Friday, September 22, 2006

An Open Letter of Thanks

Often, the most honest acknowledgment of thanks is to feel humbled, to feel both diminished and empowered by the act of another. Humbled by the gestures of a larger community. Humbled by ones own inclusion in a plan or a goal. Humbled by feeling as though you are important for one moment or a special reason. Humbled by connecting with strangers for the mere reason to feel human.

And today I feel humbled. Very humbled.

Weeks ago, inspired by the efforts of Tri-Geek Kahuna, Iron Wil, and the whole Alliance, to establish raceAthlete, I shot off a note to TGK and Wil telling them how I had come to be a triathlete and what that meant for me. I never intended the “note” to become the short story that it did (and if you know me, I tend to be…er…wordy?), but the words spilled out and they were patient enough to read them. And the words were personal, and very true.

You see, triathlon came to me following a dark time in my life, when I felt that I lacked what I so desperately wanted to regain – my integrity. Following through on promises, making the most out of every moment, showing up when needed, being there for those who relied on me. And slowly, though months of plodding through (very) early morning workouts and trying out charity 5K races, I began to redefine my own expectations and regain the fabric of a life well lived. Was the timing a coincidence? I doubt it. In fact, I doubt greatly that I could be this person without all of the discipline and planning that triathlon demands.

And Kahuna, forever seeing possibility in places you wouldn’t expect it, suggested he post my story for others to read. And I agreed. Mainly because I no longer had anything to hide. And I was no longer in hiding from life.

And now I am humbled by your generosity. By your willingness to put a bit of your self forward to help me get to the IMmoo line next year. To trust that the collective effort is worth your part. By your willingness to listen to my story, and maybe take pieces of it back to your own life or possibly to share with a friend or loved one going through the same transition.

I am looking at the next year of my life as both a journey to an Ironman -- which will carry with it the inherent training nightmares and emotional revelations -- and as an opportunity to give back. Triathlon has provided me with an extremely valuable tool – finding ability in unexpected places. I want to help others find that ability, too.

So, I am pleased to report that IM Able is now in full motion! School’s in session and it’s time to get it on! Following a wonderful conversation with the Canine Partners for Life staff yesterday, they are thrilled to be identified as the recipient of the IM Able fundraising efforts for this coming year. While the technical side of it is being worked out, please visit their site here and take a moment to see what they do. Because these people get up every morning and inspire others and make the impossible possible for hundreds of people.

For all of those who put themselves out there to help me get to IMmoo – please accept my sincerest thanks. I will do my best with this endeavor. I will train hard, I will engage others, I will share, and I will give back. I will make sure that others know that they, too, are…

Able.

5 comments:

ClareUK said...

Good luck- I read your letter and it brought tears to my eyes. I wasn't in a position to contribute financially but wanted to wish you good luck.

I'll be checking in regularly to see how you go.

Eric said...

Have you considered raising funds as part of the Janus Charity Challenge? I did that for Ironman USA this year and it was great. You may want to look into it.

I'm looking forward to following your journey to IM MOO '07.

Tri-Geek Kahuna said...

you ROCK.

TriSaraTops said...

Congrats, and welcome to the IM MOO club! You will have an amazing year. :)

SimplyStu said...

Welcome!!!! I can't wait to follow your journey to IM Wisconsin! It is going to be a blast!