Mark your calendars for Sunday, September 22nd, 2013. That is the date of Ironman Lake Tahoe and the culmination of my 14 month effort to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society while getting myself back in top shape. I've participated in the Wildflower Triathlons for about 15 years now, completing the long course (half Ironman distance three times, 10 years ago) and the Olympic distance each year since then. I was never into organized sports as a kid but I had a blast on the Cal Poly Triathlon Team as a grad student and I've been missing that level of camaraderie in sports ever since.
Although I've been coasting through the Olympic distance race at Wildflower for the last few years, I got some sort of new inspiration this May and I decided to step it up a level and get back to the long course. I knew this would require some level of actual training, as opposed to simply riding my bike and jogging occasionally.
The same weekend I was having a blast at Wildflower my friend Greg entered the hospital for his third battle against cancer over the last 5 years. It's August now and lymphoma is taking a heavy toll on him. He's not out of the woods by any means and visiting him last month really drove home how difficult this has been for him. His very survival depends on a huge network of support services, and the treatments he's received are the results of billions of dollars of research and development and years of hard work on cures for lymphoma. Looking back on the impact Greg has had on me over the last 20 years drove me to figure out some way to help.
These two things are now interrelated. By joining the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Team In Training organization I will be committing myself to raising thousands of dollars for LLS to search for a cure as well as offer support services to those with blood cancer and their families. Over the same 14 month period I will be getting into the best shape of my life, in order to complete one of the hardest events in sports.
Team In Training offers a unique proposition. In exchange for a fundraising commitment to LLS they offer a full-throttle 10 month long training regimen, including workout with coaches, practice races, skill improvement clinics, etc. There will be a group of about 40 of us from various backgrounds that will train together for an Ironman. We will be together for 10 - 15 hours a week for most of next year. This will be like some combination of Cal Poly's triathlon team, boot camp, and a reality show.
Obviously this is going to be a huge undertaking, on both physically and on the fundraising front. The Family and I have had many discussions about this over the last month and we are behind this effort 100%. I don't generally ask for too much from others but this will require a large amount of support from lots of different people. From my family I'm asking for a huge time commitment in order to train. From my friends and associates I'm asking for the financial backing to reach my fundraising goals. My official webpage with Team In Training is here, where you can monitor my fundraising progress or make a donation.
Regardless of whether I'm able to complete the race next September, this is going to be a blast.