Forward Motion
Sep 21, 2013 by Laura Hollis


That happened.

A few months ago, I wondered if I was going to make it to the recommitment date for Team in Training’s Triathlon at Pacific Grove event.

On the day of the event, (some would say ‘race’), as I stood on the beach after having dog paddled around a bit in a safe area of the ocean to get used to feeling the cold and salty water upon my face, I waited for the horn to go off and start the cluster of purple-capped participants. Of which, I was one.

I took that time to reflect on the most current leg of my journey. I thought back to when I quickly spewed out ‘Sure!’ when asked if I wanted to try this event with TNT. I don’t think I even considered to what extent the training would take me, physically; didn’t even take a moment to ponder the challenges I surely had ahead of me during the training season, as well as up to and including the event, itself.

I blindly tumbled forward into and throughout this new adventure - at times, quite literally.

What I learned very quickly was I would not to be completing the swim portion without some major changes in my (lack of) freestyle form. My first foray into swimming with the team left me with extremely sore shoulders.

A few weeks earlier, I had an accident on my bicycle. I found out during this swim just how naïve I was for not having gone to the doctor directly after the accident and not going to any kind of physical therapy to help get motion and range back to my shoulders.

I soon went to a doctor and started physical therapy. I also got some coaching from the physical therapist on some different freestyle strategies that could save some wear and tear on the muscles and ligaments around the shoulder area. Those of you who know me (even slightly) well, won’t be surprised to hear I also researched everything I could about the correct freestyle form and how to help prevent injuring or causing further injury to the shoulders.

I was focused and I was determined to get that part down. I’m not a fan of pain, you see. And I do not like it when pain forces me to quit.

Let me rephrase that – I do not like it when pain makes it seem as if I should quit.

So, I turned most of my energy and focus and thoughts to swimming and working on doing this, and other activities, without causing further damage to my shoulders.

Because I concentrated so much on this, I may have ‘lacked’ focus on the other events.

I felt as if I could do the bike segment without too much of an issue. It was only 25 (ish) miles, after all. I’ve routinely ridden far more than that distance only recently. So I hopped on the bike and rode just long enough to remember what it is supposed to feel like, and to get used to transitioning from swim to bike to run.

Oh…the running.

That was there, too. There was no lying when I was told I had to complete this portion in order for me to say I’ve ‘completed the event’ and go about greedily grabbing my finisher’s medal from the nice ladies in the finishing chute amidst the festive balloons. After which, I was to be able to call myself a ‘triathlete’.

I knew going into this, the run would be a challenge. And if my past was any indication, I would lose the battle. I must admit, this knowledge ‘may have’ caused me to run away from running more often than face it. It is incredibly disheartening to want to be able to do something you feel you should be able to do, only to have certain limitations get in your way.

I mean, I’ve got all the right equipment, I’ve got the knowledge, and “I can.” But, at times, I couldn’t.

I may not have beaten this ‘run’ thing, but I have made huge strides in my training this season. I was able to log more consecutive running minutes and miles than ever before. More than I would have imagined on day one. My legs still won’t let me run pain free 100% of the time, and I’ve yet to find any steadfast remedy – whether it be stretching, taping, crying, complaining, walking – for the pain in order to ensure better odds of running pain free, but I’ve made progress.

Forward motion.

I wanted to say thank you to all who have supported me, both by donating on my behalf to this great cause which will help to fund a cure, and by simply listening to me or reading my little entries here. None of the your support has gone unnoticed!

Stay tuned for the next chapter!

SLOW...it's the new FAST!
Aug 01, 2013 by Laura Hollis

I had to wait a week to write this entry. I needed to be sure it wasn’t a fluke or a one-time thing.

It has happened twice now, so it must be real.

I ran.

Without intervals. Without walking. Without so much as a curse word escaping my being.

I ran.

Slowly. Methodically. Deliberately. Constantly aware of aches, pains, inhaling, exhaling.

I ran.

To most people, it wasn’t far. To even more people, it most certainly wasn’t fast. But to me, it is leaps and bounds beyond what I’d ever hoped to accomplish. To such an extent I don’t even know that I can express the feelings here.

I ran.

Waiting to Exhale
Jul 24, 2013 by Laura Hollis

So, here’s something I’ve learned while strolling through the latest segment of my Journey:

“You must first unlearn everything you think you know. Only then will you learn everything you need to know.”

If you asked yourself “What Journey?” after the first sentence above, you can get all caught up on my rantings, ravings, whinings, musings and awakenings by checking out my site – gottobeme.com.

Or not.

