Thursday, 31 May 2012

3 more weeks until Team LIVESTRONG Ironman France

In a little over three weeks on Sunday June 24th, I will be lining up at the start line of Ironman France with Team LIVESTRONG.  Up until about 6 weeks ago this looked highly unlikely, well I had actually decided to not go ahead with it. I can honestly say 6 weeks later that it has been one of the best recent decisions I have made deciding to just go for it come what may.

I have been very lucky as a lot of elements started to fall in to place once this decision was made. I have really the most absolutely brilliant Coach, and I would say to anyone, if you want to achieve something like this, or try too, get yourself a Coach. A good Coach who gives you a really sound plan and who also listens and understands what is going on with you; well you cannot put a price on it. Claudia Spooner has literally transformed my entire experience of training for Triathlon.

Training wise I feel amazing, very tired but great. I honestly don’t know if there is enough time left for me to get to a point where I am for sure strong enough to last the distance but at the same time on every other level I am so happy I was able to pick up this journey and make the best of it, both for myself, and for LIVESTRONG.  To get an opportunity to rediscover my love for swim, bike and run and how it makes me feel so happy and calm and focused has been a huge gift if nothing else. I really hope the experience of Ironman France is going to be the first of many forays of mine into this wonderful world of long distance training and racing.

LIVESTRONG mean so much to me as an organisation and It’s great that I can give back in some small way to them at the same time. It was just a little over 3 years that I became involved with them and I really feel that they have a great deal to offer the Cancer community when it comes to tackling head on with determination and focus our foe Cancer. Importantly, as well as their many initiatives and campaigns and programs , they also focus a large amount of their resources on thinking about people, the cancer survivors needs and what is best for them.  They have a very people centric focus and I know from observing other LIVESTRONG Leaders and from reading other testimonials of people, who have received help, hope, or education from LIVESTRONG, they have all said this, That LIVESTRONG is about people. 

I will be proud to wear my LIVESTRONG Tri vest on June 24th and I think it makes you consider the bigger picture more when you are racing and raising money for a cause.  For me recently it has made me consider how much it means to people being able to get out and utilize what they either do best or enjoy doing for something greater than themselves, either for individuals they know, or for an organisation itself. They use their bodies to race on behalf of those who cannot, we see it all the time with the Team LIVESTRONG athletes, all of their stories of raising money and racing for friends and family affected by Cancer inspires and uplifts me. Then in a really profound story I came across a few days ago people can race for a cause and for themselves ,so one day they can draw much needed strength from what they were once able to achieve..

 Chrissie Wellington posted a video the other day about Jon Blazeman, she talks about him a lot throughout her biography and how she does the Blazeman roll crossing the line at the end of every Triathlon she races , in honour of John who died from ALS ,also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, it is a progressive degenerative disease that attacks the motor neurons, or nerve cells, in the brain and spinal cord.  Jon was an athlete who had competed in many multi-sport events and after being diagnosed in 2005 he immediately started racing to raise awareness about this heart-breaking disease. He had always wanted to do an Ironman, most especially in Hawaii, he became the only person with ALS to complete an Ironman, and the video is just so astoundingly moving.

 In it John is basically appealing to us all to live our best lives, to save our own lives. He wanted to do an Ironman so he would have that thought in his mind once he was in a wheelchair. It was so profound; to help set his mind free he used the sport of Ironman to get there. To achieve the impossible using an unimaginable mental fortitude he must have possessed. There is something incredibly powerful about the human mind set upon doing something for themselves that they deeply want combined with their desire to raise awareness for something else that means so much to them, this powerful mix is probably why we see so many people achieving the impossible.  - As Chrissie Wellington said on her tweet “If you watch and RT one thing today please make it this” – Jon Blazeman Iron man journey on YouTube - link to the LIVESTRONG official blog as if you roll down through a few of the posts you will get a flavour of the “people” focus I am talking about.