i'm really excited after the 1st meeting. i'm still nervous, but it was definitely a good start.
i met h & c around 7 at the NY Blood Center. info session was over and since we were already registered, and since we were pretty much done registering (except for h, who was still filling out paperwork) we sat and waited for the presentations to begin.
we met the staff, the mentors, the coaches, and the honored teammates - people who are either in remission or have an immediate family member fighting a blood cancer. they are truly amazing.
one of the guys was diagnosed 4 years ago with stage-3 (there is a range of 1 to 4, 4 being the worst) non-hodgkins lymphoma. he had 4 days to get a second opinion, decide how he wanted to be treated, write a living will - he was just 39 at the time. his treatment was very aggressive, and to add to it, he had a reaction to one of them and became paralyzed. when he finally went into remission, one of the ways he recovered was through team in training, working towards a triathalon. it was just the first. this guy, just a few months ago, did an IRON MAN. and now he's training for one of the other marathons this season. how can you not be inspired by someone who has come so far?
that alone made me feel good about the coaches, and they are also a great crew. the head coach is hilarious (raoul i think his name is), and i'm sure is going to provide some anticdotes for your reading enjoyment. he has a very thick (spanish?) accent and speaks extremely quickly- you really can only understand every third word or so, but when you piece it together a few seconds later - he is very very funny. "not one marathoner or 1/2 marathoner has failed to finish on my watch, so if you are going to be that one, the registration for the cycling events is still open over there." but he's trained something like 20 event seasons, as has one of the other coaches.
the key note speaker was also really moving, a woman who has a 4 year-old niece who has been diagnosed with leukemia. through team in training, she has raised over $80,000 for the society since january! because of that...i'm thinking of increasing my goal to $10,000...but i guess i should start first before i get overly ambitious. anyway - the survival rate for kids with leukemia is around 85%. a few weeks ago, kate got pneumonia and ended up with a racking cough. after many fits, little kate looked up at her aunt and said "auntie, this cough is hurting my feelings." the way kids talk can really get to the heart of things in such a clear way - for the third time that night i found myself getting teary.
we have our first practice on saturday and i admit i am afraid of what distance we're going to go. 8:30 am at central park. i think friday night is the new movie night for me. i'm definitely putting myself in the beginner training group, although i have a tiny bit of hope that with dedication i'll be able to move up to the intermediate group in a month or so.
wish us luck...