May 2008

“I am only one, but I am still one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something. And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something I can do.” -Helen Keller

Brad Ruggles over at has a wonderful wallpaper for free with this quote right now too. Go check out his work!

So much for my literary endeavor? Haha, it’s there… it’s just not as exciting to write about when I have all this fun training stuff to reflect on and share.

I’ve now completed my first week of training! Wow! This week went by SO quickly and I can hardly believe where I was last week and where I am this week. I’ve had two swim practices, two run practices, and a bike practice.

I’ve learned how to put on a swim cap and purchase proper goggles. I’ve learned proper breathing techniques and Robbie’s coaching system. I learned rotation and rediscovered old muscles in the pool. I swam lengths upon lengths until I lost count. It took a long minute to swim 50 yards, but it’s only the first week.

I’ve learned that warm ups on a track run opposite race/work outs. I’ve learned that layers are amazing and so is sunscreen. I learned that “be prepared” is not just a Girl Scouts motto. I ran several laps at the track and ran a mile in less time than I have since … probably middle school. Didn’t even know I could do that! It’s not a great time (11:53), but I’m proud of it and eager to see where I am when we do the 2 mile time trial halfway through the training. I’m excited to “learn” to run… and hopefully to enjoy it.

I’ve learned how to ride a road bike, but I’ve yet to master it one-handed. I’ve learned how to slip into the cages, but still don’t quite have the take off under pressure. I’ve learned to shift, but am still getting used to which is up and which is down and how in the world to tell when to do it. I’ve learned that bike shorts are AMAZING, but they are not a cure all and bike saddles will NEVER be comfortable. I’ve learned to prep for bumps. I’ve got an idea on how to change a tire and know how to remove my front wheel.

I’ve learned that gradual means I’m not ridiculously sore, but occasionally achy. I’ve learned that my car is pretty much going to be a tri car from now until September. I’ve learned that I still have a knack for the quick change in the car. I’ve learned that all day at work and then long work outs make for a tired me. I’ve learned that these people I’m surrounded by for training are pretty fantastic and I cannot wait to get to know them better.

I’ve learned a lot in the last week. I’ve done a lot in the last week. Now to finish the fundraising letters…

Monday Manners.

Where do I even begin this Monday? Let’s talk Tri-Etiquette as I’m learning more and more everyday.

In a triathlon event, it is not only poor etiquette but also illegal to draft… that is to cluster and get within 7m of another cyclist. It may save you 20% in energy, but it’ll cost you in penalties. Meanwhile, in the open water swim… completely legal to get close to the other swimmers and bank on their work for your energy.

At the pool, there are lanes within the lanes. We don’t want anyone kicked.

Other Non-Mannered Lessons Learned:

Sunscreen is your best friend. Wear it. It doesn’t matter how long you think your workout is going to be, WEAR the sunscreen. Seriously.

Nothing new on race day… train with the theory of specificity.

Be a rocket.

Go with the current.

How to put on a swim cap… and how to choose the right pair of goggles.

Bike shorts feel a little like a diaper or how I imagine a diaper would feel like if I could remember back to the days of diapers.

People will surprise you.

Emails rock… THANK YOU.

“How wonderful it is that nobody needs to wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” Anne Frank

One week into my journey with Team In Training, I still feel overwhelmed by the task ahead of me in fundraising. I’m brainstorming constantly and regularly trying to come up with new ideas, techniques, and events in which I can raise money for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. In the last week, I have seen great generosity, but I still have so far to go. As such, I found myself online looking for motivating quotation about fundraising… to both lift myself and hopefully encourage others to donate. It was through that search that I found these words from Anne Frank.

In many ways, this quote needs no interpretation. Anne finds it to be wonderful that we needn’t wait for the “right” time or a “special” time before we begin to improve the world because we can start doing it right now. Every breath, every action, every tiny step we take makes an impact on the world. Anne shows us that those tiny steps can be the start of improving the world.

“How wonderful it is that nobody needs to wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” Anne Frank

I’ve often found myself wallowing in how big the world’s problems are. I think to myself, “What could I possibly do to help? I’m just one person.” As I reflect on this quote though, I realize how silly it is to become stuck in such a thought process. I realize that I’ve already made an impact on the world around me: tutoring second grade for four years, teaching Sunday school, helping with Cool Club, buying a necklace from Beads For Life, recycling, and so many other things that I do day to day. Yes, signing up for this triathlon was a HUGE step towards improving the world (particularly the world of those personally affected by blood cancers), but such a big thing wasn’t the only way for me to help. Quite truly, many could say that I should have waited to do such a big thing in my life. Wait until my jobs were more stable and my income flow was more conducive to taking time to train. Wait until I had health insurance. Wait until … wait until … I could have come up with a million and one reasons why I shouldn’t do this, but the time is now and I couldn’t wait anymore.

When it comes to society as a greater whole, each person can realize and actualize their potential to improve the world. I’m not telling you that you need to run a marathon or triathlon (although it is a great cause), but I’m simply reminding you that you can make a difference in small ways. For Team In Training, you can donate, educate, and motivate. You can share and inspire. Those things will help me and help those with blood cancers. You can work toward your own cause that YOU are passionate about: write letters, send emails, share stories. Just today, a friend asked me to help her in the fight against Cystic Fibrosis. Only a few weeks ago, another friend went on a bike ride for diabetes. Some serve with their own hands, others contribute in whatever way they can. Find your own way… improve your world. The time is now. We don’t need to wait.

