Sunday, July 13, 2008

Life Time Fitness Triathlon 2008

Yesterday marked the culmination of the Team in Training season and crescendo of my triathlon experience. I left with a sense of accomplishment that can only be explained as "amazing". Going into the triathlon it felt like any other event on any other weekend. Coming out on the other end I feel like I made a dent in the fight against cancer as well as joined a tremendously amazing family.

The day started at 3:00 AM. [Yes, it's one of THOSE kind of races.] I got all my stuff together and drove over to Lake Nokomis to put my transition area together and meet up with the rest of the team. From that point on, the rest of the day was sort of a blur so forgive me if I lose a detail here and there.

Low and behold I was the first person in line for transition followed shortly thereafter by my friend Kris (blog link to the right) and some more TNT people. Transition itself didn't open until 4:30 so we hung around at chatted for a while. Once transition did open we got some amazing prime real estate in there. Once getting everything set up we headed over to the TNT tent for the rest of the pre-race activities.

We had a great pre-race warm up with the team. We took our team photo which was surprisingly good for being that early in the morning. Plus, we shared some mission moments. One in particular was amazingly heart felt and left virtually no dry eyes in the house. We then finished it all up with the loudest cheer in the area and everyone went off to their respective spots to get ready.

Personally, the event felt like any other event. I do some kind of race every weekend, be it a marathon, 10K, 5K, half marathon, sprint tri, or some other kind of run-centric activity, so the feeling of excitement people get didn't really happen for me. It wasn't until I put into perspective what was really happening that the energy started to rush through. With the Life Time Fitness Triathlon I wasn't just competing in my first Olympic distance triathlon. This event wasn't about me at all. It was about someone else. It was about something else. Something bigger than myself. It was about emotion. It was about tears. It was about the deep pain a person feels in their soul because life has robbed them. It was about every person who lives with and who's fallen victim to a blood cancer. It was about my aunt who died of colon cancer when I was 10 and home alone with her. It was about everyone on this team that has poured their heart and soul into being more than they are. It was about finding a cure for these blood cancers so that someday, no one will ever have to go through what we went through. It was about honoring our loved ones who couldn't be there.

Through our lives, we all wear a lot of titles but don't really think much about it. Titles that most of us have include

brother or sister
husband or wife
man or woman
renter or owner

There are some titles we have that we may or may not be proud of but they're there anyway. Some of mine include


None of us is perfect right?

But today isn't about many of those. It's about changing lives and earning some other titles. After yesterday, everyone earned some very noble and honorable titles.


However, those in Team in Training and similar organizations earned not just those titles but one more. One that goes above and beyond what a triathlon can earn you. One that means even more than the title of triathlete. One that not many other people on that course can claim. Yesterday, each and every one of us earned the the distinguished title of


All people paid on the order of $100 to participate in the triathlon. We paid $2100. And many of the team members paid much more. Not only in green backs but in lives. Anyone who has lost someone to cancer has that as part of their entry fee. And that's a cost that no amount of green back can ever quantify. Those are the people who have earned the titles of athlete and triathlete. But more so than that, they earned the most important distinction of all: hero.

So, after all that, how did I do? I finished and had fun doing it. That's the point right? The post race party was a bunch of fun too!

Sadly I do have to report that one of my friends beat me by 3 minutes. So to her I say: "You're going down next year!"


Kimmi said...

Great pics from last night. Had you stuck around longer you would have had quite the show as D got wilder and all the rest joined in...

Great Job yesterday!

Kris said...

Congrats Jim! Great blog entry too! It was so much fun having you in our TNT family this year. You are an amazing triathlete and a great friend.