Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Meet my Triabuddy: Rachel

Meet Rachel

November 5-7, 2010
This year's Triabuddies aren't just spectators--they'll have the privilege of competing together in a kids triathlon event in Panama City, Florida! During the first four months of the program, the Triabuddies will work with their mentors to prepare for one of the following distances (varies depending on age):
100 yard pool swim, 3 mile bike, 1/2 mile run
200 yard pool swim, 6 mile bike, 1 mile run

The KidsTri2 Triathlon is scheduled on the weekend following the Triabetes Captains Training Camp, so parents and mentors will all be there to cheer on their Triabuddies. Also in town is the Ironman Florida Triathlon, so everyone will have the opportunity to be inspired and see what the Triabetes Captains are preparing for.
Rachel on the bike trainer! Spin, Rachel, Spin!
I am very excited to tell you about my Triabuddy Rachel Hoffner!  Rachel is 10 years old and lives in a suburb of Cleveland, OH. I was fortunate to meet Rachel for the first time on October 2nd, at my triathlon club - CTC's - fall picnic.  Rachel is a charming, bright and beautiful girl! I liked her instantly! She has a lovely smile and her eyes sparkle when she smiles!

How I found Rachel is a cool story in itself. The deadline for the Triabuddy had come and gone, and I was unable to fine a local match. It was looking like I would be matched with someone from the southwest, which would have been fine, but I was bummed at not having a local match.

Shortly after the Rev3 Full distance triathlon I did, a fellow CTC'er  - Jack Carney, Jr. - posted about me on a thread on our club message board. It was very flattering and I was touched by the gesture and acknowledgment.  A few CTC's who didn't know me personally, but had seen my posts, chimed in and reached out. I met 3 members who had close ties with diabetes.  On of our triathletes, who I knew only in name, Ed Slovenkay, reached out and told me his step-daughter, Rachel, was showing interest in tackling a kid's triathlon. When I saw this, I became really excited that this may be a great opportunity to find a Triabuddy. I connected with Ed very quickly and shared the program details with him.  He and Rachel's mom, Jodi, seemed very interested ... but would RACHEL be interested???  I contacted my program directors and they assured me we could get them in, even though the deadline had passed.  Ed and I spoke on the phone, and I was getting very excited about this! After we talked, Jodi and Ed spoke with Rachel and, YES, she's absolutely in!!  Woo hoo!!!

We planned to meet for the first time at the CTC picnic. I had my kids there - Kevin, 6 yrs., Jaime, 9 yrs., and Samantha, 11 yrs.  They were as excited as I was I think! My girls bonded instantly with Rachel too!  I enjoyed getting to know more about Rachel. She was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2008. We talked shop for a bit, and how frustrating it can be to do everything "right", yet still end up with disturbing highs and scary lows.  I also enjoyed getting to know Ed and Jodi.  Jodi is an elementary school teacher, and has become quite knowledgeable in all things diabetes!  I showed them my new Dexcom and talked about the pros of a CGM, as I've been experiencing for the past 10 weeks.
Ed is a veteran Ironman, having done IMKY in 2009 and Rev3 full in 2010. By the way, not only is Ed an Ironman, he's GOOD!  Like, REALLY good - fast!!! I knew that Rachel would have a GREAT resource in Ed in preparing for her triathlon, and in adopting fitness as a valuable tool in managing her diabetes.  I know someday that will be more clear to her :)  Ed and Jodi - your support of Rachel is simply AMAZING!!

So, what does being my Triabuddy mean?  Well I'll tell you!  November 1st I will head to Panama City, FL for "diabetes camp" - InsulinDependence University - where I'll meet the other Triabetes Captains for a week of learning, training, bonding.  I'm thrilled about this opportunity!  Ironically, I am signed up to do IMFL on November 6th!  I was signed up before I was chosen as a Triabetes Captain. I honestly thought that my prohibit me from being selected, but it did not.

