I’ve been fortunate to see so many ladies train for their first Iron Girl through Team Fight over the last several months. It’s made me so proud to watch many of you perfect your stroke, run faster, and get up those ugly hills! It reminded me of my first Iron Girl and all
the questions and fears I had. Do I NEED to clip in? What if I can’t get to the kayak fast enough? What if I don’t make the cutoff? What if I’m not strong enough? What was I thinking to believe I could do this?!?!!?
The funny thing is that I still have these fears and insecurities. They haven’t gone away, but I no longer let them paralyze me with fear. Yet I keep them tucked away in a corner of my mind. I know they are there, ready for me to pick them back up, but I won’t. I want all those negative thoughts to sit there and watch me be better, stronger, and more in control come race day. (Hey fear! You’re not the boss of me!)
You don’t HAVE to be strong enough all by yourself. There is no ‘I” in Team FIGHT.
Don’t get me wrong, I AM strong enough on my own, but the beauty of Team Fight, is that I’m never alone, and neither are you. I always either have a Team Fight brother or sister nearby believing in me. I’ve completed several races, but never with a real purpose to fuel my fire. The Ulman Cancer Fund has changed that for me this year. Now, when I want to sleep in or cut a workout short, I force myself to recall WHY I fight. It’s what motivates me to keep moving. I fight because I HATE cancer. I may not ever get to stand on a podium, but I’m going to give cancer a butt kicking in my own way. I know you will, too. Draw strength, close your fists tight, then get in there and show cancer what you’re made of! I often tell my Team Fight sisters, “You’re not an aluminum girl, you’re an Iron Girl. Fight!”
When I participated in my first Team Fight event in 2010, it was as part of a relay team for Half-Full 70 with Theresa Symonds and Julia Skinner. I only snatched up the swim leg because it was the part that terrified me. Makes sense, right? WRONG! That’s when I met Brian Satola. If the poor man had seen me coming, I would not have blamed him if he had wanted to run away…but he never did. EVER. I was full of doubt and fear that I couldn’t make the 50 minute swim cut off. He reassured me several (and I do mean several) times I
could do it. I’d be fine. I’d always feel better after a tall, reassuring hug from him, but wondered, “How the heck does this guy know I’ll be okay!??!” (Don’t you hate when people know stuff you don’t know?) I chose to believe him…because I couldn’t rely on my own opinion of myself. I think that’s all I needed. And for that, I’ll be eternally grateful to Brian and Team Fight.
So the best advice I can give anyone with race morning jitters is to stay calm, close your eyes for a second, and tune in to how your legs, arms, and back have carried you this far. How they will perhaps, be pretty spent at the end of your race, but not broken. In fact, you’ll be stronger. Think about how amazing you are to be dressed in yellow and blue representing Team Fight. You KNOW these colors look good on you. You are strong, calm, confident, yet humbled to be doing something truly amazing in the name of young people everywhere fighting cancer. Look for me if you want, I’ll be looking for you. And if you know me well enough, free hugs abound! Let me, through osmosis, take over your fears and insecurities. I once thought my broad shoulders were created to be a pro linebacker. Instead, during this amazingly blessed season in my life, they are meant to help you carry what you need to let go. Don’t forget, when you’re in the water, on your bike or running, you’ll hear me before you see me. Thank you for inspiring me every day to wake up and do the best job I can. You are all like me – you ROCK!