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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A look back on my TNT experience...

This is the first installment of a look back on my TNT experience.  This is the beginning of my journey.  Enjoy the read....and look for the next one coming up in future.

My friend saw me swim for the first time.  She invited me to join her and another friend from the dog-park to join her for a swim at the local pool.  I had to take my sweet puppy boy home, and get my swim gear out (buried in some hole in my closet) and get to the pool, but I said sure.  She didn’t know I was a swimmer.  Surely I didn’t look like I could swim.  I looked like an inactive person who probably didn’t know how to do much.  She offered to bring me googles, but I declined, knowing that I would be able to find my own.  So I went to the pool, and I WOWed them with my swimming skills.  HA!!

After that first swim, my friend and I had a conversation that went something like this:
Her: Hey I think you should do a triathlon, they are sooo much fun.
Me: ahhhh, I don’t think so I can’t run.
Her: But you are an AWESOME swimmer and that is everyone’s hardest part.
Me:  but I just started riding a bike again, the last time was when I was 10.
Her: Triathlons are AWESOME!
Me: ummmmm, yeah, you’ve said, but…
Her: And you can raise money for cancer research too….it’s lot’s of fun with great people and coaches!  You should totally do it!
Me: well, okay…I’ll go check it out.

So in November of 2005 I went to my first TNT information session with my neighbor and friend (not the same friend that convinced me to do this).  I sat in a room with a dozen other people and watched the “join the team” video.  I was hooked.  I’m such a sucker for emotional stuff.  I knew I was going to do that season, and that I was going to be a triathlete. My neighbor and I were on the same team, my original friend who talked me into it was on a different team….although we were all on “The Team”.  I was training for Azalea Festival Sprint Triathlon, my first Triathlon (as it turned out my second), and my friend was training for St. Anthony’s Olympic Distance Triathlon. 

My first season with Team In Training was AMAZING!!  I met some of the most wonderful people, many of who are still in my life.  We were mostly all beginners, maybe not at everything, but at least at something.  I was just learning to ride my bike again and gain endurance (distance), I had to really get my running in gear as well.  Swimming was the only thing that was easy for me, and therefore the only thing that was fun.  It was season of learning, and enjoying the newness of everything. My teammates were encouraging, and my coach was FANTASTIC.  I couldn’t of asked for anything better.  The season progressed, we all got better.  We signed up for Super Sprint as a “warm-up” race.  It was the Hillsborough Super Sprint (250 yd swim, 9 mile bike, and 2 mile run).  It was in March, and it’s cold…and I got passed by a 12 year old on the bike, and I had to struggle through the 2 mile run.  I hated every minute of it, I didn’t enjoy it at all…..but then…then….I crossed the finish line, and I was hooked!  It was the best feeling EVER!  I did it, I pushed through all my fears, and my doubts, and I finished my first triathlon.  It was the BEST feeling EVER!!  (well, almost the best feeling). 

The Team kept training and we traveled down to Wilmington, NC for our “Big Race”.  The swim was in the UNC Wilmington Pool (indoors), the 14 mile bike was on flat smooth roads, and 5 K (3.1 mile) run was through the UNC-W campus.  Because we were all novices, we all started close to each other….at the end of the race.  My swim time netted me a little earlier swim start, but that didn’t gain me much as many people were more proficient on their bikes and at running.  The best moment was at the end, when I had already finished my race and was sitting around with the team.  One teammate was still out there.  She was our cheerleader.  She had never swam before, rode a bike before, or really run before this season of training.  She had gotten through the swim, had made it through the bike, and had started out on her run.  A phone call came in to the coach from this teammates husband (who was running along side her), saying she didn’t think she could make it, that she wanted to quit.  As soon as these words came out of the coaches mouth, 2 of our speedy runner teammates zoomed off to find her.  A little later a couple more people went, and so on and so on, until the entire team was running with this teammate…..(they were announcing the awards, when we all came around the corner and they stopped to have the entire crowd cheer for our teammate)….and she crossed that finish line!  It was such an AMAZING time, our entire team was SO CLOSE!  It felt so good to be part of something SO GREAT!

As a side note Team in Training is a major fundraiser for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.  Each person raises a certain amount (depending on what race and where they were going) of money.  This proved to be fairly easy for me, because I believe the cause, and I’m not afraid to ask people for help and money for the right thing.

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