30 September 2015

Memories - Team Challenge San Diego Tri – TriRock 2015

The Team Challenge San Diego Tri Rock season has come to a close. It is always a bittersweet time for us coaches. We’ve spent 14 weeks (not to mention the many weeks of planning) training and preparing 42 athletes for a sprint or intermediate distance race, all while they do fundraising for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America. We feel so happy, excited, and rewarded (and in some cases relieved) when it comes to race day because we get to see the culmination of a lot of hard work by our athletes come together right before our eyes. We see people doing things they didn’t think was possible. We see people improve on their fitness or speed. We see people transform into a better version of themselves. We are so pleased and proud!

During my (Skip's) little speech the day before the race he spoke of how the San Diego Team Challenge Tri team is something special. It is such an amazing and varied group of people, supporting, encouraging, and pushing each other. It’s a lot like a family. And this season the word “TRIbe” came up and became the perfect description for all of us.

With the triathlon season over for most of us (except those continuing to race – Silverman 70.3, Esprit de She, Ironman Arizona) we wanted to take a look back. It was such an amazing and crazy 14+ weeks! In doing so, we know we will forget many things that were significant but this is very long as it is so we hope you’ll forgive us for our many oversights! Feel free to add what we missed. And so, here are some of our recollections:

As she does every season, Kat worked very hard behind the scenes to make sure everything got done, everything was in place, and everything, in the end, pointed back to the Mission – raising funds for a cure. Never will anything run perfectly smooth, but Kat does so much to minimize the problems and bumps in the road so that we don’t even see them. Her commitment to everyone’s success went beyond what we could ever ask for!

Another big part of this team’s success goes back to our fundraising captains and our mentors: Sally, Chris, Joel, Cathy, and Neil; Tam and June. They were cheerleaders, supporters, a friendly ear, a valuable resource, a workout partner, a persistent nuisance (in the nicest way), a valuable communicator, and a support for helping you get to your fundraising goal. They did so much to make each of your experiences better. And because of their previous experience and because of their enthusiasm, they provided a connection between past seasons and the team as it was this season. They are a big reason why we are a “TRIbe” and why we have something special here. The legacy just continues to be carried forward.

One of the things that’s so amazing and rewarding for us coaches is to see how supportive of each other all of you are. You encourage each other, offer support and advice, lend a helping hand, and go beyond your personal goals to help when it’s needed. This happened every week, at every practice, and even outside of group practices. In some cases we viewed some of you as surrogate coaches, giving one-on-one support when you saw the need. Just a very few examples include Genna helping during open water swims; Sally riding or running with people; John freely helping with bike issues; Bev sharing (and leading by example) how to stick with the Run/Walk method, Randy, Phil, Cathy… the list goes on!

TJ and Company coming down the red carpet to the finish line!
And then on race day, how many teammates were NOT there to actually “race” but instead were giving of themselves to help someone else succeed? We can think of many who did this. (So sorry to those we left out here!) Chris swim buddied for TJ (ask TJ what Chris would say to him!), Megan supported Claudia on the swim (later we found out Claudia was kicked in the head and was concussed), Tavish hanging with Abbe (a member of another TC team). And on the bike and run: Hilary, Tavish, Harriet, and Claudia. And we are certain there were others we weren’t even aware of.

When we think back we remember all of our swim buddies, helping volunteers, and supporters, many of whom are alumni who were just willing to help the newest crop of TC Tri-ers. They especially helped make open water swimming possible: Maria Elana, Kevin, Paul, Chris Holley, Tracy, Diane Borys, and Tom Bloom. Cindy and Brooke (and Denny) were part of “Team TJ” so that he was secure in being able to do his thing.

And how about our sponsors?! Merch2Rock, Mario’s company. And Dr. Ott (aka The Wizard of Ott) working his magic on some folks with injuries and keeping them in the game. And unofficially, Phil’s coffee company, Caffe Arci bringing coffee to many team practices as well as allowing us to meet at his warehouse.

We had guest speakers come out a talk about nutrition, strength and mobility, injury prevention, running shoes, and how to do “Killer Kat” workouts. We had honorees speak and tell their stories. We had mission moments to remind us why we were fundraising. We had jokes, laughs, serious moments, clinics to give you an advantage in training and racing, and group fundraisers.

So here are some random recollections from the season:
  • Last minute location and workout changes due to weather and other “issues”
  • Meeting for the big triple brick workout at Chris’ office - Recruit 121
  • Rain? What's rain?!
  • Pool swims, open water swims, runs, rides, bricks, a triple brick (ride/run x 3), and 2 swim/bike/runs
  • A little thing called a marriage proposal by Joel to Tam
  • The 3 Cartwright kids, Daniel, Whitney, and Kelly, always smiling and being positive
  • Aruna so concerned about the darn swim that she wanted to quit just weeks before the race. (Fortunately she stuck it out and crossed the finish line!)
  • Our top 3 fundraisers (Jake, Tayelor, Patrick) being former campers at summer camp for kids with Crohn’s and colitis
  • Puja being so sad when it was all over, knowing she would miss everyone
  • ALL the Minnows/Mannows and their swim success
  • The "pasta party" speech by Brooke (tears? uh, YES)
  • TJs amazing determination, persistence, and inspiration as he succeeded on race day

How many people made it on the podium? How many returning athletes improved from previous years? How many met or exceeded their goals (experiential, process, performance, and/or outcome goals)? Without naming individuals we’ll just say “LOTS”! What an amazing day and an amazing season.

We definitely view it as yet another successful year with some unique challenges, plenty of memories, and many pleasant surprises. We are SO VERY GRATEFUL to all of “our triathletes” for making this season what it was.

We have one final request of the team: please spread the word! Tell people about TC Tri. Tell people about the cause to raise awareness and find a cure. Tell people about your experience. And tell people what is possible.


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