TRI’ing To Stay Half-Full

Since Boordy Vineyards, it’s been a tough month for training. School started back up again with clinical evaluations, medical/surgical and mental health exams, and several clinical competencies to complete before clinical begins. I started a new job in a busy Orthopaedic/Vascular Surgery IMC Unit and am still orienting on the unit – 12 hour shifts and an hour commute each way. I’ve decided to keep my job at the Arena Club to keep my membership and take advantage of the employee pricing for special exercise programs and to make a little extra money to put towards my racing. The irony of doing this, since this side job has actually been interfering. With this, I have averaged an incredible 20 hours of training – for the entire month of August. Since Placid, I have ridden my bike three times. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve gotten in the pool. Luckily, my running groupies have been keeping me out on the trails and increasing my speed work at the track. With my lack of training (and honestly, my lack of motivation), I was seriously debating of dropping out of both the Rev3 Half Full and the Baltimore Half Marathon.

I thought long and hard about dropping out. I hate to drop out of races. Not because I didn’t want to waste the money, but mainly because when I commit to something I want to follow through with it to the end. More importantly, the Half Full triathlon holds a special place in my heart this year. In the beginning of 2012 at a previous job I was blessed to meet one of the most caring and hard working women. She came into work each day with a smile and a positive outlook on life. As we began to learn more about each other (which happens fairly quickly in a small office of just 3 employees), I found out how she can wake up everyday with a smile despite the stresses of every day life. A few short years ago, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was an aggressive cancer. After going through remission, a routine checkup revealed the cancer had returned, except this time it was stage IV colorectal cancer. In case you were wondering, the survival rate of this cancer according to The American Cancer Society is 6%. Numerous surgeries and procedures later, she beat the odds – again. Her cancer had gone into remission. I spent the 2012 work year working side-by-side with this her. 5 days a week she would come in with a smile, making me laugh, and helping me through the 10+ hour shift. She had a way of speaking to our clients, making every person who walked through the office door feel important and cared for. Unfortunately, I left that job to further my career at the end of 2012. My stomach sank, my jaw dropped, and my heart began to hurt when I was told her cancer came back a third time – this time in her lung.

This is what kept me from dropping out. The race is more than a race. The Half Full triathlon is about raising awareness and funds for cancer research (more specifically cancer for young adults – more information can be found at http://ulmanfund.org). The battle, the fight, and the emotions that cancer patients and their families deal with are more than I can even fathom. So for me, this race isn’t a race. I don’t plan on winning. I don’t care about a personal best. But I do care about my co-worker, my friend. She is keeping me Half-Full. When I put it in that light, my life isn’t as tough as I thought it was.

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