Last February I decided to take on the challenge of competing in the Wildflower Triathlon, one of the nations most difficult Triathlons,which took place in May of 2006. The distance I would cover included a 1.5K (1 mile) Open Water Swim, followed by an intense 40K (25 Mile) bike ride and finishing off with a 10K (6 Mile) Run. I finished this race in 5 hours, since then I have continued to document my journey.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Week 1: First Week of Spring 2007

I can't believe it's been a year since I started with Team In Training. Time sure flies when your having fun and boy have I been having fun.

I remember how scared I was when I started the team one year ago. I thought I was a good swimmer but I really hadn't cycled before and running had always been something I reserved for when I was being chased. After week 1 I realized that I was not as good of a swimmer as I thought I was but I turned out to be a pretty decent cylcist. Running....well....I already knew it would be my weakest before I started. I couldn't even run 2 laps without walking.

I worked my hardest throughout the season and well after. I'm proud to say that since my first practice I have done 5 triathlons (including Wildflower), 2 Relays, and a half Marathon. I have also been a mentor for the team and now I am honoree captain.

I thought about all this as I approached my first week with the Spring 2007 team. I saw me in a few scared faces at kickoff. I could identify with them more than they would ever know. I also saw me at the first track practice. I could see the frustration on some peoples faces when they were having a hard time keeping up with what was supposed to be an easy pace. I still struggle in keeping up with people when we're running together but I now know that I could run 13 miles without stopping so being at the back of the pack doesn't bother me as much anymore. I know that I will never win any races (well...there was the mermaid triathlon) but I don't care. I have the endurance (some call it stubborness) to complete these races and that's what matters to me.

Week 1 was a bit tough for me. One of our honorees, Erika Arredondo passed away the day before our first track practice. Those who only new of her story would say that her death should not have been a shock but they didn't know the fighter she was. This was not the first time she was not supposed to make it home. Somehow she always pulled through though. The last time she pulled through then proceeded to get married, go back to work and buy a home. This time was different...she never made it home.

I was asked to share her story at the first practice of the season. Here is what I said:

February 1 - I'm sad to pass on the news that TNT Honoree Erika Arredondo has passed away. She became an Honoree for the mountain bike team in 2003, and she's been an honoree for many other teams since then (walk, run, Winter Triathlon). You may have met her when she came to volunteer in the LLS office.

She gave it her all in battling her NHL and Hodgkin's disease (yes, both).

Sleeping Beauty
My Gator Pie is now in heaven, safe with her Mom.
I love you with all my heart and I always will.

posted by Chris @ 8:06 PM


What an amazing person we have lost. May she inspire you to do the unthinkable whether that is run an extra mile or bike up to the top of the hill. Erika was a fighter and always put cancer to the side. I'll always remember how she would go straight to work after receiving chemo at Stanford Hospital and then login in to Yahoo! Messenger and chat with me. Or the time she completed the San Diego Rock-n-Roll marathon a week before she was supposed to receive chemo and her doctors told her not to run. Her determination to have a normal life was amazing! Last year she got married to a wonderful person Chris who has always been by her side thru the treatments and even the marathon. She had so much love for him! It was a way of spreading her amazing story to all in Team in Training as well as giving hope to thousands of others who were suffering from cancer. Let's all pause right now for a moment of silence, step away from the computer, and just reminisce about how honorees like Erika have made you go the extra mile..............................Post a comment on her blog and let Chris and the world know how she touched your life. Next time you are all out of energy during your run, bike, or swim and your body is about to break down, think of Erika and what she has gone thru. We all have the extra bit of strength in us to keep going and I know Erika up above is looking down at us smiling and guiding us every mile.

Thank you and God Bless!!!


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