First Team Workout

January 31, 2009

Today, we had our first team workout.  I took the morning off from work to be there.  I won’t take time off every Saturday I am scheduled to work, but the first team workout felt important. 

The workout consisted of one hour on indoor bicycles – the kind used for spinning classes, if you are familiar with them.  Using speed of pedaling and resistance, we simulated flat and uphill riding conditions.  It felt good – I broke a sweat, but did not feel exhausted or unable to keep the pace.

Our workout took place at a gym in Sumner called the BodyStudio.  They were kind enough to donate the use of their equipment – we did not have to become members to work out there.  We did share the workout room with a CrossFit (I think) class, though.  Every so often, five or six people would run in and do a bunch of pull ups and then run out.  It made for a nice distraction from our own workout.

I felt a bit silly driving an hour (Sumner is 30 minutes from Tacoma) to ride a stationary bike for an hour, particularly when we had a rare sunny Saturday in January.  I look forward to the spring and consistently decent weather so we can plan bike rides outside as a team.

Kick-off!

January 29, 2009

Last night, I attended the Team in Training summer season kick-off event. The coordinators set the event to immediately follow an information session. I think it is fair to say the turn out greatly exceeded their expectations (go Tacoma!). I would guess ninety people packed into a room that would comfortably seat forty. The room wore a festive air, with table cloths, helium balloons and a table of refreshments.

All except for the table of triathletes, that is. Tacoma hosts two training groups: marathon (and half marathon) and triathlon. Eighty people in the room were there to train for the marathon. They sat at the covered, bedecked tables and wore pre-printed name tags. The triathlon team got shoved in the back corner, sitting around a naked table wearing name tags with our names hastily scrawled on them. Honestly, I don’t care about those trappings. I would just as soon not have the resources wasted. But, it did make me feel a bit overlooked.

After everyone got settled, some people got up and talked a lot about marathon training details. They tried to play two songs on a malfunctioning Hello Kitty boom box. The songs were both schmaltzy country songs designed to tug at the heart strings. I could not understand the first one, but the second involved a teenage girl fighting cancer and wondering how she could go to the prom without any hair. The big climax of the song was her boyfriend showing up on prom night with a shaved head. I made myself stare at the table so I wouldn’t a) roll my eyes or b) start crying. Fortunately, the CD kept skipping, greatly reducing the song’s ability to pull at the heart strings.

Finally, after an hour of listening to bad music and information that did not pertain to us, we got to meet our team and talk about our training. The team looks great – maybe ten people total, including a mother training with her two daughters. Nobody is starting as an Über-athlete, a fact that brought me great relief. The training schedule looks managable, starting out fairly easy and building up as the months pass.

I have two coaches: one for bike and running and one for swimming. I am sure they will come up again in future posts. I just met them, but I think they will be great. They both have been personally touched by blood cancer and they are really committed to the cause and to our team. Right before we left, we discussed our first team practice, a spinning (indoor bike riding) session this Saturday.

Talking to my husband this morning, I expressed a dilemma: I wanted to write honestly about the event, but I didn’t want to come off sounding like a jerk. I looked for a positive spin to put on it and came up with this: being the overlooked minority instantly made our little group feel more cohesive, more like a team. I wondered out loud if we’d create a team name. Nate offered up, “How about Team Jerks?”

Team Jerks . . . not bad, but I bet we can do better.

Librarian Land

January 25, 2009

It is my intention to keep this blog mostly focused on my triathlon training experience and raising awareness for lymphoma and leukemia research. There will be occasions when I find it necessary to digress. This is one of those occasions.

Those of you who know me (which is most of my readers, at this point) know that I am a librarian. I currently work for a public library and I select the children’s and teen materials that we buy. All in all, a very cool job. Currently, in support of said job, I am attending the American Library Association midwinter conference in Denver, Colorado. Imagine hundreds of librarians descending on a five square block area of a city. It’s something to behold. A few observations:

1) The convention center booked the Sportsmen Exposition right next to the ALA conference. I find it very amusing to stand near the door and separate the librarians from the sportsmen. It is not a very difficult task.

2) Librarians as a whole are not an attractive bunch. It’s sad, really, but there it is. I find myself torn between admiration for people who do not conform to society’s ideas of “attractive” and confusion as to why they don’t care, at least a little bit. If you ever see me wearing a kitty cat corduroy jumper or a sweatshirt with books appliqued on it, please, please, please stage an intervention. I might resist at first but when my head has cleared, I promise I will thank you.

That’s it for the moment. I have to run off to a collection development discussion group. (To make this post at least a bit relevant to my blog, I used the hotel’s fitness center yesterday. I’m going to take a spin class at the local gym tomorrow.)

The Team in Training kick-off is Wednesday night, so look for a post about that on Thursday.

