Yep, it's official! I've joined Team in Training to help me prepare for my upcoming full and half marathons. As part of that, I will be raising funds for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, an organization that fights blood cancers.
I've been thinking about joining Team in Training since last fall when I ran the Nike half marathon. It seemed like literally half the runners in that race were from TNT. Being on the course for over 2 hours :), I ended up spending a lot of time observing them and they seemed pretty cool. First, it seemed like all the spectators on the course were TNT supporters so I was sort of jealous of all the cheering they got - especially when they all quieted down when the non-TNT runners (aka - ME) went by. So I had been joking with friends that the cheering was the main reason I wanted to join - even if I had to sponsor the whole thing on my own! And then a smart person pointed out that all I had to do was write my name on my race shirt and people would cheer for me, too. Oh yeah, I guess that would also work. heehee...
But it was more than the cheering from the sidelines. It was also the cheering amongst the runners. Every now and then you would see someone struggling, and I would always notice those purple-shirted runners checking in with each other. At first, I thought they were from the same training club, but then I noticed they were from different chapters - different states even!
It continued all the way to the finish. After I finished my half, I went and hung out by the finish line and there were so many runners that were really struggling by the end. I would then see some TNT runners approach the finish line and before they crossed, they would go back and help others finish. It was really cool to see.
Plus, it was fun to see their jerseys and see who was inspiring them to run. They inspired me, too! Especially the runners that were battling blood-related cancers or had survived them themselves - if they could do it, so can I, right?
On a related note - back in 2000, I raised over $2000 when I participated in the Avon 3-Day walk for breast cancer in NYC. That was such an amazing experience. Walking 60 miles in one weekend was significant on its own, but it was so much more meaningful knowing I did my little part to contribute to a bigger cause.
I'll be honest, I never thought I could run a marathon. (It wasn't that long ago when I couldn't even run a mile!) I'm not there yet, of course, but I'm slowly getting there. Obviously, this is a big deal for me - and I thought this would also be a great opportunity to support another cause. So I went to a TNT information session and I signed up!
I had my first training session with them on Thursday. Now I know why those TNT runners get all sucked in! Everyone is super friendly and super supportive. (Super, right? hehe) We just did a short trail run in LG, but it was cool because everyone cheered everytime someone came back from the run. Another cool thing was that some of our "honorees" were there at the workout. The "honorees" are our special friends directly affected by blood cancers - some are currently in active treatment, while others are in remission, though they still undergo regular maintenance treatment or testing. They're amazing though - some of them actually trained with us that day! I'm telling you, it's really inspiring!
I'm still new to the whole thing - but I know this is going to be a really rewarding experience. I'm pretty excited. Plus I have awesome mentors within TNT, they brought our group home-made chocolate chip cookies after our Thursday workout. ;)
I'll continue to make updates on my progress with TNT. Let me know if you would ever like to join in on a workout. I usually can only make the Thursday evening ones in LG. And if you'd like to sponsor me and donate to The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, please click here.