesitant, “You just have to be yourself, be authentic and just don't be afraid to go for it." Brenke is an example that you can do anything you set your mind to.
“It's all about making a choice and sticking to it, even when you're tired, or you don't want to get out of bed or run another step, you just gotta do it because, in the end, it will all be worth it."
Gender divisions in sports have primarily served to keep women out of what has always been believed to be a male domain. The idea of women participating alongside men has been regarded with contempt under the belief that women were made physically inferior.