One Reason

January 22, 2009

Meet Morgan. We went to college together. We weren’t BFFs or anything, but he was in the “cool” accapella group on campus with my first real boyfriend. I knew him well enough to know he was smart and funny and to feel dismayed at hearing he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in October 2006. (Spoiler alert: Morgan’s healthy now, case you were worried that this post would end badly.)

The silver lining of this bad news (for everyone but Morgan, anyway) was that Morgan decided to document his experience with a series of videos. In the course of the twenty-two entries, we see Morgan talk to the childhood version of himself, lose his hair, acquire a magical hat and reach remission. I have added a link to the right in case you’d like to see them for yourself. I highly recommend this, but I warn you: you’ll be humming the magical hat song for days to come.

The 22nd entry was dated July 31, 2007. In it, he states that so long as we don’t see a new entry in the cancer vlog series, we can assume he is still healthy.

Here’s to never seeing another entry.

Welcome, Mr. President

January 21, 2009

What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility — a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character than giving our all to a difficult task. ~ Barack Obama, Inaugural address 1/20/2009

Probably like most of America, yesterday found me glued to the computer to watch Barack Obama take his oath of office and deliver the inaugural address. Like others, I listened for the words that spoke directly to me. I heard them. I think they speak for themselves.

How Can I Help?

January 19, 2009

The title of this post is taken from a comment my wonderful brother left after my first post.  In case anyone else was wondering the same thing, here are some ideas:

1) Donate money. My apologies for the directness, but there it is.  Team in Training raises money to fight blood cancers.  The fight comes in the forms of financing research and supporting families who have a member battling a blood cancer.  To reach my donation site, clickhere.You can also click on the words “Donate Here” in the right hand column.

2) Make me a really great mix.  High-tempo, energizing music.  Running any length is not something I am naturally inclined to do (I think this will be the subject of a future post) so I’d appreciate any help I can get in the motivation area.

3) Send me supportive messages. 

4) If you have a blog or webpage, link to my blog. Better yet, mention me or Team in Training in your blog (thanks, Seanie!)

5) Be a guest blogger.  Write a post and send it to me.  If it is even remotely relevant, I’ll put it on my blog.

6) Do you work for a business that might consider sponsoring me?  Send me the contact information and I’ll get in touch.  Let me know if it is okay to drop your name.

7) Do you have an artistic or crafty bent?  Donate some cool art, jewelry, quilt, beer, etc. that you made.  I think I’ll be having periodic raffles for anyone who donated within a set period.  Your creations would make great prizes.

8) Do have experience with fundraising?  Share your expertise with me – I could use it!

9) Have you participated in an endurance event like a triathlon or marathon?  I’d really appreciate any advice you could give.

10) Do you have some connection with the sporting goods world that results in a discount?  I’ll need to buy some cycling, swimming and running gear and would love to take advantage of your employee discount!

Thank you to everyone that has supported me so far and is thinking of doing something on this list. Knowing I have people behind me and interested in my progress makes me feel even more motivated to succeed in this endeavor.

Remembering Dawn

January 17, 2009

It is sad to say, but some form of cancer has touched nearly everyone.  My mother battled breast cancer last year.  I lost a grandfather and an uncle to different forms of cancer.  My first brush with cancer came in the form of a girl close to my age named Dawn Rochelle.

I was ten when I first met Dawn Rochelle.  She was thirteen and had just made the cheerleading squad.   She did not feel well; however, which put a damper on her enthusiasm.  She had more bruises than cheerleading practice could explain and flu symptoms she could not shake.  She went to the doctor and received a shocking diagnosis – cancer.  Leukemia, to be specific.

In the hospital, she shared a room with another girl with leukemia, Sandy.  The two shared their hopes as well as their sickness.  They achieved remission about the same time and celebrated that.  The next summer, they went to a camp for kids who were living with cancer.  They met cute boys and felt alive.  Shortly after camp ended, Sandy relapsed.  Sadly, she did not win her fight the second time.

For those of you familiar with children’s and teen literature, you might recognize the name Dawn Rochelle from a novel titled Six Months to Live by Lurlene McDaniel.  I LOVED this book. I probably read it twenty times.  At least.

Those of you familiar with children’s and teen literature will realize that I just revealed something mildly embarrassing about myself.  You see, everything McDaniel writes is overly tragic and dramatic.  To illustrate, the books that continue the saga of Dawn Rochelle have titles like I Want to Live and No Time to Cry.  But, there is an undeniable niche market for girls (it’s almost always girls) craving drama and tragedy.  Books let them experience it without having to actually live it.

So, why am I writing this?  I’m not sure, but I can say that the book stuck with me, even until now, nearly twenty-five years later.  That plot summary above?  I wrote it from memory.  I’m certain that the memory stirred when I heard the ad plays at least a small role in why I decided to make the call and sign up for the information session.

Oh, and in case you are interested, my actual training starts on January 31st.  Maybe I’ll post my workouts and you can train along with me, wherever you are.