You know.


Anyway, in my last post I talked about swimming and how difficult I thought it was; far more difficult than I had imagined.

When I speak to people who, like me, only remember swimming in their younger years, (back when swimming meant frolicking around in a backyard pool where there may have been a volleyball net, beach balls, floaties, cool tunes emanating from the fancy square white 8-track player (possibly, the rock and roll duo playing on said device was Kristy and Jimmy McNichol, but, really…who knows?), youngsters carrying other youngsters on their shoulders in a dangerously dangerous game of “Chicken” where the loser on the top of the loser on the bottom stands a very good chance of cracking their head open on the metal siding of the above-ground Doughboy), they simply look at me in dismay - only slightly prior to their laughter breaking out.

To them, I say “Hey! Knock it off!”

I don’t want to appear too violent, you understand.

I’ve actually stopped telling people outside of the Team about my swim issues. I’ve discovered they just don’t understand. And that is fine.

Inside the Team, I’m still trying to wrap my head around the fact there’s little-to-no frolicking in the pool, lake or ocean during training. No floaties or music or games. Just drills and distance.

Oh…the distance. That nasty little culprit sneaks up on me every time!

During my last training session, when it was explained to me what was expected of my swimming self, I almost had to take a little ‘personal’ break. But, I held it together. I put my head down (almost didn’t even complain beforehand) and began. Luckily, underwater, no one can hear you curse!

The assignment was kind of a simulation of what we might experience during the race. We were required to do two loops around some buoys. Between the loops, we had to exit the water, run around a point on shore and then get back into the water to complete the course.

I surprised myself and, might I say, made myself quite proud when I finished the first loop. I ran (read: lumbered) towards the spot on shore – which happened to be one of the coaches – and was perfectly fine calling quits for the day. I mean, after all, LOOK what I had just accomplished!

Those same thoughts were not in the coaches head. Even through my fogged goggles, I could see the "Get back in that water." face she was wearing. So I started back to the lake. I believe I stated out loud that I could not do another loop. I may have actually said that as I fell onto my back, surrendering to the water around me.

I needed to stop. It was too hard.

Someone waved their arms at me to summon me further out into the water in order to get started on the final loop.

“If it was easy, everyone would be doing it.”, she called out.

I couldn’t argue with that, even if I had the energy to form words – which I did not.

So, I rolled over and put my head down and went arm over arm out into the open water. (Side Note: This is a HUGE thing for me. It didn’t even occur to me to respond with “Well then let THEM do it!”, as it would have in the past. So…there’s that.) I didn’t think about anything other than my breathing and my form. I concentrated on those two things in order to keep everything in check.

I didn’t do it pretty and I certainly didn’t do it fast, but I did it.

It was just another workout where the Team helped me get through the hours (minutes, really) of swimming with patience and support.

People are often curious about what led me to the Team and about the status of friends or family that have gone through some form of Cancer treatment. Surely, they think, I have a personal connection to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) and its mission, for which Team in Training (TNT) is relentlessly raising funds.

The truth is, when I joined TNT, it wasn’t because of any life altering ‘event’ or because I knew of anyone personally or have had loved ones who have gone through any form of treatment for Cancer.

As I’ve stated in other posts from other TNT events and on my GTBM site, I joined for mainly selfish reasons. There. I’ve admitted it again. No matter how small it makes me look.

I wanted to get proper training for riding a bicycle and I’d heard great things about Team in Training. So I gave it a shot.

It wasn’t long before the selfish reasons morphed into a bigger picture. With each passing week and as I learned more about the function behind the function of TNT, I came to understand the Team exists to conquer far more than the physical challenges we put ourselves through each day in order to cross the finish line in our respective events.

The money raised by TNT participants has enabled LLS to fund millions of dollars of research to help advance new treatments and cures for leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma, and provide critical education and support to cancer patients and their families.

Many participants on all of the Teams are themselves, current or former Cancer patients.

These “honorees” continue to be living proof that what TNT and LLS have pulled together to form has been a great success.

There's still time for you to be a part of the bigger picture!

Please consider making a donation on this page. Know that 78% of all donations will go to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society IN OUR AREA and 100% of ALL donations are tax deductible.

One stroke...One pedal...One step...Closer to a Cure!

Jul 09, 2013 by Laura Hollis

(Note: To save you the time, I took the liberty of looking up the definition of "swim" in the Urban Dictionary.

Here's what I found:


1. Swim

S - someone

W - who

I - isn't

M - me


You're welcome.)

