Monday, May 4, 2009
Tri'ing in Miami with Team in Training
Well...they did it!! Each and every one of my teammates with the Central Florida Chapter of Team in Training completed the Tri Miami Olympic or Sprint Distance Triathlon on Sunday, May 3rd. I couldn't be more excited or proud of everyone as they battled their own obstacles to get to the start line! But wait..more on that later..Im getting ahead of myself.
This race was a fun race for me since my Half Ironman is less than a week away but for most of these athletes, this was their mountain to climb!! There were lots of smiles and lots of nerves as we gathered in the lobby at 4am (yes..you read that right...) to get our bikes, gear and cars to the Crandon Park on Key Biscayne. It was an absolutely beautiful day (or should I say night) by the time we arrived at the venue...we even got there before transition opened. The parking lot was filled with music thanks to Coach Keith and I felt like I was in high school again hanging out in the parking lot!!
Once transition was open for set up, the team entered and carefully set their gear. There were jokes flying as the tension was a bit high. As I have always written here, no matter what race you are attempting, you have to respect the course. Even though today's race was short compared to the Half Ironman adventure of next weekend, I was a little nervous. You never know what might happen out on the road so you really have to be prepared mentally and physically.
After setting gear and taking some photos, it was off to the beach where we found our trusty staff from the Team in Training office ready to cheer us on throughout our day. I gotta tell ya. If you haven't done an event through Team in Training, you haven't experienced something very special. Not only are you helping to find a cure for blood cancers, you get the incredible support of people who work extremely hard. Our staff people-Chrissy and Meredith were at the ready to help in any way they could. They produced a beautiful weekend and I tip my hat to their efforts. Its hard to make a lot of people happy at once but they gave it their all and it really showed.
On the beach, we watched the sunrise. What a glorious sight. It really brought tears to my eyes as I looked around me to this team that had worked so hard for this day. Some of these guys were terrified of swimming, but each and every one made it through the swim with flying colors. Others were afraid of falling off their bikes or crashing, but the entire team tackled a difficult course complete with at least 2 trips up and over the Rickenbacker Causeway, that involved technical turns, direct headwinds and some steep little climbs. The run was the Nemesis for others where the temperatures climbed and hydration might have been an issues (like it is for me alot). All of them made it through the run and to the line with a smile!! I was in absolute awe!!
There were two people that really inspired me on this race day. The first was Doug. Doug is a blood cancer patient currently in remission and had never done a triathlon. On Sunday, he completed his second triathlon with this one including an open water ocean swim (a bit more difficult than swimming in a lake). Doug is one of those people who just doesn't like the water, but you wouldn't have known it as he made his way around the course and out on the beach....
The second would be Geni Wright who...beat me. Yup! She kicked me all over the asphalt and I couldn't be more excited. This was the first time Geni has ever placed in her age group and, needless to say, it was a special day for her. She raced flawlessly and deserved every bit of her 3rd place age group victory!! :) Highfives to ya my friend!!!
Let me make sure to thank some other very special people that made this triathlon season with Team in Training so special. Coach Bill Wenner assisted this team with becoming triathletes especially with the swim. He was invaluable and I can't thank him enough. Coach Beth Crepeau did a fantastic job in making sure all her "tri kids" made it to the finish!! You were absolutely a god send. Thank you thank you!!!
My race was a fun one!! I loved it!! No pressure...just a time to go out and enjoy the ocean, marvel at the views from atop the Causeway on my bike and to take in the sites of the beach during the run. A sharp contrast to next weekend's events!!
To all my Team in Training teammates, all I can say is WOW!! You had the most fundraising of all the chapters in attendance and you had 4 people receive awards in their age group. Not bad for what some people would call a bunch of newbies...
They can't say that now!! Most of you are now Olympic Distance Triathletes...congrats to all..
Oh...and PS...I got 4th in my age group....behind Geni :) Wow!! **big grin** What an awesome weekend!!