Well, it’s been mighty quiet here on the blog for a while, but it doesn’t mean that nothing’s been happening. Quite the contrary. As you faithful blog readers know, I am training for another triathlon, this time a true sprint tri with a 750 yard open water swim, a 17 mile bike ride, and a 5k run. For a 57 year old woman with rheumatoid arthritis, training is not a walk in the park.
This time around though, I’ve got major help and the main reason the blog’s been so quiet of late is that I haven’t trusted myself not to spill the beans before the time was right. But I’ve been given the go ahead and so today, I can make a pretty exciting announcement!!!
As you know, being a triathlete isn’t cheap. Of course, it’s not quite as expensive as horse racing – my bike doesn’t require daily feeding or vet care – but it does require special triathlon tires. And, the bike, to begin with, is a big investment. No clunky mountain bike or fitness hybrid for the serious triathlete. No, you’ve got to have a lightweight carbon or titatium frame, aerobars for helping to maintain the maximum wind resistant, anti-drag posture, and of course, clip in pedals and speed Velcro triathlon cycling shoes. It adds up, folks. Fast! But I am pleased to be able to announce today that I am being sponsored by the good folks at Bike Nashbar, who are supplying me with their top of the line triathlon racing bike, fitted out with all the fancy jazz an aspiring triathlete could wish for. In addition, the leading company in women's triathlon apparel, Team Estrogen, is outfitting me! I know, they could've come up with a better name, but woohooo! No dowdy racing duds for me, baby. The smart women designers at TE are coming out with a special Boomer line for women in their 50’s and are providing me with both training and racing gear. The icing on the cake with this deal is that they will send a photographer to the TriLatta race in June and yours truly will be appearing in their late summer catalog. Crazy, right?!!!! I, of course, will break the glass ceiling, not of gender, but of age, when I appear as the oldest model athlete they’ve featured to date! Yay for Boomer athletes.
That’s the bike portion. For my swim, I’ll be sporting the latest in gps technology for open water swimming. You know that in a pool swim, you swim straight because you can see the lines at the bottom of your lane. In open water swimming, however, you’re swimming blind. Lake water ain’t clear and their sure aren’t any lane lines. So, Iolite has come up with a nifty devise that clips right onto your swim goggles. It has a gps tracker and little LED lights to tell you when you’re veering off course. This is such a great advance in open water swimming. No more sticking your head up to sight the buoys, no more awkward zigzag swimming. Iolite is, of course, also interested in Boomer athletes and particularly women. We seem to be hot demographic for marketing these days. I’ll sport a little Iolite logo sticker on my swim cap and who knows, if I win my age group because of an awesome swim time, maybe I’ll even tattoo their logo on my shoulder before the next tri.
Finally, to sponsor the running portion, and indeed providing the bulk of my training sponsorship, I am super, super excited to be teaming up with Phil. Yes, if you clicked that link, you may be stunned, but yes, it’s THAT Phil. 3 time Masters champion, amiable, sorta pudgy, good-guy Phil Mickelson. If you watch Jeopardy or Wheel of Fortune, where the ads are aimed at the aging population, or if you watch the golf channel, you’ve seen the ads and you know that Phil suffers from psoriatic arthritis. But if you’ve seen the ads, you also know that, like me, Phil uses Enbrel. Well, sometime last year when I saw that ad, I got to thinking ... maybe Enbrel would like to support a little no-name person like me. I mean, Phil’s great, but he’s a pro golfer and not everybody can be a pro golfer. But what if Enbrel sponsored a little person, a Boomer woman trying her best to stay in shape and not let the ravages of RA stop her. Indeed, why not sponsor this person in her athletic endeavors and encourage others to pursue active lifestyles as an important part of their arthritis management.
So, I contacted Enbrel, and after a month or so of emails back and forth, phone calls, and a skype interview, they decided to sponsor me. Can you believe it??? Me and Phil. Phil and me. Now, don’t get too excited. I don’t think they’re planning any major advertising campaign with us together, but hey, I do get to wear their hat and a nice little sponsorship armband when I run. And they, too, are coming to the race to do a little filming and will be working up one of those “Patient Perspective” videos for their website. Pretty cool, huh.
It is also a little weird, because I never, ever, ever, ever in a million years thought I’d be advertising for a DRUG company, of all things. Me, the person who doesn’t like to go to the doctor or take medicine. Me, the hippy, granola, crunchy girl who drinks turmeric tea and massages arnica cream into sore joints. Oh, well, you never know what surprises life will throw at you. Getting RA was a bad surprise, but this Enbrel sponsorship gig is a pretty sweet, totally unanticipated surprise that makes it possible for me to train at the highest level.
I have, of course, saved the best shout out to last. I wouldn’t be doing any of this if it wasn’t for the unfailing, unflagging, constant, continual support and encouragement of Coty. (How'd you like that alliteration?!) He helps me all the time with training plans; he encouraged me through the winter to get out on my bike; he takes me to to the park and makes me do sprint workouts (I don’t like him so much when he's shouting at me to get my knees higher and run, faster, faster, faster ... but I so appreciate the coaching!); we go on long bike rides together and I ride behind him, encouraged on by his cycling shirt that says “Enjoy the Ride” on the back; he gave me a super nice bike for Christmas and he keeps it adjusted, oiled, and tuned and he always checks my tire pressure : ) His own discipline and determination in staying fit as a baby boomer with two knee surgeries in the past and the aches and pains that come with a life of athletic endeavors is a model for me. I aspire to be so disciplined. So, the biggest, loudest, most enthusiastic, most loving shout out goes to Coty. And that, my friends, unlike all the preceding paragraphs, is no April Fools! Wink, wink.