Push to the Finish
Feb 20, 2014 by Donna Cowles
Last season was a season full of unknowns. It made triathlon training somehow easier to do. I didn't know if I could swim a mile. I didn't know how to ride my bike confidently enough to eat and drink while in motion. I didn't know if I would have the legs to do the 10k at the end. I didn't know if I could raise the money after just finishing a fundraising season prior. Because of all those unknowns I trained harder, and blogged on the fundraising page more. I had many trials and tribulations over that season. I had triumphs too.
Season 2 of triathlon still had unknowns, but they weren't worrisome enough I suppose to get me to swim 2-3 times a week. To bike twice a week. To run. And so I focused on being a team captain, urging others on their new adventure. I did quite a lot of volunteering hours to earn fundraising credit. Helloooo Gift Wrap!! I guess I've felt a bit of the sophmore slump this season.
Then all of a sudden event is 6 weeks away!! (Now, only 5!) Holy Cannoli, how did that happen? I don't even know. It wasn't even until a couple of weeks ago that I had a breakthrough in swimming, and finally this week had a great swim. Yahoo! Now I remember why I liked that sport. Coach fit my bike for me last weekend, and when I got myself on it yesterday to burn off some steam, it was great! No numb feet. Today I ran around Arroyo Verde Park. It was glorious. The view, the burning legs, the conquering of the trail, why haven't I been doing this all along??
I'm almost there, almost ready for my event. Just a couple more build weeks, a taper, and then Lavaman here I come! And this year, this year, I will put my face in that water no matter what, and I will swim. Fast. And the rest will be marvelous. We're also close to raising my goal. I say we, because I can't do that part without you! It's my final push to the finish in my training, and our final push to the finish in fundraising. If you haven't made your donation yet, it's not too late. It's 100% tax-deductible, and since I volunteered all those hours to raise the funds to cover admin costs, your donation will go 100% to the cause. It's life-saving. It's important. And best of all, easy to do.
Let's cross that finish line together shall we?
Open Water Swimming
Feb 08, 2014 by Donna Cowles
We reached the point in the season where we've gotten our swim base under us and we are ready to swim in the ocean. Well ready is a relative term. I am never really ready for it. Although we have been blessed with unseasonally warm weather and the ocean has hovered around the 60 degree mark, it's still cold to me. And scary.
I was trying to articulate this fear to my coach earlier in the week, and failed miserably. I don't think he understood it any better, and I felt frustrated that it continues to be an issue for me. As training day drew nearer, my anxiety about it continued to rise. I was determined that this year, this year I would NOT freak out. I am the team captain after all. I need to be excited, positive, and lead the way. Besides, we weren't swimming at that damn dam, it was the harbor beach I grew up frolicking at with my sister and friends.
7:40 Saturday morning I pull into the parking lot. Determined to be brave, but not quite succeeding. I am informed of sea lions and no buoys. Now, where most people react with excitement and awe at the idea of swimming with sea animals, I fall apart. Don't get me wrong, I love these animals. They are amazing, and special. But I do not want to swim with them. Well, I cry. Of course. But I'm mad at myself for it. I stomp my feet a little, try to toughen up.
Teammates start to arrive and it's business as usual. Circuit training, mission moment, coach talk. And then, dolphins! Everyone but me reacts with excitement at the sighting. We refocus ourselves. Coach Scott arranged to have a couple of his ocean swimming friends chat with us about tips, tricks, and techniques for the big ocean swims. These people are crazy! They swim with no wetsuit all year round. They like to swim for miles and miles. But I digress. As they talk, my nerves kick back in again. Sea lions, those cute whiskery, mischevious animals we have out there in the harbor, they say they like to mess with swimmers. Tease them. And here come the waterworks again dammit! I don't want to swim with them.
Talk time is over. Now it's time for action. We suit up. Once everyone is in their gear we do a quick team cheer and head down the beach to the water. We circle up for a quick run down of how to acclimate to the temperature, but I'm not really tuning in. My feet are in the water and it hurts! Deep breaths. We start walking out and I'm not ok. Cue the waterworks again. 3? 4 times today? Jeez. Coach says "someone give Donna a hug and put her face in the water."
Enough is enough. Stop being stupid. You can swim, you can do this. So with a little growl that may or may not have been out loud I take off, face in the water and swim for Tiff in the kayak. I swim for 10 strokes, 2 breaths/2 sightings, before I stop and look around and gather myself once again. I've made it nearly halfway out to the kayak. I put my face in again and go. After turning around and making it back to the coach, he tells me to go back again. I was not happy about that! But I did it. And then again a 3rd time.
I'm counting this as a victory. I may have cried. I may have not been as brave, or as positive as I wanted, or even much of a leader today. But I swam. And I'm blessed to have had the opportunity to do this. Truly blessed.
Can't Stop, Won't Stop
Jan 12, 2014 by Donna Cowles
Happy New Year! I have signed up with Team in Training once again to raise funds for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. This organization has been such a huge part of my life these past 5 years. They saved my life in 2008 unbeknownst to me. Participants just like me had raised money to fund Rituxan, which is the drug that helped me reach and remain in remission. In 2009 when I joined TNT as a participant, once again they saved me. I was a lost, and scared person searching for meaning in the ordeal that I had just undergone. TNT gave me purpose again, gave me support, strength, and most importantly, lifelong friendships.
It hasn't been without heartache though. Last year, just as I got the word from my doctor that I was "normal" (ha! yeah right!), I found out that one of our honored teammates Alicia Johnson had lost her battle against Hodgkin's Lymphoma. It was devastating because she was so determined to beat cancer, and in the end, her body had just been too weakened to fight anymore. Then just a few weeks ago, I found out that my friend's nephew had lost his fight as well. Another tragedy as he was so young, and had so much life ahead of him.
Last year to celebrate my 5 years of remission and cure milestone, I opted to change from marathons to triathlon. It was an experience like nothing else. It pushed me. It challenged me in all sorts of uncomfortable ways. It was beyond rewarding. Then I almost drowned. At my event. I came away with the best story of everyone, with a photo that pretty much says it all.
I decided that this year, I would fundraise again, and do the Lavaman Triathlon once more. I felt I had more to learn, more to give. And dammit! I won't let near drowning stop me! So, in memory of my daddy (who I hope would be proud of, not exasperated with my stubborness), in memory of Alicia Johnson, and Paul Hammons whose lives were taken too soon, and to celebrate all my friends who have beaten cancer, I will put aside my insecurities, my discomfort, and channel my emotions into conquering this .9 mile swim, 25 mile bike ride, and 6.2 mile run.
As our team says "Can't stop, won't stop, until we find a cure"
My Fundraising Page
Aug 10, 2013
Teams are made up of individuals. Without them, there is no team.
Welcome to my Team In Training home page.
I have a mission-to help find cures and more effective treatments for blood cancers. To accomplish that mission, I’m participating in a sports endurance event as a member of The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s (LLS) Team In Training. Like the other members of TNT, I will be raising funds to help find cures and better treatments for leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma. I’m improving the quality of my life by participating and with your support, I can help improve the quality of life for patients and their families as well.
Please make a donation in support of my efforts with Team In Training and help advance the research for cures.