When I registered for the Triathlon at Pacific Grove, I had to force myself to complete the form right when I thought I might want to take the chance and participate. Granted, I may have had a glass (or so) of wine beforehand, but I knew if I waited even a few minutes, I may have talked myself out of the whole thing and simply gone about my summer without really having to do much at all except maybe catch up on some sleep or television shows.

I do not envision myself an “athlete”, you see. In my head, this type of event is reserved for the athletes around me.

Somehow, some new “friends” I’ve met through my time with Team in Training (TNT) were able to convince me to give it a shot.

“If I could do it, anybody could.” they said.

"It'll be SO FUN!" they said.

It is only a few weeks into training and I’m already wondering if ‘anybody’ can actually be me. I also have to assume the 'fun' begins once I figure out what I'm doing, should that happen at all.

I mean, it is only three events, right? And each event is only a short distance (in comparison to other triathlons), right?

I’ll be able to do the cycle segment, I know this. Initially, the run portion was what I was most apprehensive about, as I’ve never really been able to run any distance without pain. I was told I could walk some or all if I needed to, so I’m okay with it now.

I’m more of the ‘I just want to finish.’ than the ‘I want to finish ahead of you.’ kind of participant. So walking will suit me just fine, thank you.

When I first looked at the course, the swimming segment did not cause any doubts for me. Sure, I haven’t been in a pool in years. I don’t even remember when I’ve been in a lake, river or other large body of water at all for any reason other than to cool off quickly on a hot day.

I’m not afraid of the water. I felt like that was half the battle.

Turns out, the battle is larger than I had anticipated.

At this time, I become exhausted after just floundering about in the pool for twenty minutes (or less). Which has me asking myself this question:

"How am I supposed to swim – with some actual swimming maneuvers sprinkled in for good measure along the way – for nearly a mile?"

We had our first ‘open water swim’ with the team recently. It felt very odd being out in a lake with the sole purpose of swimming to buoys for training.

From the shore, the floating orange oasis looked so far away. But from just inside the lake, while treading water and trying to breathe what will soon feel like my last breath ever, it looked like a mirage and it was even further away than before.

Apparently, I’ve got issues.

It didn't take long before I determined the swim out to the turnaround wasn't going to happen for me if I wanted to live. So I turned around and headed closer to the shore in order to get some more practice time where I could focus on my "form". The coaches force me to call it that.


Some nice young woman saw me bobbing and sputtering anxiously as I searched for the ground beneath the water so I could stand and whine...I mean rest...for a minute.

She insisted I go with her and she was kind enough to give me some pointers on breathing and some tips on how to improve my technique. (Yup - I'm forced to call whatever it is I do "technique", too.)

Mind you, she did so while sacrificing her own training time in the lake with the team.

In the end, I swam much further than I thought I could and I was able to breathe a little better while doing it.

I know I still have SO much to learn and so far to go before I am ready for event day. Many factors go into this swimming thing that were not even on my radar. I guess I'm naive. But that's okay. We all have to start somewhere if we ever want to finish anything.

And therein lays the focus of TNT. They are, first and foremost, dedicated to raising money for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) in order to fund research which will help stop leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin lymphoma and myeloma from taking more lives.

It is the method by which they are doing this that continues to astound me. Together, those of us who run, walk, cycle, swim and hike with TNT are all part of one Team, and it is growing more and more powerful every season.

Along the path to raising funds, the individuals that form the Team actually become, themselves, coaches and mentors to others. Regardless of whether or not they carry the 'official' title within the TNT ranks.

The person who helped me stay in the water rather than escape back to the shore while nobody was watching (I know I'm fooling myself, here. There is always somebody watching.) is a prime example of Team.

There was absolutely no reason for her to stop her training and help me work on mine.

She had nothing to gain, yet she stuck with me without my so much as asking for her to do so.

She, and all of the others like her, are the reason I will continue to come back to Team in Training. While the core purpose of funding a cure is certainly motivation enough, having the opportunity to work with other people who have that same common goal and focus is priceless.

We are training most days of the week for some upcoming event all over the country. Wherever you are, as you look around you, you are bound to see TNT purple at some point. Those are the people who are out there raising funds and working towards the day when hearing the words “You have Cancer.” may directly be followed by the words, "But, that's okay. We've got ways to beat it.”

I can. Therefore, I will.

Try What?
Jun 18, 2013 by Laura Hollis

NOW look what I've gone and done.

You might wonder what the bleep I'm thinking, signing up to compete in the Triathlon at Pacific Grove in September.

To tell you the truth, I'm wondering the same thing.

