It’s 5:30am and Rihanna’s “Only Girl in the World” blasts from the aerobics room at the Findlay YMCA. There’s no sleepy folks in this class. . . Carla Niese makes sure of it!
A single mother of two boys, triathlete, health care provider, charity fundraiser and coach, Carla challenges even veteran athletes at her dawn core fitness class at Findlay’s downtown Y. Juggling a full-time job, school, and motherhood duties, she also teaches Zumba and spinning at Anytime Fitness, another Findlay fitness mainstay.
“After my divorce, I was determined to be independent and make it on my own,” Carla recalls. “I started working part-time at the Y in Ottawa, Ohio, and gradually expanded to teaching fitness classes there.”
Niese went on to earn her license as an LPTA (licensed physical therapy assistant) and currently works for CGA Home Therapies in Findlay. She’s also completed a bachelor’s degree in health care administration and is furiously working on an online master’s degree.
“I guess I want all women to know that if I can do it, they can too,” she adds. “I remember my first triathlon, where I swam in the Findlay Reservoir. My boys were so impressed. They thought I was swimming in the ocean!”
Heroes of all sizes
Carla calls her boys, Tucker and Cody (ages 7 and 8) her “heroes.” “We’ve been through a lot together,” she muses. “They’ve seen me through school, new jobs, and lots of events and competitions.”
As the impetus behind the local Insanity Triathlon Club, Carla is still riding high after her first event in the Jeep Adventure Series 2011. Sponsored by Treadway Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep, the series is Carla’s brainchild and is intended to get Findlay area residents outside and active. The premier event, a ski snowshoe trail run, took place at Riverbend Recreation Area on January 16.
In typical “Carla fashion” she’s planning an even bigger (and more challenging) series event for June 25, 2011. It will include an obstacle course at the Treadway Dealership, biking, canoeing on Shank Lake at Findlay’s Oakwoods Nature Preserve, and a trail run at Litzenberg Memorial Woods. Teams or individuals are invited to participate. “It’s for people who don’t mind getting a little muddy and messy,” she laughs.
Niese has also used Insanity Triathlon Club events as a way to give back to organizations and individuals. She’s donated proceeds from the January ski/snow shoerun to the Hancock Park District, and has held fitness fundraisers for cancer patients.“You have to help somebody,” she states. “Helping cancer patients is a huge interest of mine.”
A certified Level I USAT (triathlon) coach, Carla isn’t content with helping just a few people at a time achieve their health and fitness goals.
Area residents interested in the Insanity Triathlon Club can contact Carla at firstname.lastname@example.org. More info about Findlay’s Jeep Adventure Series is available at www.jeepadventureseries.com