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The Virtual Race Results & Andrea on Being Brave and Being Thankful

Here’s a guest post from Andrea Lytle Peet, along with pictures and stories from the Virtual Race!  

For those of you who don’t know her, Andrea is an inspiration. In 2014, less than a year after completing a 70.3, she was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) at the age of 33.  Since her diagnosis, she has completed a triathlon, a “dri-athlon” (an indoor tri created on the fly!), a half marathon, and a marathon on her recumbent trike. And she is not done yet!  She blogs here, and continues to inspire us all.

Thank you, Andrea!

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Andrea writes:

“Think of it as a Sci-Fi plot:

  • People randomly begin to lose body functions one at a time as their bodies stiffen into paralysis – first walking becomes impossible, then use of their hands and arms, followed by swallowing, eating, talking, and eventually breathing. Only their minds remain intact, helplessly bearing witness to the victims’ withering slide towards death within a few years. No one knows how to stop it, slow it down, or who will be next.
  • Plot twist: the mysterious disease strikes military veterans twice as often. Endurance athletes are also more susceptible. No one knows why.
But it’s not Sci-Fi…It’s ALS.

I was head-shakingly humbled and grateful that Swim Bike Mom’s first Be Brave Be Thankful virtual race benefited ALS research and honored me. I already admired our fearless leader so much, but that’s just part of it.

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That hundreds of complete strangers would participate and raise over four thousand dollars (!) to a cause that they likely don’t have a personal connection with? Shew, that’s overwhelming.

But you’re not complete strangers, are you?

I have made friends – real friends, not just the Facebook-confirmed kind – through the Tri-Fecta group started by Meredith, as a more personal extension of Swim Bike Mom- welcoming of men and women triathletes of all ages, backgrounds and ability levels. One of these friends has even entered my inner sphere of best friends, for whom I would go to the ends of the Earth to defend. Others I don’t know as well, but I genuinely care about their daily lives, goals, struggles, and achievements – triathlon related or not.

In 21st-century fashion, our interactions mostly consist of likes, comments, and private messages. In those exchanges, we support one another, share happenings in our lives, and “talk” openly about the things that matter to us.

Even you who orbit further away – maybe I just recognize your name or offer a quick like or “way to go!!” on your race photo – our group is more than just 3,200+ random strangers scattered across the country and around the globe. We came together because we’re triathletes and SBM’s story (and Meredith herself) resonates with us. We share experiences that don’t make sense to outsiders – pre-race jitters, frustrations about fogged goggles, the suck line.

We also relate to one another on more serious issues – depression, body image, health setbacks, and the woes of significant others who are also triathletes or could care less about it. I’ve never once seen a post where someone has expressed a sincere fear or concern without 20+ people jumping in to offer heartfelt advice, encouragement, or an empathetic “hey, I’ve been there too, sister.”

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What’s my point? This group is special, dude.

With all the revolting and icky things floating around Facebook, Tri-Fecta is full of people who actually care about one another. People who want to be brave in conquering challenges and be thankful in celebrating what bodies and hard work can do while recognizing our true gifts in life. Add to that: we just proved in a very real way that we can mobilize as a force to accomplish some good in the world.

So. It may take courage to tell your story sometimes, but it can lead to opportunities, experiences, and friendships you never could have dreamed up. I know I’ve been inspired and moved to tears many times by posts from this group –both heart-wrenching and beautiful.

So. Don’t lurk. Speak your truth to release it or embrace it.

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Because whether you have 2-5 years to live or decades (and you don’t know which) life is just too damn short to be anything but lived to your fullest potential.

That’s my way of saying thank you, friends.”

A Note from Swim Bike Mom & Race Details:

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We thank YOU, Andrea for your inspiration!

Through our first BE BRAVE BE THANKFUL Virtual 5k, 10k, Any k race,
we proudly raised $4,133 for ALS research!

Donations are being split equally between the Blazeman Foundation and ALS-TDI.

ALS-TDI is a Cambridge, MA-based non-profit biotech company (the first in the world), which basically means they develop new therapies and drugs in their lab (which now is solely focused on ALS). Their unique and comprehensive approach leverages over fifteen years of treatment-focused ALS research and applies it on an industrial scale to get therapeutics to today’s ALS patients as quickly, efficiently, and cost-effectively as possible. The translational research environment brings together more than 30 fulltime scientists whose expertise include assay development, computational and molecular biology, pharmacology, and protein biochemistry.

The Blazeman Foundation is a non-profit family foundation that serves to carry out the vision of its namesake and founder, the late Jonathan “Blazeman” Blais.  The mission of the Blazeman Foundation for ALS is 1) to raise awareness about ALS by leveraging the energy, commitment and compassion of the multi-sport community and 2) to raise necessary funds to be directed into cutting-edge scientific research to find treatments and an eventual cure for ALS…“So Others May Live®“.

Thank you all for your participation in this first Virtual Race.

It was awesome!

