As we come up on our very last ‘Group Training Session’ of the season, before the big race next week, I have been reflecting a lot on the start of this season, way back in November. It’s not that long ago–but it has been a long journey. This was my first season as a ‘coach’ for TNT–I guess that completes a journey for me as well, since I started with TNT back in 1998 when I did Boston for this great cause, and followed that up with New York in 2000. Strange. I never worked out with the Team back then, never met a coach, mentor or any of the other Teammates–but I did run in Purple and I raised a good amount of money– but keeping it real, I never thought about the people that I was running for–not out of selfishness or anything like that–like many people, I had no experience with cancer, and I had no idea what lymphoma or leukemia was.
Five years after New York, I was hit with stage-4 non hodgkins lymphoma. When I was sick, people that I didn’t even know were out there running for me–and because of that, I am alive. And although it has not been easy–I am able to run again–so now I run for those who can’t, with a $100,000 goal for this year. As you can imagine it means a lot, and it would also mean a lot if you gave us a donation–simply visit www.runningtocurecancer.org and click the donation link. There are people out there who are fighting for their lives right now who would thank you–but they can’t- not yet–so I’ll handle that for them- THANK YOU!
Here is something that I sent to my Team in the early stages of the group–it was just an email describing the entire process, as I see it, of joining the program and sticking with it from start to finish, starting with attending a TNT Recruitment meeting.
It’s not easy, but it sure is worth it. I have 25 awesome people, including Ted, Glorisa, and Ashley–my wonderful Mentors–who are about to complete this trip– they are currently at about 125% for the fundraising goal that was set for Team Wilco- as I said many times before but really mean it–Team Wilco is just ‘bad ass’ in every way.
So here’s the fictional story that I came up with to encourage Team Bad Ass….and we weren’t exactly so ‘bad’ in the beginning–I am not sure if anyone even read it to be honest–so check it out now!
And of course…GO TEAM!
I had said there would be another email, and here it is–I wanted to address, in my own words about why these first GROUP TRAINING SESSIONS (GTS’) are so important and how it may even be a little bit of a struggle to get there. I hope you take the time to read this- it’s all sincere.
In my experience with TEAM IN TRAINING, which has now covered every aspect, first as a participant, then a patient who was reaping the benefits of the research that the money you raise pays for– then a mentor and fund-raiser, and now coach. I have had a lot of time to think about the steps of this process- I know many that have experienced all of this from start to finish-
1) First you have to hear about Team In Training–maybe you had a friend who did it and lost weight in the process or a friend or relative who was hit with a blood cancer– or you simply saw the flyers and got yourself to a TNT recruitment meeting.
2) Getting yourself to the recruitment meeting is the first big step–you were curious enough to get home from work, have someone watch your kids, and get to the meeting-
3) Once you arrived at the meeting, you most likely watched the TNT video, which still makes me want to sign up, even after watching it 5,000 times–next you heard a Coach, Mentor, and TNT Office Representative speak.
4) You may have gotten so caught up in the moment that you registered that night–most do–and then you have to go home and tell your spouse what you just did–”are you kidding,” says your hubby. “What about the kids–how are you going to raise all that money!”
*Note that many times the scenario is on a more positive note but just roll with me here and assume that it was not great.
5) You have 2 weeks til’ the first GTS–the holidays are coming up–you’re feeling guilty about making hubby watch the kids for a whopping 90-minutes on Saturday morning–you have trips planned for the holidays to the in laws in Michigan and your family in Atlanta. You can’t possibly make the first GTS, so you plan for the 2nd–some pain in the neck TNT coach calls to see what’s going on and you delete the message 4 seconds in–by this point hubby stops talking about it hoping it ain’t gonna happen–and so what that you spent $50 or $100 already to register–no big deal–it’ll go to a good cause
6) You think about getting to that 2nd GTS–you’d love to do this, get in great shape–put that 13.1 sticker on your car–raise the money, help the world be a better place– but really- can I really raise that money–we have to buy all kinds of video games and gadgets for the kids for Christmas and I’m supposed to buy running shoes at $100 or more! And I also feel guilty about this being selfish…so….what do I do?
7) The phone rings again–now it’s one of those pesky chicks from the LLS office–followed by your mentor calling–and you go to bed that night weighing the whole thing in your head, maybe getting out of bed and going to the computer and the TNT website while what’s his name drifts off to sleep- you watch the video again–it gets to you, and you think how great it would be to do this, raise some money, make a difference, and get that 13.1 sticker.
8) In the morning (it’s Friday by the way), you tell your husband that you’re going to go out and buy running shoes–and that you’re doing this after all. With that, you whisk out the door and get yourself to the running store–not even turning around to look at what’s his name, so his facial expressions don’t get to you.
9) On Saturday,You show up at GTS and the first time in a long, long time you’re running maybe 2-3 miles. It feels very gratifying. Before running you met some really nice people and notice that they’re all ages,shapes and sizes–and you think “I can really do this!” You also heard a Mission Moment from someone running for a relative or friend going through cancer, and you think how this money you’re about to raise, may just keep someone alive- you’re starting to feel good-
10) Weeks later you run 10-miles for the first time in your life, you’ve made a lot of great friends and have hit your $1200 fundraising minimum. Back at home you see that everything is okay without you for a couple of hours on Saturday mornings. And you even like getting up early to go see your new friends on Saturdays–by this point, you find yourself looking forward to the next GTS by Tuesday.
11) You finish the race–and crossing that finish line is better than you imagined–you find yourself crying and hugging people that will now become lifelong friends–you’re hooked and you did it!! On top of that, your family is proud of you for sticking with this program and completing a half marathon! Mom is a hero.
12) The 13.1 sticker goes on your back window and it feels pretty damn good parking that baby at Publix.
See you Saturday Team- the journey has just begun-