Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Guest Post - Team In Training

Hi!  Time for another guest post, this time for a topic near and dear to my heart.  Team in Training is a wonderful program, and one I fully plan on participating in once I am running for one again.  Thanks to Tabitha for doing such a great job of breaking it down for everyone!

Hi y’all,

I am Tabitha from Tab.A.Dilly, and I am so excited to be writing a guest post for Racheal today.
When she asked me to write a guest post regarding Team in Training, I was both honored and
scared. Why scared, you ask? Well, because I can only hope that I can get you as excited
about Team in Training as I am. It is a great program, and I only want to do it justice!

P8120230

What is Team in Training (or TNT)? (Visit them *HERE*)
- TNT is the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s (LLS) sport endurance training program. The
program provides participants with the tools and resources to tackle endurance events, such
as marathons, half marathons, century rides, and triathlons, in exchange for fundraising for the
LLS.

What is the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society?
- “The mission of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) is: Cure leukemia, lymphoma,
Hodgkin's disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families.

LLS is the world's largest voluntary health agency dedicated to blood cancer. LLS funds
lifesaving blood cancer research around the world and provides free information and support
services.

Our Key Priorities will ensure that: The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society helps blood cancer
patients live better, longer lives.” -LLS Webpage

If you have been involved in any endurance sport community for any amount of time, you have
probably seen the purple TNT jerseys at a race or two. (I, myself, have seen numerous TNT
triathlon suits at the triathlons that I have participated in, in my short tri career.) You may have
wondered why or how to get involved, or maybe you looked into it only to be scared away by the
fundraising minimums... Well, let me tell you my story:

Recently, cancer had hit too close to home one too many times, and then, my mom had a
cancer scare. I was beside myself in worry, while we were waiting for more tests and
confirmations. I did not know what to do, until I came across someone else’s blog and their TNT
story. (I wish I knew what blog it was; it isn’t one that I saved or read regularly.) I was inspired,
and while my mom was not being tested for any blood related cancers, one of my friend’s father
was fighting myeloma, and this was the organization that was providing help to him. As I read
more about the organization, I learned that the research funded by LLS was being used to find
cures blood cancers, but being used for other types of “tumor cancers” as well, and they
provided patient care in both big and small forms. After I read that they have provided taxi fare
to chemo patients so they would not have to take public transit, was when I was completely
touched and decided I was doing this. I was a new runner, but I was already training for a half
marathon, so this was a perfect fit. I immediately signed up for Nike Women’s Marathon in San
Francisco in October, and I have not looked back or regretted it one bit.

TNT has provided me with a coach, mentors, team workouts, injury prevention clinics, apparel
clinics, fundraising guidance, my fundraising page, and every other possible thing I could have
needed to both raise my minimum goal and to prepare for my first half marathon. I met my
$3200 minimum fundraising goal, two months before my big race, with ease because the
organization gave me so many tools and opportunities to raise the money. So if you have
considered the program, only to be scared away by the fundraising, please don’t be scared.

Along with providing you with the help to fundraise, they, also, do not make you commit to
anything until half way through your training. For example, for my group - 10 weeks before the
big day, we had to recommit.

Recommitment is the time where you consider what your fundraising and training are at and
determine if you want to continue. For most people fundraising is the big consideration during
recommitment. If you have not met your minimum at this point, TNT does ask that you place
your credit card on file to guarantee the remainder of the minimum. This is because the
organization does arrange for your travel, hotel stay, and race entry fees; therefore, since they
have to make arrangements, you need to guarantee the remaining portion (if any). Please note:
They do not charge your card without your permission, and it is not until much closer, if not after,
the race. You do still have the remaining time to continue fundraising. Most of my team had not
met their minimum by recommitment, but now we are six weeks until the race and most of them
have completed their goals!

TNT trains for over 200 endurance events a year, and you can choose whatever event best
suits you. Pick a local one, which will probably have a smaller fundraising requirement, or
choose an event in another country, which will probably have a much higher requirement. You
can train with a team locally or you can train on your own “virtually.” You can attend as many or
as little team runs/ workouts, clinics, social events as you want- there are no requirements
regarding your time. Maybe you are a seasoned runner/cyclist/triathlete, and all you need is
help with fundraising... You can do fundraisers with the team and/or chapter, or you can chose
fundraise alone. Maybe you want to reduce your fundraising and use your frequent flier miles to
fly, no problem. My point is- You can make your TNT experience your own, that is the beauty of
it. You are able to help fight blood cancers, but you can also do it on your own terms, whichever
way you choose.

Personally, I could not have asked for a better program at this point in my training. I do not know
that I would have continued running to this degree during the summer heat on my own without
inspiration and schedules, and I have met some wonderful, inspiring ladies during all of this. My
fundraising was going so well, I surpassed my goal, and signed up for a second TNT event; in
fact, many people I have met in training with TNT are alumni. These people want to keep
coming back! When I wake up early on Saturday morning to run in the Texas heat and humidity,
I remind myself not to complain because those cancer patients have it much worse than I do. I
am not getting up and going to treatment to fight for my life, I am getting up because I am
healthy and able to run. I am blessed that I can do something for others, and I am blessed that I
can run, and I am blessed that my mother’s cancer screens came back clean the second time...
others have it much harder, and I just want to help.

I hope I can inspire others to race, at least once, for a charity of their choice. What do you think?
Have any of you participated in a charity program such as TNT before?

Thank you all,
Tabitha

P.S. If you have any questions about something I did not cover, and you do not want to leave it
in the comments, you are welcome to email me at tabadilly@gmail.com!

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