It's been a few years since I first opened the curtains to cautiously peek outside the window that kept me in my comfort zone and the rest of the world...out there. Since that time, I've come to learn a lot about myself.

I've learned it isn't just about me. It is about the challenge - and not only the challenge of completing an endurance event. Sure, that's all good and nice; but the most important reason to power down the TV and get off the couch is to help others in the battlle many are facing, and far too many more have lost.

In the last two years, I've completed training for America's Most Beautiful Bike Ride - a bicycle ride that took me 100 miles around Lake Tahoe in both 2012 and 2013. In order to complete the training, I worked with the Team in Training (TNT) group in my area.

I am once again joining forces with TNT. This time, with the help and support of the coaches, mentors, captains and friends, I will be working towards the goal of finishing my first triathlon, and I will do so in honor of all individuals who are now fighting or have ever fought blood cancers. These people are the real heroes on our team.

All of us with TNT are raising money for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) in order to help fund their research. That research will help stop leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin lymphoma and myeloma from taking more lives.

I believe we are close to finding a cure for blood cancers and, consequently, a cure for all forms of cancer. You can help make that belief a reality.

Here's how you can make a difference:

Join me in my efforts to fight these terrible diseases by making a donation in support of my endeavor with Team in Training.

Every one of us has the opportunity to have an impact. Give all you can and know you are changing lives. Take comfort in knowing 78% of every dollar given goes directly to the Society's mission in our area and 100% of your donation is tax deductible.

The Mission of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS):

Cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families. LLS is the world's largest voluntary health agency dedicated to blood cancer. LLS funds lifesaving blood cancer research around the world and provides free information and support services.

The Short Term Goals for LLS:

Each year, LLS moves closer to their goal of finding a cure for blood cancer. This year to support their mission, they'll be focusing on these specific goals:

  • Continue to fund blood cancer research projects that offer the best chance of accelerating development of new, promising treatment therapies
  • Give more people with blood cancer access to clinical trials
  • Give all people with blood cancer – at every stage of their journey – access to the information and services they need to fight and manage their disease

Supporter Comments

    "Miss running with you, but you have committed yourself to a cause much greater than just "getting off the couch". Glad to make a donation! Bike happy!!!!"

    Charlene Shon

    Tue May 28 02:02:04 EDT 2013

    "Laura, here's to a great ride, for a great cause! You'll make your goal!"

    Lorri Peterson

    Tue Jun 04 06:23:36 EDT 2013

    "you go, girl"

    Ellen Fraser

    Tue Jul 16 12:53:24 EDT 2013

    "You can do it!!!!"


    Thu Jul 25 04:15:06 EDT 2013

    "YOU RAN!!"

    Debi Gedecke

    Mon Aug 12 03:48:09 EDT 2013

    "You can do it!"

    Deidre Bryant

    Mon Aug 26 08:36:30 EDT 2013

    "Burrito x2"


    Wed Aug 28 11:20:43 EDT 2013



    Wed Aug 28 11:22:35 EDT 2013



    Wed Aug 28 11:24:20 EDT 2013



    Wed Aug 28 11:25:43 EDT 2013



    Wed Aug 28 11:29:11 EDT 2013



    Wed Aug 28 11:30:36 EDT 2013

    "Keep that bustle mushy Hollis...run, ride and swim strong!!!!"

    Brits on a Tandem!!!

    Wed Aug 28 11:31:21 EDT 2013



    Wed Aug 28 11:32:15 EDT 2013



    Wed Aug 28 11:33:34 EDT 2013

    "Bx13-check for cash"


    Wed Aug 28 03:16:38 EDT 2013

    "Burritos x2"

    Bill D

    Wed Aug 28 12:25:55 EDT 2013

My Fundraising Total

Raised: $2,700.00 | Goal: $3,000.00
90 %

Make a Donation

We are sorry donations are no longer being accepted for this participant for this event.

My Thanks To

Anonymous $130.00
Anonymous $100.00
Debi Gedecke $100.00
Anonymous $50.00
Anonymous $50.00
Ellen Fraser $50.00
Lorri Peterson $50.00
Charlene Shon $50.00
Deidre Bryant $40.00
Anonymous $30.00
Anonymous $30.00
Anonymous $30.00
Anonymous $20.00
Anonymous $20.00
Anonymous $20.00
Anonymous $20.00
Anonymous $20.00
Anonymous $20.00
Anonymous $20.00
Bill D $20.00
Anonymous $10.00
Carson Wilcox $10.00
Brits on a Tandem!!!  
Chaquitta Hutchison  
Mary Caulder