If you’ve been around here for a while you know I had a little brother who died when he was three years old.
I was sixteen at the time, and a junior in high school.
My brother’s name was Christopher, and he was diagnosed with leukemia at about eighteen months old, had chemo and radiation treatments, emergency surgery where he almost died and had part of his intestines removed and received a colostomy bag, eventually had a bone marrow transplant which was not successful, and he died two weeks after his third birthday.
It was a traumatic and devastating time for my whole family, and it’s still devastating.
It never really goes away.
I spent most of my twenties and thirties being pretty fucked up by it and also feeling super guilty for not really doing anything to honor his memory or bring about change or, well… I don’t know.
I don’t know exactly what I thought I should be doing, and I am well aware of the saying Don’t should on yourself, but still, I have always been searching for a way to honor his memory, take advantage of all the opportunities he would never have the chance to experience, and also make a difference.
And I found that in 2012.
In 2012 I signed up for my first triathlon with Team in Training.
Team In Training (TNT) is an organization that works with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. They raise money to find cures for leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease, and myeloma.
And they fundraise through endurance events like triathlons, marathons, hikes, and cycling events.
I registered for my first sprint triathlon with TNT back in 2012.
A sprint distance triathlon is about a half mile swim, a 10-11 mile bike, and a 3.1 mile run.
I was super scared and super excited.
It was awesome.
It was so awesome, that as soon as I was done, I registered for an Olympic triathlon with them three months later in September of the same year.
The Westchester Triathlon in Rye, New York.
An Olympic triathlon consists of about a .9 mile swim, a 25 mile bike, and a 6 mile run.
That was also an amazing experience for me.
It was so amazing that I signed up for another triathlon with TNT the following year, in July, 2013.
I did the New York City Triathlon which is another Olympic distance tri.
And that was one of the most exhausting and one of the most unbelievable experiences of my life.
I cannot explain to you what it felt to come out of the bike transition onto 72nd Street in NYC.
It was unbelievable.
And this picture is the moment I thought to myself,
Running the NYC Marathon must be mind-blowing.
And the next day, I signed up for the New York City Marathon with TNT.
It was my first ever marathon, and it was less than four months away.
And again, it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life.
In the summers of 2013 and 2014, I raised about $10,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society through Team in Training.
The next two summers my husband had two major unplanned surgeries, and I wasn’t able to participate in any events with TNT.
But, in the spring of 2015 and 2016 I ran the Boston Marathon for charity — for Swim Across America in 2015
and for Dana Farber Cancer Center in 2016.
I raised a total of $10,000.
The Boston Marathon, again, was a life-altering experience for me.
This summer I got back into triathlons again. I didn’t do them with a charity, but I did a couple sprint tris (I had a hysterectomy and prolapse surgery in February of 2018, so that was about all I could manage).
And I wore my TNT wetsuit because that’s the only one I have 🙂
Then, in October after just seven weeks of training and against the advice of just about everyone, I ran the Hartford Marathon.
I drove their alone, ran the race by myself, had no cheering crowd or anything.
And even though it was one of the slowest marathons I’ve ever done, that was one of the most badass things I ever did because I really didn’t know if I could make it.
It was raining and the weather kind of sucked.
But I did it.
So there is something that has still been on my list of things to do.
An IRONMAN is a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike and a 26.2 mile swim.
There are lots of IRONMAN triathlons around the world.
But I always said to myself that I wanted to do THE IRONMAN.
The Kona IRONMAN.
The one in Hawaii.
A couple weeks ago I decided to check out the TNT site to see what events they were participating in in 2019.
I was hoping they had a half IRONMAN that I could maybe do.
I didn’t see one.
But I did see the BIG ONE.
Kona is for the best of the best in IRONMAN competitors. It’s the World Championships.
TNT has a few very coveted spots.
And I immediately filled out an application. There is no guaranteed entry. You have to go through an interview process.
You also have to complete a full or half IRONMAN in a certain time before the race to be able to go.
And you have to raise a shit ton of money.
$50,000 to be exact.
I didn’t hear anything back after submitting my application, and after a couple weeks I forgot about it.
I mean, I have no idea how many people apply for those spots.
And what were the chances of being accepted, anyway? I’ve only ever done two Olympic distance tris, after all.
Well, I got an email the other day.
I made it to the interview process.
And then today I got a text asking if I had any questions.
My only question was, “Do I have a real shot at being accepted?”
The answer, “I do feel you have a good shot.”
So that’s today’s story.
I am waiting to schedule a phone interview, and final selections will be made in a couple weeks.
And if you have some positive energy to send my way, I could really use it.
If it was meant to be, it was meant to be.
But I’m really hoping it was meant to be.
Because this will be one of the hardest and most rewarding things I have ever done in my life.
And I wanna do this so badly.
I wanna do it for me.
I wanna do it for my kids.
I wanna do it for every other family who has ever dealt with the bullshit of cancer.
And I really, really, really, really, REALLY wanna do it for my brother.