Monday, October 8, 2012

Thankful for T3

Meet the Tremont Triathlon Team Ironman Wannabees. By my count, at least 8 of these people are previous Ironman athletes. That just means they are crazy enough to try it again. That means the remaining 14, me included, had absolutely no idea what the heck they were doing.
T3 Members at IMLOU
Back: Gene, Cassie, Aaron, me, Scott, Glen, Cheryl
Middle: Kathy, Mike, Ann, Dave, Joe, Pat, Ed, Brian
Front: Stacey, Christy, Chris, Joan, Mark and James
A few of these people I met at IMLOU for the very first time, but most of them were people that I trained with either in the water or on the bike....lots and lots of long hours on the bike. Each one of them have a story. Each one of them wanted to rise up to the challenge and toe the line at IMLOU. Each one of them had an impact on me and my eventual success.

Chris: The quiet leader of T3, I call him "Mr. Triathlon Encyclopedia". Anytime I have a question about anything related to triathlon I know that I can ask the question and not only get an answer, but get options A, B, C and "here is what I do". I love all of the information that he is so willing to share.

James: Back when I was still in decision mode about IMLOU, James shared his IMWI training plan with me. It helped me to realize that my goal was actually a possibility. James' positive attitude is the back bone of T3.

Joe: One of my last long training rides was with Joe. We joked about how we were each going to need anti-depressants to deal with the post race blues. His quiet, but steady manner is always very calming when I am stressing about training.

Kathy: I met Kathy last September when we went to watch IMWI. That girl has more energy and motivation than anyone I know. You cannot deny her talent when you see her results. 10th place in her AG at IMLOU. Very impressive.

Mike: His calm voice is always very reassuring to hear. He took the time to make sure I learned how to properly handle the hills at IMLOU asking me questions and giving me pointers on biking.

Christy: How can you not love to be around someone who is so optimistic? She's always smiling and cheerful. She always asks the questions that you need the answer to as well. I feel very blessed to have met her and join her on this journey.

Ed: On my very first long ride with T3, we stopped at Casey's in Manito and Ed asked me if I needed anything to drink. I said no I was fine. Without being pushy or insulting, he made sure I knew that I should be drinking water at least every 15 minutes in order to stay properly hydrated. Over the next few hot summer months, I heard his voice repeat that statement in my head many times. Thanks, Ed.

Stacey: Early in the season, we went on a group training ride together. I felt like the biggest loser on my little road bike with everyone dropping me like a bad habit. Stacey always came back to meet me and encouraged me to keep going.

Pat: The ever present strong silent type and if you ever need ANYTHING, he is the man to reach out to.  With a few encouraging words from this man, you know you are doing the right things to get prepared.

Cassie: An incredible swimmer with a beautiful smile. As expected, she turned in the best T3 swim split of the day. I'm hoping Cassie and I get to know each other a lot better over the next few years...especially if she's willing to do a little swim coaching.

Aaron: An IMLOU finisher from 2011, Aaron is willing to share his experiences to help prepare the newbies like myself for race day. Added bonus? Aaron loves to brew his own beer. Pretty soon we'll be able to try some of his pumpkin beer. Sounds good, right?

Brian: I watched Brian carefully over the last few months. We both struggled with mental issues in the open water swim. I prayed for him before and during our race day and was so happy to see him out on the run course.

Scott: What can I say about my fellow professional Facebooker? He constantly put out such a positive vibe. Who wouldn't want to be around the man? Of course, he didn't care for me developing his nickname Snakebite Scott. I mean how many people do you know that get bit by a Copperhead snake at mile 18 of IMTX and go on to complete the race??? I think that boy deserves a Purple Heart.

Glen: As a park board member, no one knows better than Glen about my struggles at the park district in the last few months. So when I quit my job and said I wanted to do a half Ironman in 2012 and full in 2013, he was the man who said why not now?

Cheryl: No words to describe her. What can you say about someone you have known since birth and yet she's the one who inspires you to push yourself more and more? I need to send a huge thank you to Cheryl. If it wasn't for her, I wouldn't have signed up and now I can call myself an Ironman.

Gene: I cannot tell you how huge of an impact this man has had on my life. When I started working at the park district, Gene was on the park board. His mission was to re-open the community pool and thus bring back the Tremont Triathlon in 2008. Watching the event that year lead me to my first sprint triathlon in 2009. Add in the fact that he sold the fitness center to the park district after getting off of the board and how that changed my life as I became a group fitness instructor I owe this man more than words can say. He is my best friend, my big brother and I am thankful for his impact on my life every day.

Completing IMLOU was a blessing, but being able to complete the journey with all of these fabulous people I feel very blessed indeed to have the life that I do.

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