“How wonderful it is that nobody needs to wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” Anne Frank

As I entered the building at the Del Mar Fairgrounds, uncertain about what I was getting myself into, I put on my happy face and embraced the unknown (as I know I’ll do many more times before this journey ends). The moment I walked up, I encountered beautiful people who not only seemed to be genuinely passionate, but who I believe *are* genuinely passionate about Team In Training and LLS. Every person was kind, helpful, and encouraging. Instantly, everything seemed simpler. The encouragement and kindness made all the nagging worries and fears temporarily melt away and all I saw was the big picture. It reminded me of looking for a college as a high school senior.

I knew when I stepped on USD’s campus that that was the place for me. People were kind, helpful, passionate, and enthusiastic. “Do you need help?” “Do you know where you’re going?” “Let me show you…” “Let me introduce you…” Every person was a light shining and pointing towards USD as my school of choice. Each event and person throughout the day left a mark that said, “I want to go here. This is where I belong.”

That’s exactly how I felt when I walked into the Kick Off today. Smiling faces greeted me and showed me where to go. Helpful people began to show me the ropes and answer my questions. Passionate and enthusiastic people made me believe once more that this goal is attainable. Joy radiated from each person I met and life seemed heightened. We were there united for a cause and united in a goal. I can’t even begin to truly put into words what that felt like.

I also met my honored teammate today. Tamela (as she put it: Pamela with a T) was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma. A large tumor grew on her sternum and was detected while she was pregnant with her youngest daughter. She found out her diagnosis after her daughter was born as she did not want to risk her daughter’s health through the methods of detection and testing during pregnancy. Her younger daughter is now 2 ½ and Tamela has been cancer-free for 20 months. What a blessing! Meeting Tamela tonight was amazing and I’m so excited to begin training to honor her. She’ll be at all of our Saturday workouts and I can’t wait to get to know her better and learn more of her story (and hopefully meet her family too!). Her emotion and gratitude left a lump in my throat and I am so proud to have her on my team. I met two of the other honored teammates for other teams as well… one of whom as been free of AML (Acute Myelogenous Leukemia) for nine months and another still battling Multiple Myeloma (the same cancer as my honored teammate). While they’re honored teammates for marathon teams for the Fall Season, they’re both currently training for the Rock N Roll marathon on June 1st here in San Diego… amazing!! I hope I’ll get to see and talk to them more throughout the season, even though they aren’t my specific team’s honored teammates.

I also met my head coach, assistant coach, coordinator, and mentors tonight. I’m already a huge fan of them all. Coach Gurujan even showed me how to take the wheel off my bike so that I can bring my bike to training on Saturday! I hope it’s as easy on my bike as it was on his bike.

We received a brief overview of our training schedule tonight—wow! I’m going to be busy, but it’ll be fantastic. Training starts Saturday, but it’s supposed to be a light workout. We’re also having an expo on proper attire and equipment (so I’m thinking I’ll be making some purchases in the next week or so). One more step on the way to the triathlon… GO TEAM! It’s as simple as that.

Meeting Tamela at the Kick Off

It’s hard to believe another week has passed and that May is well underway now (and May Gray with it!). It’s hard to believe that this is my second Thankful Friday already! Time certainly does fly!!

Keeping with my theme of Team In Training this week (as shall probably be the sole focus of this blog over the next few months), today I am thankful for donations. I’m thankful for the amazing individuals who have already taken the time and given of themselves to help me reach my goal of $4500. It is no small task and I would not be able to do it without them. I understand that not everyone will be able to donate; I have been there. However, it makes those donations which are possible that much more miraculous.

I have so much more to do before September, but I know that with faith and trust… and a lot of hard work and the support of others, I can do this. It is possible.

Meanwhile, I called my grandma today (hi Grandma! if you come and read this) and told her that I signed up to do a triathlon. She laughed, paused, and laughed some more. This continued for possibly five minutes straight. “Your grandpa and I were just talking about your first day of soccer,” she said, “and you had to run from one end of the field to the other… halfway there you decided to go back because you didn’t want to do it.” I assured her that this time I wouldn’t stop halfway; I was only 7 or 8 years old then after all. She told me she was going to start saying the rosary for me because, “you aren’t very athletic.”

She’s not wrong. I danced my entire life, I did cheer, but when it came to “real sports”… well, I wasn’t so into it. I did play a fantastic game of powderpuff football though. The amazing thing about Team In Training though is that I don’t have to be the world’s greatest athlete, I’m going to be partnered up with someone at my level and together we will reach the finish line. I don’t have to be the fastest or the strongest, I just need to have the determination to persevere when the going gets tough. I might not be the most athletic, but just about anyone that knows me can tell you I’m stubborn and strong-willed. I’ve set my mind to completely this triathlon and raising the money I committed to raise, there’s no turning back now.

I was and am thankful for my grandma’s laughter though… and no doubt my grandpa’s laughter when my grandma told him what I was doing. It reminds me that maybe I am a little crazy, but also that it is my passion that is driving me. It also made it that much more meaningful when she told me that she was proud of me. I hope that I can make others proud too… I hope that I can make Courtney, the other angels, and all those that are on this journey NOT by choice proud.

Tonight, I am thankful for the blessing of laughter, the blessing of donations, and the blessing of support.

I cannot do this without you, so thank you.

I’m still having a hard time signing in to make it personal… but you can start donating today!

The link will also be on the side bar throughout my training.

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