Friday, May 20, 2011

Got to Start Somewhere

Hello, everyone!  Thanks for checking out my blog.  I'm not going to lie...I've tried started a blog two or three times before and I've given up after a few entries.  This time will be different because I have a cause fueling the fire!

This first entry is to just familiarize you with this whole Team in Training concept.  I first heard about this organization from one of my college roommates, Emily Ferner...well, now it's Emily Elmore!
About a year ago she ran the Nike's Women's Marathon in San Francisco.  It really impressed me considering how steep the course is in San Fran.  I am also inspired by one of my sorority sisters, Lauren Rinck.  She started out with a Team in Training Triathlon a few years back and now she is a professional Triathlete! Way to go, Lauren!

The Cause

Team in Training (TNT) exists to find a cure for leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease and myeloma. It also looks to improve the quality of life of patients and their families.  There are currently more than 747,000 Americans living with blood cancer and every ten minutes a life is claimed by it.  Leukemia is one of the leading causes of death in children between the ages of 1-15.  The good news is that the survival rate has risen from 4% in 1960 to 86% in the last decade.  This is in part due to the money that The Leukemia  & Lymphoma Society has raised to aid researchers in their fight to find cures for this disease.

TNT is the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's largest fund-raising program, bringing in nearly 98 million dollars this past year alone.  Each participant in the program pledges to raise a certain amount of money during the 4-5 months they train for their event.  I have set a personal goal to raise at least $5,000 for doing the Oklahoma City Redman Triathlon and 75% of every dollar spent at the Society goes to research, patient services and education.  I am raising money in honor of a few family friends.  As soon as I get a few pictures, I will post their stories in a future entry, so please stay tuned!  In the meanwhile, here is my personal fundraising page.  You can donate online through the please pass it along!

The Event

TNT offers nearly endurance events including marathons, cycling, and triathlons.  I enjoy running but I wouldn't go as far to say that I LOVE it. So the idea of running 26.2 miles does not sound like a fun idea. A triathlon switches things up by doing an open water swim, cycle, and run.  Other events offered fly participants to all different parts of the country.  While I love traveling, I love the idea of doing the event right here in my new home, Oklahoma City.  The Oklahoma City Redman features an Ironman and Half Ironman course.  I am doing the half which is a 1.2 mile open water swim in Lake Hefner, a 56 mile cycle course, and a 13.1 (half marathon) run.  The run alone seems ambitious considering the only I've ever done is a 10K (6.2 miles).  Granted, it wasn't just ANY 10K.  I ran with my friend, Leah Rubertino, in Johnson City, Tennessee about a year ago for a Saint Patrick's Day event.  I thought I trained by the steep hills of Tennessee and the cold, rainy conditions kicked my butt! Hey, I got through it without stopping and that's all I hoped for!

Swimming is the reason I chose to do a triathlon.  I have a strong swim background.  I started swim lessons at the minimum age of 6 and graduated at 8. Since I graduated so young, my mom didn't know how to keep me entertained while my little brother finished swim school.  She ended up enrolling me in the park district swim team the PIONEER PIRANHAS, and my love for competitive swimming began.  Pioneer pool also gave me my first (and possibly best) job as a lifeguard and swim instructor for most of my high school summers.  I continued swim team through high school and earned the title of JV Captain!  I loved joking and swimming with all of my friends.

Moving on to college, one summer I was a camp counselor at the YMCA's Camp Lakewood in Potosi, Missouri.  My experience at Camp Lakewood could be a whole 'nother blog entry because I LOVED it!  The point I want to make here is that I swam in the Lake nearly every day.  By the end of the summer a few of the other camp counselors and I swam the long way across the lake - a little over a mile.  For this reason, I know I'm capable of doing a 1.2 mile open water swim!

Cycling is a different story.  Apparently my old school Target-priced Schwin will not cut it for this one!  I've gone on bike rides from time to time and even rode on the Katy Trail in Missouri on my mountain bike.  The most I think I've ever ridden is 8 miles.  So I have NO idea how to get up to 56 miles especially since I don't even own a bike!  Well, I changed that last part a week ago by dropping a whole ton of money on a road bike.  I had NO idea how expensive bikes an get!  I purchased my bike through one of Team in Training's supporters, Steve Schlegel.  Last Thursday I spent almost 3 hours learning about the different types of bikes and equipment and getting a custom fitting session.  What I learned is there are mountain, hybrid, road, and triathlon bikes.  For my race the most appropriate choice would be a triathlon bike but they are HELLA expensive! I am talking about a starting price of $1,500.  FOR REAL.  There are bikes in the store that go for $14,000! Can you believe it?!  I guess people drop thousands of dollars on fancy cars so it would make sense for people to do the same for bikes.  Unfortunately, meteorology does not pay like an NBA allstar so I stuck with a mid-price range road bike.

Here it is! It is a Cannondale. People have asked me specific questions like what gauge? I don't know. I'm pretty clueless in this area.  What I DO know is that I am happy with my bike.  After buying the bike, I learned how to take the wheel on and off and load it into my car.  I drove to Lake Hefner and I felt like I flew around the lake! These bikes DO go really fast.
We've all seen them...the hardcore cyclists wearing their helmets, sunglasses, tight outfits, and nerdy padded shorts.  Well guess what? I'm one of them now! Sidenote, the padded shorts are a life saver...but it does feel like I am wearing a diaper.  Awkward!  Here's a picture from my first group ride! 2 days ago I went on a ride with the Oklahoma Bicycle Society.  They are a group of amazing people!  These 2 guys (plus one...but he rode his bike home) coached me through 25.1 miles! I went from 8 to 25.1 miles! AWESOME!  There was so much to learn.  Shifting gears is key.  I learned to add resistance when going downhill and lessen the resistance when going uphill or into the strong Oklahoma wind.  They also taught me how to DRAFT. I love drafting.  Basically, it's when you scoot up right next to the back wheel of another cyclist so they block the wind for you.  Too bad I can't do it on race day.  I will definitely be riding with this group again.  Tomorrow is our TNT training day and we will be going on our first TNT group ride.

Thanks for joining me on this journey and please spread the word and stay tuned!


  1. Great cause Emily. I lost a co-worker and dear friend, John Trevino, in Sept to Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. He fought it for 5 years and I watched as each of his four chemo treatments slowly sucked the life out of him. I was there in the hospital, in the "end of life" room, when they rolled him in because the disease had progressed to a point that there was nothing that could be done for him. He was so scared...I held his hand and told this 52 year old man that I loved him. His breathing in the end is the worst thing I ever experienced.

    Emily, what you're doing by raising money for a cure of this life stealing disease that leaves nothing but sadness and heartache in its path is nothing short of heroic. Thank you.

    One of your many facebook friends,

    David Herman

  2. David,

    Thanks for the inspirational story. I will make sure to think of your friend, John, during my training and race day. I'm so sorry you had to suffer through the loss of a dear friend. I hope my small contribution will help end blood cancers once and for all! Thanks for your support and please spread the word for people to donate towards the cause...every dollar counts! Here is my fundraising page where people can conveniently donate online -