The Road to Nation’s
September 23, 2009
I started a journey four months ago. The journey was initially a personal endeavor to complete a new challenge, but turned into an amazing experience where I met some amazing people while supporting an amazing charity. I would like to share a few highlights and thanks with you in this e-mail.
Spring started innocently enough – I flirted with the idea of buying a road bike and finally took the plunge about six months ago. The receipt is still crisp and filed away in a cabinet. The small aluminum frame and two wheels are more valuable than the engine, metal and plastic that I call a car. I am still in awe of this little fact. I have included a picture – though she has been through a few upgrades since I took the picture including a new saddle, pedals, handlebar set up and a few new gadgets.
To welcome such an instrument of speed into my varied collection of hobbies I decided that I needed a goal and occasion to look forward to using my bike. The Nation’s Triathlon looked like the perfect opportunity. The race was sold out; however, there were open spots if you decided to join Team in Training, a charity for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. I joined Team in Training as soon as possible. I would raise money for the organization in return for training and support during my first triathlon. I understood the responsibility that I was taking on, but perhaps I did not fully appreciate the work that it takes to raise money for charity.
Training & Fundraising
The past four months were challenging in many ways, 5:00 a.m. wake up times became the norm as I headed off for my first work out and often went back to the gym at night for my second workout after work. I started my swim workouts barely able to swim a length of a pool without gasping for air and stopping to take a break. I now swim a mile no questions asked.
There were tough times during training. Our team of athletes traveled across Virginia, D.C. and Maryland every Saturday to meet up at put in between 20 and 30+ miles every weekend, there were hills, many hills, flat tires, jellyfish, and did I mention hills? It was worth every minute and the support of my coaches and teammates was phenomenal. I have included a picture from a Saturday morning practice in MD. I did write to my personal blog as much as I could with training updates. Balancing work, training and fundraising took a majority of my time so my last training entry was probably half way through the training season. Feel free to read a few of the posts below.
When it comes to fundraising – I quite simply could not have done it without the help of an amazing group of people. To donate to charity during these rough economic times is very generous and I would like to express my utmost thanks to everyone that contributed to this cause!
The BIG Day
The Nation’s Triathlon was quite simply one of the coolest experiences I have ever had. I woke up at 4:00 a.m. and headed out to meet my mentor with a friend and take a cab into D.C. to set up my gear at the transition area. We arrived at the transition area (where we left our bikes the previous day) and started to set up our cycling and running gear. I was nervous but shared smiles and laughter with friends before jumping into our wetsuits. We were ready and I was determined to enjoy every minute of what was ahead of me.
The swim pen was certainly something new. More than 4,500 people were together and I was eager to jump into the Potomac. You read that sentence right, I was eager. My wave of 25-29 yr old males was easily more than 100 people and I am sure we were a sight to see because all of us sported bright neon pink swim caps. The air horn sounded and off we went towards the Memorial Bridge. The Potomac was not bad at all! It was a perfect 73.2 degrees, the current was barely existent and contrary to popular opinion did not taste like crap.
The open-water swim is often the scariest thing for many people and I was no exception. It is too easy to think that something can go wrong, but I had a great time and stopped at the Memorial Bridge close to the turn around point to glance around me and say wow. Not many people will ever be able to say they have seen D.C. as I have. I made it back to the swim exit ramp and ran as fast as I could towards my bike in the transition area. The swim took me 44 minutes and I am extremely happy with that time. I know I can improve and will for my next triathlon in May 2010.
Honestly, the bike was a bit of a blur dodging fallen water bottles and watching a wipeout or two.
I spent my time going between 18 & 20 m.p.h up towards Maryland and back. The 25-mile bike ride was a blast and I am thankful I did not get a flat tire! The total ride took me approximately 1 hr 20 minutes.
Running with my bike back into transition was probably one of the most surreal experiences I have had. I had traveled approximately 26 miles, but had a 10k run left. I donned my running shoes, remembered to take my helmet off and took off towards the running course. The course was quick, flat and fast around a place called Hains Point in D.C. With the finish line in sight, I passed friends and coaches towards the finish line and let out a surprised, “WOW” when I crossed the finish line. I was ecstatic when I crossed the finish line after a 1.5K swim, 40K bike and 10K run. I finished my first Olympic distance triathlon in 3 hrs and 25 minutes, WAHOO!
A Memorable Experience
Participating in the Nation’s Triathlon and supporting the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society this summer was quite simply one of the best experiences of my life. I learned a lot about blood cancer and the resources available to families affected by this life-altering disease. Did you know that charitable organizations such as the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society fund a majority of the research to find a cure? I have included a few resources at the end of this e-mail and hope you take a moment to click on a few of them. Even though I questioned the possibility at first, I definitely look forward to signing up again next year. Maybe I can even convince a few of you to join me. To hear the words “you have cancer” is devastating, but a movement exists to ensure that a cure is found and future mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters and friends are not lost to blood cancers in the future.
One person is diagnosed with a blood cancer every four minutes in the U.S., and I am proud to have participated in an event with an organization that gives hope to those families and friends in their moment of need.
I would like to introduce and give a shout out to my team below. I completed the Nation’s Triathlon on Sunday, September 13 with everyone below on a wave of tremendous support. This is one amazing group of people!
Thanks for reading.
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society: http://lls.org/
Facts & Statistics: http://www.leukemia-lymphoma.org/all_page?item_id=12486
Patient Services: http://www.leukemia-lymphoma.org/all_toplevel.adp?item_id=4184
Find and event you want to participate in – Team in Training: http://www.teamintraining.org/