The sport of triathlon provides us all a platform to race for many reasons…not just to run bike and swim, but to compete, to win, to challenge ourselves and for some of us to fight. Fight for those who can’t be there with us today, who are battling disease, or for charitable causes. REV3 Triathlon supports so many in this passion to fight, and has it’s own charitable beneficiaries that they take pride in supporting. My journey to being a part of Team Rev3 begins here, with their involvement in the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults. Their commitment to UCF over the past few years including charitable donations, race partnerships and events such as the Run Across America has provided so much support to those young adults affected by cancer.
I was able to connect with the Ulman Cancer Fund about a year and a half after I was diagnosed with cancer. Through my involvement with UCF, I raced, coached, volunteered and thrived in my survivorship. With each finish line, I not only learned about myself, I learned about others who fought…and dedicated every race to those who were fighting. I’m the girl with all those letters on the back of my legs.
Through coaching I met one of the most special people, my “sister” in survivorship, Julie Lanahan. She’s a beautiful, inspiring woman, and the reason I continue to race and to fight. Her story began just over two short years ago after giving birth to her fourth child. She was diagnosed with Stage 2b Breast cancer, and underwent a bilateral mastectomy, endured 6 rounds of chemotherapy, 6 weeks of radiation, a full year of Herceptin and 10 surgeries. I had the joy and privilege of coaching her in the Cancer to 5k program that next year to run in her first ever 5k race. Her inspiration and courage was contagious! She raced the 5k again the following season, and then signed up for the Iron Girl Triathlon, where we participated in a relay together. Just months later, she proudly crossed the finish line at the Half Full Triathlon with her husband and son as part of a relay team. Julie and I have this symbiotic relationship…her amazing spirit, courage to live, and kind heart have taught me so much in the short years we’ve been together as “sisters”. It keeps me racing, training and working to stay positive when life can easily get you down. She tells me I’m the reason she’s embraced survivorship, health and wellness. I tell her to never give up…as we keep living life with this half full attitude. So lucky that UCF has brought us together.
So here we are mid-July, and as we reach the half way point thru our year of racing, I challenge you to sit back and think of why you train, why you race? Is it the just the lure of the podium? Or is it a cause, a person, a loved one, an inspiration that keeps you coming back for more. REV3 Triathlons are full of inspiring stories. As you run up behind me in my Team Rev3 kit, just know that always in my heart is the Ulman Cancer Fund, and on my legs you will find the initials of those cancer survivors I’m racing for. Be sure to look for JL among them!!