One of my goals in life was to do a marathon by the time I was 30. I tried training on my own, twice and suffered an injury both times that prevented me from even doing the race. I received a flyer in the mail not long after my second attempt about Team In Training (TNT) and decided to look into it. I hadn’t realized the tie between TNT with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) until receiving that flyer. I had an uncle who passed away from Leukemia when I was 5. He was an avid cyclist and runner. In fact, he ran in the Chicago marathon way back when. This was a win/win situation for me. Not only would I get to do a marathon, 2008 Nike Women’s, but I would have the opportunity to do it in memory of my Uncle AND raise funds for a great cause.
I met Liesel at one of our first team training runs. We ran together (yes, at one point I used to be able to keep up with her!) and she ended up being my mentor. She was great! Luckily for me we also became friends. She showed me all the ropes of fundraising and all things TNT. She ran the half marathon that year so she was able to meet me those last few miles of the marathon and ran me in. It was great! And one of the most amazing feelings you could ever experience.
In 2009 I learned that a cousin and close family friend had been diagnosed with myeloma. My knees have a hard time dealing with the constant pounding of running so Liesel suggested I try getting into triathlons. She said the cross training would help. So, in an effort to honor my cousin and friend, I signed up to train for the Lavaman olympic tri with TNT. Liesel was on that team training for Galveston. So we got to train together again!
In 2011, my cousin lost his battle with myeloma. The day of the funeral I sent Liesel a text message and told her I needed to do another event with TNT in his memory. She told me she might be coaching and I asked her to let me know which event she was going to do and to count me in. To my luck, (or not ) she informed me she would be coaching for the Half Ironman in Galveston! Oh my gosh! A half ironman! 70.3 miles! I had always wanted to do an Ironman event but dang, did not anticipate trying one at this stage in my life! Liesel convinced me I could do it and after coercing my hubby into agreeing to the time commitment-I signed up for the Memorial Hermann 70.3. Time commitment for this race was a worry of mine because of my work schedule and commute (I live in Fort Worth, but work in Denton), along with my daughter’s extracurricular activities and other volunteer work.
Liesel made a very “doable” workout schedule. Don’t get me wrong, it was still tough but workable. I traveled quite a bit during my training so I had to adapt to my surroundings many times. I often contacted Liesel and told her what I had to work with and she would instantly adapt my workout schedule. She also computed what my nutrition needed to be for race day. It totally worked! We had record high heat that day and I was just fine with the nutrition plan she made me. I finished the race, although not in record first timer time, but I did it! There was no way I would have been able to do that race without Liesel. That was the absolute toughest race of my life and she got me through it! It was an emotional day as my cousin’s wife was there to cheer me on.
My friend that was also diagnosed with myeloma is continuing to fight his battle. Because of him, I will continue to be involved with TNT to help raise awareness and funds for research. You can also guarantee that I will do my next event with Liesel as my coach!