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.


One Response to “Kick-off!”

  1. poppa Says:

    Joy, the Marine corp has motto in latin that is as well known to as “Semper Fidelis”. It’s “Illagitimae Nonum Carborumdum”. It translate to “Don’t let the bastards weatr you down”. I relate that to the people who are marathon geeks and do not appreciate he discipline of cross training in more than one aspect of endurance. Via la triathalet


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