A Swim, A Bike, A Run…And A Great Group of People.

Several weeks ago, I first mentioned Team In Training, the triathlon group that I train with.  I figure after a year and a half with the group, it’s about time that I introduce them to my blog!

First, let’s start with a little history: Team in Training began in 1988 when Bruce Cleland formed a team that raised funds and trained for the NYC Marathon in honor of his daughter Georgia, a survivor of Leukemia. That team of 38 people raised over $322,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  Since then, Team in Training (TNT) has been one of the largest sources of funds (75% of dollars raised goes directly towards research) for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  It has grown from a group of 38 in a small New York town to more than 40,000 athletes in cities across the nation.

I joined TNT last January with my friend (and now roommate) Lili.  We decided to try our hand at triathlon – a ridiculous thought, considering I could hardly swim and I didn’t even own a bike. Regardless, we thought it would be a fun experience. So we committed to raising $2,500 for the cause and spent 4 months training for the Capital of Texas Triathlon…and you know what? It felt great! And it was fun – more fun than I could have ever imagined, actually.  And throughout that time, I met an amazing group of people who I feel honored to call my teammates and my friends.

Rachael and Lili Capital of Texas Triathlon

Me and Lili, just after finishing our first Olympic-distance triathlon last May.

What started as a new experience to try has since turned into an entire lifestyle.  I’ve been training with TNT for about a year and a half now and am absolutely in love.  Not only is it a great way to keep myself in shape, but I just can’t stress enough what an amazing group of people it’s allowed me to meet.  How can you not love individuals that spend their days raising money for a cause that’s even larger than themselves? Many of the people in TNT joined without ever having a connection to cancer – they just wanted to do good.  And we have done good – really good.  In the time that I’ve been a part of the Austin Chapter, our run, bike and tri teams have raised well over $500,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Think of how much research that can help fund…it’s A LOT!

Team in Training, Austin Chapter

The TNT Alumni Group, at a team dinner before the 2011 Kerrville Half Ironman.

Now, I’m in my second season of TNT, and this Monday, I will be once again racing in the Capital of Texas Olympic Triathlon.  For those who don’t know, that’s a 1 mile swim, 25 mile bike and 6.4 mile run.  While I’ll be racing for all of those who can’t, our team will be specially dedicating this race to Jay Taylor – one of our own teammates who was recently diagnosed with Stage 4 Lung Cancer and is about to face one of life’s biggest obstacles head-on.  As our coaches frequently like to remind us, Jay (or any other cancer patient) can’t just give-up on chemotherapy, so why should I be able to give-up on something so comparatively easy?

So to Jay and every other member of Team in Training that has impacted my life in the past year – this post, and Monday’s race is dedicated to you. Thank you all for being such a welcome inspiration in my life.

Team in Training Austin at the Rookie

A small portion of my current team, at the Jack and Adam’s Rookie Triathlon earlier this month.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society or Team in Training, click here.

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