Friday, May 7, 2010
Triabetes Team Captain Orientation Weekend
Last year, while facing the challenges that come with triathlon, I was also facing challenges managing my BG. I had some successful races, but also a few that resulted in a BONK due to crappy sugars - both high and low. I reached out to my local triathlon club, Cleveland Triathlon Club, or CTC for short, and found no diabetics! How is that possible?? Our club is huge! So then I went searching online and found Team Triabetes.
I was excited! I quickly read about them and decided it was a great fit for me. It was a no-brainer to join and I was happy to buy a "kit" - what we refer to our racing uniform as - and sport it at my remaining triathlons for the season. I got a lot of questions about it, and was eager to share!
I am certainly not the best triathlete around. I have modest goals and my performance is what I would call "average" for my age, background and training limitations. I'll probably never be a podium holder for my age group, unless there are only 2 others :) I'm fine with this and feel motivated to continue this personal journey to see what I can do with it. After tackling the 70.3 successfully, and reaching my goal of going under 7 hrs, I began to consider the BIG ONE: a full Ironman distance triathlon. Can I do it? I sure as hell want to try. I remember watching my first IM on TV with my dad. It was amazing and I thought to myself, someday I want to try to do that! It's been a dream of mine since I was maybe 7 yrs old.
I have decided to tackle the Rev3 IM distance race at Cedar Point Amusement park in Sandusky, OH on September 12, 2010. I signed up and felt like I was on cloud nine! Now keep in mind, these races are expensive! I was fortunate to have a spouse offer to loan me the race fee, and I am grateful for that. It truly was a generous gift - offering the loan - and I don't take that lightly. Shortly after registering for that race, over a year away, a friend from high school approached me about joining him for IM Florida in November 2010. Well, if you have not figured this out by now, I will just state the obvious: I impulsively joined him. Yes, TWO IM within a 3 month period. So exciting!
Back at the ranch ... I noticed that Team Triabetes was taking applications for Team Captains. The country is divided into 10 regions and they were looking for one individual to spearhead fundraising, education, inspiration within that region. That's just part of the job. Basically, we will fundraise for a year, train for, and compete in Ironman St. George, UT in May, 2011, attend a diabetes training camp to learn more about how to manage ultradistance training, nutrition, etc.; Spread the word about Triabetes, and our parent charity, Insulindependence, a non-profit organization. We will also each mentor a child with type 1 diabetes, somewhere in the 8-12age range, as our "Triabuddy" learns how to be an athlete and manage this disease. He/she will also meet other kids in the same position, and build relationships, enjoy experiences, and learn how fitness and diabetes work together to keep people healthy while having an active lifestyle and fitness goals that have no boundaries.
I applied. I wasn't optimistic, but I was hopeful. I WANTED this challenge. And when I say challenge, it IS a challenge!! I was (am!) more fearful of the fundraising goals than the Ironman race. But I signed up to tackle that and move outside of my comfort zone, to choose a selfless cause and to work hard to make an impact in my region - make a REAL impact! Spread the word. Be visible. Mentor. Educate. Inspire. Learn. And experience a unique, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!
I was honored to be chosen. When I say honored, I mean SO honored, SO grateful! I had a small period where I felt unworthy ... did they make a mistake? But, I got over that and embraced the challenge whole-heartedly.
Our team Captain orientation was to be held the weekend of May 1, 2010, at the first annual Ironman St. George triathlon. We all met each other, learned about our duties as Captains, and then we volunteered at a water station during the race. I cannot fully convey what an amazing, inspirational, fulfilling weekend that was for me! I met people that I instantly felt bonded to. I admired them! I felt inspired by them! Plus, it was REALLY cool to just be able to talk about "the betes" with others - specifically athletes, triathletes. It felt good to be able to test and manage insulin dosing without trying to be discrete. You always worry that you will offend someone, or that they may be grossed out at what has to happen when you test and dose. I've never experienced that before and it felt GREAT!
Watching those 1900 athletes tackle IMSG was also a life-changing event. I just cannot fully express how the flood of emotion, inspiration, awe and pride surface when watching these regular people try to achieve their goal of becoming an Ironman!
The weekend was busy, I got little sleep, and I spent nearly 13 hours at an airport, on an airplane home, but it was truly a fantastic experience! One year from TODAY I will be facing IMSG!!!! Wow. Just, WOW!