The summer has officially begun. How do I know this? No, not because it’s the summer solstice yet (not for another month!), but because the Team In Training Summer Season Kick-Off was tonight, and hence, it is now summer as far as I’m concerned.
It’s become tradition for me now, for the last 5 years, to sit in a crowded ballroom at some hotel and meet some excited/nervous/overwhelmed newbies about to start their first season training with us, catch up with old friends, and get re-inspired by the amazing people we’re privileged to get to know and raise money for throughout the season: our Honorees. Every kick-off starts with a video that shows us these very Honorees, the people behind the cause, and every single time I see this video (or any video from TNT, for that matter), I end up bawling like a baby. Tonight was no exception–and I ended up crying harder than I’ve ever cried in any of my previous 5 summers of doing this.
I knew going in tonight that this was going to be a tough kick-off for me, with Siobhan’s passing less than three months ago. But I didn’t think it would be this hard. From the moment the lights dimmed and the song on the video started to play, I felt my heart start to seize up, and by the time the words scrolled on the screen and it mentioned all of the “angels” we’ve lost along the way, I was a goner.
Words can not express how much I miss my friend and how I wish she could be here with us–I would much rather be telling her about my upcoming season than having to do this in her memory. But I don’t really have a choice, and I have to press on and honor her as best I can.
The next 5 months are bound to be grueling, and the actual events I’ve signed up to do (my “hat trick” of three consecutive events: San Jose Rock ‘N Roll Half Marathon, Royal Victoria Marathon, and Nike Women’s Half Marathon) will no doubt be demanding. But I only have to remind myself of the sobering thought that no matter how hard my training and events will be, none of it will compare to the brutal experience Siobhan had in her last 6 months here on earth. I can never take away that pain she went through, nor the pain that her family and those she left behind are having to deal with now, but I can help give back to a cause that can hopefully prevent one more person, one more family from having to go through this.
Siobhan, I hope I make you proud this summer–and every other summer after this.