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.