Last November I decided to try to get in to IMFL, as did a friend of mine from high school - Tom (Guy) Avalon.  He and I talked, and thought it would be fun to do this "together".  Tom lives in Switzerland with his wife Erin. He's done IMFL before, and was ready to tackle it again. I figured I'd be relatively trained with having Rev3 in September, so why not? So, being naive about the sign-up process for these Ironman events, I figured I'd sign up after work. It was a Sunday and I was working in a vet clinic. I had planned to sign up after my shift.  I got a call from Tom at noon - are you trying to sign up??  No, I'm working, I'll do it this evening.  Um, no you won't! These spots sell out in an hour!  What???   So, I called Ted at home and asked him to give it a try and sign me up if he could get in.  In a few moments I got an email from Tom - he'd gotten in, but - bummer - it's closed out.  The next second I get an email: Registration Confirmation! Ted had gotten me in just under the wire!

When I'm in Florida for IDu, I will have the huge advantage of having a fantastic support group present! I am both excited and nervous. I'm sure you can understand that, right? Clearly, I want to have a good race, and I'll love having so much support, but it's also scary in the sense that I'll have people watching my race day - yikes!!!  But, I'll buck up and focus on the POSITIVE energy I'll get from such support, and push away that scary side that makes me nervous - it's time to channel that support into something that will inspire and motivate me to have the best race I can have!  Peter Nerothin, ID's President, asked my my ETA for finishing so he could have the Captains there to support me.  I'll put it out here as well: For my first IM, Rev3, my primary goal was to FINISH the distance and have a good race, no nutritional disasters, no blood sugar disasters, no injury.  All went well - aside from the salt tabs and subsequent swelling - and I had a respectable race. I learned A LOT in that race and can use that going forward.

So, my goal for IMFL is to go under 14 hrs. It's a doable goal! It can happen.  I know that on the swim, alone, I lost AT LEAST 15 minutes with the goggle debacle.  Now I'm armed with some great goggles, and ready to chop down that swim time!  I'm sure I can find some time on the bike, too.  The run will be my biggest challenge, but I'm ready. I'll be armed with salt tabs and shoes larger to accommodate the swelling.  I'll try to dig deep and hang on.  I think I can do it!!  It will be an amazing day, I'm sure.  :)  I'm also happy that this IM is on a Saturday - wish they all were :/  Here that WTC?? Make more Saturday IM's!

Sunday, November 7th, I will be very excited to watch Rachel, as she competes in her own triathlon!! It will be her first and I know how nervous she'll be.  I hope to help her face this with excitement and positive thoughts, to enjoy it, and see what amazing things she can accomplish!  I hope she'll have a super time, and consider doing another one! :) The biggest goal is to help Rachel realize that she does not need to be limited by diabetes, but that she can do whatever she wants to! By managing her health and staying fit, she can lead a full, active, healthy life.  Rachel and I have talked a bit about how it stinks to have diabetes, but, those were the cards we've been dealt, and we will not let it hold us back from leading a full and happy life!!  I'm so proud of Rachel for tackling this challenge!! :)  In May, she will be there for me, as I tackle the scary challenge that is Ironman St. George - the scariest of all IM's!! But I'm doing all I can to prepare myself, physically and mentally, for that challenge.  I'm happy to have my Triabuddy there as inspiration!

So, that's my big new! Very exciting!!  I'm so blessed to have such a fulfilling life ... I cherish it all. I am grateful for the experiences, the challenges, the successes, and even the stumbling blocks ... they teach me something every. single. time.

If you haven't donated to my fundraising campaign, please consider doing that now!  Every donation helps me get closer to my goal of raising $4000 for my diabetes charity. Please know that this money is not going toward my race, but will be used solely for the charity, which runs programs - education, fitness and recreation - for people with diabetes. You can support me with a donation HERE.

Peace out, Peeps!
<3 Tiffany (an admitted abuser of the exclamation point!!)


  1. Enjoyed the YouTube video as well as your recent posts - see you in FL in a couple weeks!!

  2. What a great story!!!!!!!!!!!

    I now have another person to cheer for in FL.