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THE HAUL TO THE WALL
Let's get one thing straight: this is about me. What I mean is, I've found some other reasons for racing, people to help get inspired and fit, causes to raise money for, a point of connection with the little athletes my kids are becoming. But I'm doing this because I like it. I'm doing it because I know I'm good at it, I enjoy the hell out of it, and they send me dramatic photos of my twisted and pained body crossing the finish line. It is a massive, egotistic, and selfish pursuit, and I know it.
So I can rationalize the egotistic side of this with some altruistic pursuits. I can pick some high-profile events, train for them, tell people about them, and attach the exposure to a worthy cause. And my worthy cause is Youth Homes, more specifically the Bitterroot Youth Home. This is where you click the highlighted site address, www.youthhomes.com and I let those much better suited than me explain the organization, their needs, and what they are doing in western Montana. I was recruited to their board to help establish a home in the Bitterroot Valley in the mid-90's, and as of today that home has served over 400 at-risk kids ages 8 to 18.
Each year I travel to the USAT National Triathlon Championships (last year was Tuscaloosa, this year it's Burlington, Vermont) to see how I measure up against the rest of my age group in short-course triathlon. Do well at Nationals, and you get to go to the World Triathlon Championships - held in places like New Zealand, Germany, Australia, and this year Beijing, China. I have qualified four times for Team USA, and was fortunate enough to make the team for China this year.
So we're going racing. In China. In September. And we're gonna raise a BUNCH of money for the Bitterroot Youth Home. When I last qualified (Australia, 2009) I did a similar program, and we raised about $10,000. This year, I have loftier goals on the performance side - I want to make the top 10 at Worlds (the highest I've ever placed is 32nd). And I want to raise another $10,000 for the Bitterroot Youth Home.
The "we" I'm referring to is you and me. I'm going to train, blog, race, blog, promote, and bug you, and $5 at a time, we're going to raise Ten Grand. Obama's 2008 campaign did it that way, a little bit here and there, and a lot of Facebook. I will update you on training and lead-up races, and let you in on the pain, hilarity, and poignant moments of the preparation process. Along the way, you may be inspired to get out there and do something, ramp-up your own program, or just look at this all and say "that's the dumbest thing I've ever seen. I'm having a beer."
The ITU World Triathlon Championships are being held September 7-11 in Beijing. I will be racing in some lead-ups over the summer (Alcatraz, New York, Nationals, and a few local races) and documenting the process, updating everyone, and begging for the loose change in your couch. The effort culminates at The Great Wall, Sept 11. This is the Haul to The Wall (I did not come up with that - I stole it.)
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