Welcome to T-Day ... Triathlon Day. My very first one at Keuka Lake.
Getting here was a journey that involved an incredible amount of self reflection and individual effort.
But I certainly did not arrive to the start line by myself. What follows is an incomplete list, in no particular order, of people whom I'd like to thank:
Steve Jones, my sports editor, who believed in the whole "Journey to the Finish Line" project from the moment I suggested it in passing. He, and the rest of my colleagues at The Buffalo News, have been incredibly supportive. Of course, Steve's main concerns, in a true journalism compassion, is that I didn't drown while doing this project and that we got good photos to run with my stories.
My parents, who listened to my training stories and encouraged me even on days when I thought I would never learn to swim.
Sherpa, my boyfriend who calls me out when I'm being a headcase, drives me around from event to event and makes sure I drink enough water.
My brother, who will play along with the "What time is it? Game time!" gag while reminding that nothing, and I mean nothing, is harder than math. So this triathlon thing will be a piece of cake. Mmm. Cake.
My sister-in-law, who inspired me with her own weight loss story. I also owe her a ton for serving as Julie-the-cruise-director for this weekend's festivities.
The Women's Quest staff, especially founder Colleen Cannon and Jacqueline Stanford, who shared their life stories and prompted me to think about what I wanted to do with my one wild and precious life.
My Women's Quest Sisters, who supported and encouraged me. Special thanks to the kind words from Margy, Michele, Carolyn and Pat.
Darlene. You can make good friends at the gym and she's an example. Darlene got me through those winter workouts indoors and became a true confidant in the process.
Mary Eggers, my coach who dealt with the big bag of stuff I brought to training. She kept me on track, kept me from going nutty and helped me realize just how much I could accomplish if I stopped thinking and started being.
The Train-This! Team, who answered my email questions and shared their sense of humor.
The Buffalo Triathlon Club, which welcomes newbies with open arms and endures all sorts of basic questions. Special thanks to Joe, Paula, Mark, Eric and Sergio for their encouragement.
Swimmaster Greg Murnock, who patiently watched my stroke, watched me wiggle around the pool and gently corrected what I was doing wrong. "Hey, I can do that," I would say to Greg when he'd give us a workout. "Yes you can," he would tell me.
Jenny, whom I met recently through Train-This, Coach Mary and master's swim practice. The contents of our individual bags of stuff are very similar, which makes it easy for us to talk about training. She also helped me learn how to properly use some of the gears on my bike in one simple ride.
Margot Page, for the hockey bag that was on its way to the dumpster. It has served me well as my training bag.
Debbie Sullivan, who graciously helped me learn to swim and taught me how to properly wear my goggles and swim cap.
My local college contacts. The people I cover on a regular basis have been incredibly supportive particularly the Big 4 women's basketball coaches, Brian in sports info at UB (who worked really hard to get a mention in one of my blogs) and the Canisius sports info team who always had a comment or question about my training.
You, the blog reader. I have received many posts and emails from people who have competed in triathlons or marathons and offered encouragement. I am touched by the many stories people have shared with me, from their first endurance event to those who have been inspired by my journey to start their own. I am incredibly humbled by those emails and am grateful for those who have shared them with me.