Monday, January 20, 2014

Tap into the journeys of paratriathletes

For some time I've been wanting to write about paratriathlon. Today, Martin Luther King Jr. Day. seemed like a good day for it. Dr. King was so courageous, had a clear vision of what was possible, and was steadfast in his commitment toward goals. I find those qualities in abundance among the paratriathletes I have gotten to know or have learned about in the past year.

In my work with Team MPI (whose coaches John Murray and Mark Sortino served as Head Coaches for Team USA Paratriathlon in London), I've enjoyed email exchanges with a number of paratriathletes. Then in London, I had the privilege of serving as Sarah Reinertsen's handler (preferring to call myself "transition assistant") for the ITU World Paratriathlon Championship. That experience made a big wonderful impression on me!

I wished I could bottle up and share the can-do energy, the focus, the determination, and the grit of the athletes I watched training and racing - sightless athletes running so fast upon ground they could not see, prosthetic legs swapped out faster than we change shoes, and wheelchair athletes finishing races with bodies, arms, and minds drained of their deep reservoirs of power and endurance.

While I couldn't bottle up and share their energy, I could collect up and share their blogs and tweets that are full of insights, reflections, and lessons for all. So over the holidays, I gathered paratriathlon blogs onto a Paratriathlon Page on the TriCrowd website. I began with USAT's published list of National and Worlds Paratriathlon team members and searched for websites, blogs, and twitter names. I created a twitter list of the paratriathletes (and related organizations) that anyone can subscribe to and follow. There is also a blog feed to keep up with the latest from this group of paratriathletes. The page is not complete, but it's a start. If you know of others, please pass them along!

I would encourage you to explore the TriCrowd page and learn more about the athletes of paratriathlon, a sport that will make its Paralympic debut in Rio in 2016. With that ahead, things will really heat up this year!

I am so glad to be part of a sport that thoroughly includes para-athletes. They remind us that triathlon is about setting off on a journey toward our own personal best. We just need to start from where we are at this moment, and work with what we have right now.

The journey is the reward.