Dear Friends and Family_

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Dear Friends and Family_ Powered By Docstoc
					                                                                                       July 2007

Dear Friends and Family,

It has been some time since our triathlon races and we wanted to let you know how things
went. This was a very special triathlon season as Amanda and I for the first time jointly
participated in the triathlon training. Because of the children, we had to employ lots of
babysitters to make the required workouts and managed more often than expected to jointly
attend training sessions. That alone was very special! We undertook numerous fundraising
activities (e.g. a quiz night with lots of prizes and a raffle) and managed to raise almost
$20,000 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Thanks to all of you for your generous
donations and support!

Training went well and two weeks before the Wildflower race Amanda and I felt that we were
ready for our races. Amanda had signed up for the Olympic distance and I for the first time
had registered for Half-Ironman race. My brother Stefan had come over from London to race
with us in memory of our brother-in-law Hartmut who had passed away from Leukemia in
September 2006.

The Monday before the May 5th event,
Amanda’s back began to spasm and
she found herself in excruciating pain.
Due to a mysterious injury in her lower
back, she was unable to sit up, unable
to stand. Obviously Wildflower was not
going to happen for her this year!
Nevertheless, Amanda and the children
came along as planned and Amanda
spent the weekend as a spectator with
a purple cowbell in her hand, cheering
for us and our teammates! Our older
children, Alex and Fredi enjoyed a
weekend of camping by the lake that
saw up to 40,000 people participating
or spectating over the three days. It
was great to have Amanda there, but
bittersweet for her, since she would have preferred to be competing.

I had an astonishing race for the first time battling a course that was about twice as long as
what I had done before. Fortunately, the weather was warm, but not scorching as I had
experienced in previous years. The cooler weather came at the expense of a strong wind that
whipped up the lake water and created surface ripples that made the swim more difficult and
slower. Once I was on the bike I felt the strong headwind that ended up being with me for
what seemed like three-quarters of the race. Thanks to my new bike which I had only ridden
for the first time a week earlier, I managed the most challenging climb at mile 37 (“Nasty
Grade”) in much better shape than expected. From there it was mostly downhill into the
transition area and I still felt strong and energized for the run. By now it had gotten much
hotter, but the wind still cooled us down as we were running the beautiful but challenging
course. Lots of water (most of it over my head) and much cheering from fellow TNT athletes
and onlookers propelled me further as my legs started to tire. With a mile to go and a long
downhill ahead of me, I had been on the course for six hours and 52 minutes and took on the
challenge of making it to the finish in less than seven hours. With a last burst of energy and
downhill momentum, I crossed the finish line in just under seven hours. Stefan also did a
fantastic job at his first Olympic distance triathlon. He had trained by himself in London, had
                                                                                        July 2007

to overcome jet lag and climate change and yet completed the course in under three hours.
We all had a fantastic weekend with lots of memories and stories to share.

The next task was to help Amanda recover and let her complete her first triathlon. The spring
season officially has two races and I worked with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society to get
Amanda into the King’s Trail race which was to take place in mid-June in Maui (Hawaii) giving
her six weeks to get over the back injury. She saw her chiropractor 2-3 times a week and
brought her range of motion back to a normal level. Although she was unable to train for
those six weeks and her cardio fitness level really dropped, on June 8th she boarded a plane
in a back brace, loaded with Aleve and ice packs, and set out to participate in her first event.
Here’s what she has to say about King’s Trail:

My jersey and my heart were prepared with the names of all my honorees written on them.
The morning of the race began at 4:30 as we rode our bikes over to the race hotel in the
dark. As the sky began to lighten, we set up our transition area. Most of the 500 athletes
seemed nervous; for at least half of us it was the first triathlon. We placed our bikes on the
long rails, laid out our equipment, stretched, admired each other, did our hair in tight braids,
took photos, hugged, shared stories, cried, and hugged some more. At 5:00 the body
marking station opened up and we stood in line to get our numbers written on our arms and
legs. Then it was official! We donned our age group specific swim caps and gathered on the
beach. This triathlon is special not only because of its setting, but because of the intimacy of
the event. Only 500 athletes participate and nearly 80% of them are with Team in Training.
The entire group gathered on the beach at 6:45 for a blessing given by a local priestess with
flowing hair donning multiple leis. She had us put our arms around each other and gather in
rings around her. The warm wind was blowing over our skin, the song she sang was a
beautiful local hymn and she spoke of love and giving. It was a very humbling but
inspirational beginning to the day!

The swim was physically tougher than I’d anticipated due to my lack of training but the views
in the water were spectacular. I saw three giant sea turtles and lots of fish in the crystal
clear depths of over 30 feet. I took my time getting to the bike as I was rather dizzy upon
leaving the water. The cycling leg had become my favorite over the course of my training
and I was really looking forward to getting back on my bike again. I had a good first few
miles of the two loop 26 mile course; across most of it we had fantastic views of the water
and coastline and sometimes it was easy to forget that we were competitors in a race!
Constant shouts of “Go Team” echoed along the streets as people in purple cheered each
other on. Our small coaching staff and friends were extremely vocal which really gets you
psyched up to perform. Sadly I experienced a lot of trouble with my back again at the
halfway point. I allowed myself to take a break and slow down and was able to finish the leg.
The run was difficult (it was much more hilly than I’d been told by a certain triathlete I’m
close to) because I literally could not lift my legs up the hills. So, I walked the many ups and
ran the downs and levels. The path was three miles out and back across sacred, untraversed
lava fields which are breathtakingly impressive in their structure and vastness. Despite the
heat, humidity and back pain, I was very pleased to come across the finish line in just under
4 hours.

While Amanda and I were proud of our personal achievement, we often thought about
Hartmut during the race. His race of endurance against cancer was so much harder and more
serious than anything we did on the triathlon course and even his strong will and personal
persistence did not prove to be sufficient to win that critical race for life. While we cannot
finish the race for Hartmut, we can take on these events as a symbolic challenge to elevate
the cause of fighting blood cancers and support additional research through the funds we
                                                                                       July 2007

We appreciate your continued support for this cause that has become so personally
important to us. Thank you for all the words of encouragement, the interest to learn more
about Team in Training and its fabulous program, your participation in fundraising events
and your direct donations! It’s been a privilege to be doing this with such a fantastic support


Jens & Amanda