Fit to Be Tried

by julie on October 9, 2011

I’m helpless in the face of tragedy.

I don’t know what to say. There’s nothing productive that I can do. I try to put myself in the other person’s position, but the only thing I’d want is to be left alone. If you can’t prevent it or fix it, what’s the use of talking about it?

My friend Heather died. I couldn’t go to her before she died. I couldn’t make it to her memorial service. I didn’t have the slightest idea how I could help her husband and daughters in a concrete way. All I could do was think about her — what she meant to me.

I went out running one beautiful day a few weeks ago. As I pounded out the miles, I hatched an idea. Something I could do. Something productive.

I can’t bring Heather back. But I can honor her memory and help others in a way that would be meaningful to her (and will hopefully be meaningful to her family and friends).

A couple years ago, I posted on Facebook that not having a tattoo makes me feel rather rebellious. My fellow triathlete Heather quipped, “Waiting for an M-dot?”

I chuckled at that. For me, completing an Ironman triathlon was as unlikely as getting a tattoo.

Or so I thought.

In 2012, I will complete the Boulder Tri Series — the 5430 Sprint Triathlon, the Boulder Peak Triathlon, and the Ironman 70.3 Boulder. I’ve done the 5430 Sprint three times and the Boulder Peak twice, but this will be my first half Ironman distance race.

How does my goal relate to Heather, apart from our Facebook exchange? Her family requested donations to the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults. So in addition to finishing these three races, I have a fourth goal: To raise $10,000 for the Ulman Fund.

The name of this project is Fit to Be Tried. (Thanks to Kristen for her cleverness!) I’ve created a fundraising page on ChipIn. Contributions will go to a PayPal account and be transferred to a savings account, both of which I’ve set up especially for this effort. On August 10, 2012, I will get a cashier’s check made out to the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults for every last penny raised between now and then. Whether it’s $10 or $10,000, I will be proud of having done something concrete in Heather’s honor.

Oh, and the half Ironman for myself. Mustn’t forget that.

Over the next ten months, I’ll post weekly updates on my training — what I’m learning, where I’m struggling, what’s going well and what needs work. There’ll probably be a lot of philosophizing too — why I’m doing this and why I think more people ought to do the same.

If you’d like to donate or help spread the word about Fit to Be Tried, I’d be most honored and appreciative. Email me at juliemarsh72 AT gmail DOT com to learn more.

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