I'm starting this at 11:46 pm, so by the time I actually post it'll be past midnight and I'll be late again. This is turning out to be rather defeating.
So, there I was at the informational meeting. They show you videos of people doing the various races - marathons (runs and walks), triathlons, century rides. Participants at the finish line. Family members and Honored Heroes. Images of their racing shirts hand-altered to honor their own Heroes and survivors. And the music. And the testimonials. And the cheering - lots and lots of cheering.
I wanted to be part of that.
I needed to be part of that; I'd already convinced myself I was going to do it before even entering the meeting room, but after all this I had to, or my limbs would fall off.
There was a small problem, though. Just a teensy-weensy little inconvenience. (Oh, apart from the fact that I had no athletic background and my idea of "working out" consisted of a 1-hour-a-week tap dance class.)
Of the five or so events Team in Training was doing for that season, only one of the local(ish) events worked with my schedule (I was going to be at my sister's graduation out of state for the others) - and that was a triathlon.
Me coming anywhere near completing a marathon was iffy... a triathlon? Really? What was I smoking?
Running I figured I could do, since it's just fast walking, and I knew I could walk, at least. But biking? I didn't own a bike. (I also had no idea how much road bikes cost... that might have influenced my rash decision had I had that information at the time.) I hadn't been on a bike since high school. And swimming? Oh, please! I could frog-stroke (I believe it's also referred to as "breast stroke," but it's the one where you swim like a frog), but that was it. And, again, when was the last time I'd even been in a pool?
"Oh, don't worry about that," the coach said. "We'll teach you how to swim."
I was so caught up in the moment. I wanted to be one of these people. I wanted to have a medal for finishing my race. I wanted the bragging rights - for finishing the race, and for taking on such a humanitarian deed.
I couldn't not do it. I had psyched myself up too much. I had to sign up for an event.
So I signed up. For the triathlon. Olympic-distance: 1500m swim, 40k bike, 10k run. Yeah.
As a triathlon survivor, I can tell you now that the training and the experience were everything they promised at that meeting and more. They did teach me how to swim - from scratch, because I had never swum freestyle in my life (I'd tried, every now and then, but never succeeded). They taught me how to change a flat on my bike, all by myself. They got me running, consistently, successfully. They trained me for an Olympic-distance triathlon, with no injuries, barely any sore muscles, no pain the day after the triathlon.
Oh, and I raised over $2,600 for cancer research and parient services.
Team in Training is the biggest fundraising branch of the LLS. (Don't quote me on that, but I'm pretty sure that's right - if not the biggest, one of the biggest ways they receive funds.) It's an amazing program - they took someone like me and got me across the finish line in three hours and 43 minutes.
Oh, and helped me raise over $2,600 for cancer research and patient services.
There's really no way to explain the experience of training for an endurace sport event through Team in Training. It's everything the cheesy videos said it was. It's everything the coaches promised they'd do. It's so much more than what I thought I'd be able to do.
Whether you're a seasoned athlete or a complete and total newbie like I was, please consider becoming part of the Team. Or at least making a donation to mine: www.active.com/donate/tntntx/Criss4shay