This is a blog for the strong, the determined, the wild. In the past ten years more than 100 have joined the triBE on a journey to BE strong, to BE fierce, to BE triathletes. We are dedicated to the belief that anyone can BE a triathlete and support each other in every endeavor. Our team members are all sizes, speeds, and ages. This is our story.

"When anyone tells me I can't do anything, I'm just not listening any more." ~Florence Griffith Joyner

If this isn't enough you can read more from me here:

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Reflections: Anne Marie Stricklin

Anne Marie Stricklin
As 2012 began, I had set out with a few goals in mind for the upcoming triathlon season.  I was excited to participate in Danskin (even though they moved the venue to Clermont), improving on my finish from last year's race and wanted to return to race again in Vermont at Sprint Nationals.  I slowly began training at the beginning of the year to start getting back into shape.  My fall is super busy and I can never seem to find enough time to fit in workouts. 
Everything changed for me on Tuesday, January 17th.  The day started out just like every other day, getting the kids ready for school, heading off to the bus.  My daughter got on the bus and then I drove my son, Andrew, who was 4 years old at the time, to Star Child Academy in Oviedo where he attends K4.  I dropped him at his class and on my way out, the owners of the school asked to speak with me. It felt like I was being called into the principal's office, figuring Andrew was in trouble for something.  He is a boy and at times doesn't want to listen or follow directions. I figured that is what it had to be. Boy was I wrong!  The owners (whose children I taught to swim) sat me down and told me that one of Andrew's classmates was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor and her chance of survival was 0%.  I was stunned, shocked, upset, you name it, those emotions came out.  How could this be?  Andrew and Caitlin have been in the same class for the past 3 years.  She was only 4 years old.  This isn't fair! 
As the days passed after learning about Caitlin's diagnosis, it became a roller coaster of emotions for us.  We would have good days and sad days. The community turned out for a wonderful show of support for Caitlin on February 11th in a Brain Tumor Awareness 5K.  It was extremely special for us as it was also Andrew's 5th birthday.  There were celebrations when Caitlin finished radiation and then lots of tears and uncertainty as she became the first human to have experimental surgery on May 1st in NYC.  This past Saturday, we attended her 5 year old birthday bash (and I'm not lying it was the most amazing party we have ever been too) celebrating a brave little girl that has made each of us stop, dance, and enjoy the time we have with each other.
So you ask, what does this have to do with the triathlon itself.  For me, the experience we have had since January is to live each day as best as we can and prioritize what is really important in life.  If I missed a workout, I'm not upset with myself, its alright.  If my race doesn't go as I planned, there will be others.  I dedicated my race to Caitlin and thought about her the entire race.  I wear a "Cheering for Caitlin" wristband everyday (I never take it off) and I promised Caitlin back in January that I wouldn't take it off until the "bump went away." 
Race morning came and the Orlando Sentinel ran a beautiful article on Caitlin and her family.  I knew ahead of time there would be an article but didn't realize it would be on the front page. I did read the story before I left the house.  Right before I got ready to race, my mom mentioned to me, you can do this, for Caitlin.  I began to choke up as I realized that she is always in my thoughts, and it's hard for me to go a day without thinking about her and the rest of the family.
My race was alright until I got to the run.  I had this horrible side stitch that wouldn't let up.  I had it the whole run and definitely made me slower than I hoped for.  In the end, I finished the race disappointed in my performance. Then I remembered that pain that I felt during the run wasn't anything in comparison to the pain that Caitlin and her family deal with on a daily basis.  Reflecting back on these past 5 months, I have to say that my race was a success.  I was joined by many women of all ages and abilities that accomplished something that they never thought they could.  That is what Danskin is all about! Live each day with no regrets and don't fret the small stuff.

You can find out more about Caitlin here and a watch a video of Caitlin here

No comments:

Post a Comment