Friday, July 14, 2006

My Focus, My Team

Last night many of the team members along with their friends and family gathered in a hotel ballroom for one last time before the big event. We had well over a 130 people enjoying a good pasta meal while listening to incredible stories about team honorees and speeches by the staff and coaches. Some stories were new to many people like when a teammate shared that her husband had passed away a couple of years ago after battling Leukemia. I don’t think anyone on the team knew her true motivation for joining TNT until that moment. The evening was full of laughs, good conversation, and of course a few tears. The emotions can run high at such an event, but it was the perfect way to cap off a season that started back in February and will end tomorrow at the Lifetime Fitness Triathlon.

There were two special moments for me last night at the pasta party. The first was during the speech that our coach gave to the team. She surprised me by giving a very long and personal thank you for all my efforts this year. I’m not the greatest at accepting recognition, but it was very endearing to hear her talk about the difference that I had made throughout the season. Of course she had to throw in a few stories about how much of a nubie I was last year which was good for a few laughs. She then presented me with a very nice gift certificate for a local running store. I was then shocked when I went up to the gift certificate that everyone stood and applauded. I can’t say that I’ve ever received a standing ovation before so it was quite something to be up in front of a room full of people standing and clapping.

As if the standing ovation wasn’t enough I was treated to one more surprise. This one almost had me in tears. I say almost because I have to keep up my hardcore triathlete persona at all times. hehe As people were leaving a small group of my teammates were talking and asked me to come over. Not sure what was going on SafetyBob went into more thanks and appreciation stuff, I’m serious they almost had me crying like a baby, along the lines of what our coach had said. He then went on to say that sometime next week that I would be receiving a package in the mail. The contents of which would be a gift from them as a token of their appreciation for all that I had done this season. I was completely overwhelmed and amazed that this group of people who do this for me. As I said before I’m not the greatest when it comes to recognition and thanks, but I couldn’t help but be thrilled and very thankful that these people had done this for me. Even after all the laps and miles I made them do throughout the season they were grateful. At the same time I’m grateful for them and all that they have accomplished this year. To see a group of strangers come together as a team. To support each other and grow as athletes and individuals is simply amazing. So a special thanks to Kim, Dan, Hiromi, and the fore mentioned SafetyBob.

So tomorrow when I’m struggling through the sweltering heat I will be thinking about my team. I will be thinking about all that they have accomplished over the past few months. I will take pride in the fact that so many people challenged themselves to try something new while raising money for a great cause. Even when I’m hurting tomorrow I will do my best to smile in recognition of the 100+ team members that had the courage to step up to the starting line and at will cross the finish line as triathletes. Tomorrow I race for my team. Who everyday inspired, motivated, and encouraged me to continue to show up and push them and myself to really see what our true limits are. They haven’t been reached yet and hopefully they never will. In closing this year my Lifetime Fitness Tri is for all the members of the 2006 Philly and Lifetime Team in Training Triathlon teams. As much as you thought I was helping you, you were all helping me just as much and for that I am forever grateful. GO TEAM!

11 Comments:

Anonymous Audrey said...

.Wow. Congratulations. That is amazing. How cool is everything you wrote about?!! Ahh, the power of sports and what it brings out of people. Your team is great. Good luck this weekend!

1:12 PM  
Blogger mouse said...

good luck tomorrow, mike. and i'm sure no one would think of you as any less "hardcore" for crying, especially when such heartfelt thanks was being given. :)

2:12 PM  
Blogger runnergirl said...

Good luck with the race, and what an inspiring post. I'm currently training for my second event with TNT, it's amazing!

7:36 PM  
Blogger TriSaraTops said...

Awesome! You definitely deserve it! :) Have a great race!

8:57 PM  
Blogger Habeela said...

No wonder you love being part of TNT! Having a group that recognizes and appreciates its members that much is invaluable.

6:52 AM  
Blogger Kimmi said...

It's not over, It's just the beginning. I believe you told me that.

8:48 AM  
Blogger Kimmi said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8:48 AM  
Blogger Kimmi said...

P.S. I know something you don't know! smart ass

9:52 AM  
Blogger SafetyBob007 said...

Mike, you truly are a great insperation to us all, many thanks to you for everything you did for me and the team.

P.S. Great race on Saturday. Safety Bob

6:41 PM  
Blogger shadoweyes said...

aaaw Walchka, that is great. I'm glad you have been recognized for your hard work. I have no doubt that your work kept people going when they had doubts about themselves.

6:59 PM  
Blogger Nic said...

Congrats, Mike. No matter what happend out there on the course, you have a lot to be proud of. But I think you did well, given SafetyBob's comment, so hurry up and tell us already!

9:22 PM  

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