I was extremely honored and grateful to take part in the Half Full Triathlon on Sunday. It was a very cold and rainy day and usually that would take over my thoughts and stresses concerning my race. However, as much as I was shivering and suffering, I kept something bigger in the forefront of my mind througout the race and the entire weekend. Yes, I was there to race hard and try to win, BUT, we were all really gathered in Columbia, MD for more than that. We were there to compete, raise awareness, celebrate survivorship, remember loved ones and support the cause and mission of the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults.
A few years ago Bec and I met up with Brian Satola at Panera in Columbia to chat. Brian mentioned starting a race to benefit the UCF. We all thought it was a great idea, and Bec and I thought that local fledgling race organizers Rev3 might be worth talking to - maybe borrow some bouys or timing equipment. Never did we imagine or expect that Charlie Patton and his team would take such an enourmously generous interest in the Ulman Cancer Fund cause. They not only organized a run across America but included Half Full in their triathlon series with all of the proceeds going to the young adult cancer fight. Simply amazing. We all know the hard work and passion that Brock and Brian and the UCF team put into this cause, and thanks to Charlie and the Rev3 events, their work is being put on the map. What all of this means is that more and more young adults affected by cancer will receive help. That's exactly what I kept in my mind when I was racing.
It was cold morning and I lined up all sorts of things to put on before the bike ride. Of course in the heat (or chill) of the moment I couldn't be bothered trying to put on a jacket and took off with nothing but arm warmers on my aerobars. I actually tucked my hands inside of them like gloves and stayed warm for about 45 minutes of the ride. Not exactly comfortable but not shivering. I managed to pass Becky (who I'm sure was also suffering) and hold the lead for about 15 miles or so. After a long downhill...things just went downhill. I got caught by Nicole and Malaika and tried my best to hang on. I kept them in sight through about 24 miles...and then I realized wait! I am still very far from transisiton... the bike was 32 miles long! Those last 8 miles were very cold. I just did what I could to control my bike. Now I can't believe that I went speeding down a hill completely shaking. But, I was determined to get to the end. I finally got to tranisiton and couldnt get my helmet off. I had lost the use of my hands at about mile 15 on the bike. (Couldn't even push the buttons on my di2!). Fortunately, Terra Castro was volunteering and helped me to get off my helmet - I had started running with it!
Once on the run I thought I'd be able to make up the 2-3 minutes I was down. Nope. Running as fast as I could and going nowhere. Finally, at about mile 6 I stopped feeling quite as cold. Meanwhile, Nicole and Malaika were up ahead having great races. (congrats!) I was very happy to finish on the podium and give my dad a high 5 on the way in. (see pic above). I was smiling but completely choked up running into the finish. Usually it's just my mom and dad and family that know what each and every finish means. However, this time I had a whole crowd full of people, who through their own experiences, understood exactly how I felt. Thank you to everyone from the Ulman Fund, Team Fight and Rev3 for making this day possible for all of us.
Also, thank you to my sponsors: Nike, NYAC, Zico, First Endurance, Cervelo, ISM Saddles, FRS, Rudy Project, Sidi, NY Super foods, and to Bec for driving me to yet another race!
Congrats to all who raced, especially Lance and those wearing the yellow bibs. Keep on living strong and FIGHTing!