Team in Training

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Team in Training is what got me started in this whole blogging and running business. I had always liked to stay in shape and eat healthy and run a little bit, but everything snowballed on April 9, 2009, when I attended an information session for Team in Training and signed up on a whim.

If you’re not familiar with TNT, it is the world’s largest charity sports training program. There are chapters all over the country, and four times a year these chapters train participants to compete in endurance events: half marathons, marathons, century bike rides, triathlons, and hiking adventures. As a participant, you pledge to raise a certain amount of money (the amount, determined by TNT, is based on your location and event of choice). 75% of your participation minimum, as it’s known, goes directly toward the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. The other 25% is for your expenses. In exchange for this money you raise, TNT provides you with a training schedule, coaches and mentors, twice-weekly group trainings, a practice jersey, a race day jersey, and several other things and events during the season. And best of all, your event weekend—including an inspiration dinner and victory party—is paid for. Over the 21 years TNT has been in existence, the organization has raised over $1 billion for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

So last April, I signed up for the Fall 2009 season of my local chapter. I trained with my team for five months and a group of over 50 people traveled to San Francisco in October for the Nike Women’s Marathon and Half Marathon. It was one of the best weekends of my life. When I started training, I was a semi-regular runner but had never run more than three miles. Throughout those five months, my long runs gradually grew in distance as I became stronger, and my contribution to LLS grew as I ended up raising over $4500. (I tracked all my training and my fundraising on my old blog.) By the time October 18 rolled around, I had completed an injury-free training season and ran my half marathon. It was difficult in places (darn those San Francisco hills!) but an amazing experience and one that I hope to repeat over and over.

Right after that race, I was inspired to do another one! I ran a local Turkey Trot 10K on Thanksgiving in November 2009, and then I signed up for another half marathon for January 2010. I completed all my training, but while I was in taper mode a couple nagging injuries intensified and I decided to pull out of that race. :( It was a really hard decision, but I knew it was the right one. I never really took a break after my first half and as a new long distance runner, I probably should have. This way, I had a couple weeks to take it easy and rehab my knee before my next adventure!

RNR[source]

I decided to run with Team in Training again for the Summer 2010 season! Training started in February 2010, and I had my sights set on the San Diego Rock n’ Roll 1/2 Marathon in June. However, this time I am ran as a mentor instead of a participant. That meant I had a little team of mentees (nine great people, who all finished their races beautifully!) and I did not raise money this time around.

The race was on June 6 and while I had a fabulous weekend in San Diego, the race did not go so well. Sometimes you just have bad running days, and unfortunately one of mine came on race day. But I finished the race (one of the hardest things I’ve ever done) and, as my coach told me, you’re not a real athlete until you have a bad race. :)

Next, I ran the City2Surf race in Sydney in August 2010! It’s a 14K and the largest road race in the world. :) I had a wonderful day, perfect for my first international race and to make up for my last bad race.  I have two more 10K’s set up, the Turkey Trot again, and a 5-mile run in December. Then hopefully a half marathon in February and probably another Team in Training race (maybe San Diego again?!) to raise more money in 2011!

A lot of people ask me why I would ever want to run that far, or wake up that early, or work to raise that much money. This is what I tell them:

I am running for each and every cancer sufferer out there that cannot run and even for those that can. The pain of getting up at 5 a.m. on a Saturday morning to run 10 miles is absolutely nothing compared to what those people and their families go through. I certainly can’t complain that I have the physical and mental ability to do run, and therefore I will do it. Thoughts of them are what get me through every single workout and make me push that much harder. I also run for me. I consider myself quite the optimist and even I never thought I could do something like this! Clearly, I have proved myself wrong. This has taught me that, as corny as it sounds, anyone can do anything they want to. That is one of the most important tokens that I’ve taken from this experience, and it’s one that I’m going to have with me forever. And now that I will be running this season as a mentor as well as a participant, I’ll have the added work and the added joy of helping other people come to these same realizations that I have and truly learn what their bodies and minds are capable of doing.

3 responses to this post.

  1. […] Team in Training « Achy Breaky Legs […]

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  2. […] Team in Training « A Spoonful of Almond Butter… […]

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