 #BeBraveBeThankfulRace
#TeamDrea

 

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Did a 4 mile run with my family on Thanksgiving Day. Being new (this past year) to running, I’m thankful that we were able to share in this experience for the first time, and will hopefully be able to do many more together. ‪#‎BeBraveBeThankful‬ ‪#‎TeamDrea‬

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This was such a fun ‘event’. I sacrificed my rest week that my coach had planned to run this race. Once I told him I was doing it he planned more workouts for the week. I was sad about it but in the end very thankful. My husband decided to run with me and pace me. I am a 12 min miler, at best. I am working on that pace. Here is what I accomplished on Friday. My workout for Saturday also included some running so I also tagged it with the appropriate hashtags on Instagram. I am thankful I can run. My heart and prayers go out to Drea. May she be brave! Thank you for having this event. I look forward to more!

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We did a walk/run and then spent some time at the park. I am so very thankful for so many things, the following being just a small portion of them: 1. Thankful for my bike riding kids so they can be a part of my running 2. Thankful for the opportunity to take a two week vacation with my family 3. After 2 weeks away, so very thankful for the everyday routines we can come back to 4. Thankful for amazing family and friends 5. Thankful that even when life doesn’t turn out the way you hoped or had planned, that I can see God’s grace even in the pain and loss. Thankful to continually see this grace in meeting Andrea Lytle Peet and being a part of Team Drea. I never could have imagined that the pain of losing a mom to ALS could bring such amazing people into my life. Thank you Andrea for all you have done and continue to do! ‪#‎bebravebethankful‬

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Cammie said, “Meant to just do 10 [miles], but glad my loop yielded more.
Andrea is worth the extra effort. ‪#‎BeBraveBeThankful‬ ‪#‎TeamDrea‬ ‪#‎Trifecta‬ ‪#‎SwimBikeMom‬

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One participant said, “Ended up with almost 5.5 miles in 20 degree weather and 430 feet of elevation gain. I dressed appropriately but obviously I underdressed my phone. It died halfway through; therefore no pic. I decided to run down to the corner grocery store to get lime so I could make Meredith’s chicken curry. Also, who knew that you could stuff 2 limes in the flip belt smile emoticon Great run reflecting on how lucky I am to be able to swim, bike, and run!”

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#bebravebethankful#teamdrea#swimbikemom Westfield,NJ Turkey trot. Running with a purpose, adore this group of women, stronger together, cure ALS.

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5k on frosty morning with my crazy pooch, Buckley! I am thankful for my family, my health and my freedom! Andrea, best of luck in your journey and may you find health & happiness despite this horrible illness. You are an inspiration ‪#‎teamdrea‬ ‪#‎trifecta‬ ‪#‎bebravebethankfulrace‬ ‪#‎swimbikemom‬

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I finally got out there today to do my 5K after being sick over the holiday and unable to do much due to the harsh cough I had. Thankful for getting better and being able to be out there. ‪#‎BeBraveBeThankfulRace‬ ‪#‎TeamDrea‬

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Did my 5k yesterday and captured some some beautiful fall color along the way! #BeBraveBeThankfulRace #TeamDrea #TriFecta #SwimBikeMom

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‪#‎bebravebethankful‬ Took a new route this weekend… Braved the weather, thankful for training buddies and the ability to keep this body in motion. Amazed at the strength and determination that you all have and share. It’s contagious…and it is truly amazing to share this sport and life style with all of you!

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My friend captured this moment after the Turkey Trot. My heart was bursting with pride for my daughter!

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While my family walked a collective 46 miles at Disney world this week, I didn’t feel brave at all traipsing around the most magical place on earth. I was definitely thankful, but that doesn’t count. So this morning, I laced up my shoes and took off with my BRF for 7 miles on the trails in cold, nasty drizzle. I found hundreds of things to be thankful for – from the deer and the bunnies

 

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My daughter walked yesterday with her grandparents, and joined me today for more! So proud of her! ‪#‎endALS‬ ‪#‎teamdrea179‬ ‪#‎bebravebethankful‬ Andrea Lytle Peet

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I finished!! 5km or 3.1miles today in 35:15! When i was doing my warm up this morning we received a call that my husbands best friend from growing up was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma. He is 42. Husband and dad of 2. I am thankful that he is in the best shape of his life to start this hard fight. This news would have sent me to the kitchen in the past to eat my feelings away. Today I was brave. Stayed the course on the treadmill with the baby monitor and completed what I set out to do. For myself, my family and our friends. ❤ Thank you Meredith & Andrea for being such good role models! Love you and the SBM army!#bebravebethankfulrace #trifecta #teamdrea

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Did our 5k on Thanksgiving Day. Rylan fell twice. After the 2nd fall, he jumped up and shouted “I will NOT quit this race! He definitely has that #179 race spirit!

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Completed my Be Brave Be Thankful run today. I completed 20 miles today. The first 11 on the treadmill and then I hit outside in 18 degree temps and icy trail to do another 9 miles around Sloan’s Lake here in Denver. Not my prettiest run, there was a lot of walking, but I got it done. Dopey Challenge is in Januaryeing Thanksgiving Weekend, I have taken a lot of time to just reflect on how blessed I am. A year ago this time, I was still recuperating from a major car accident and could do nothing more then walk and even with that suffered from headaches. Today I am running again. Not fast, but running. And for that I will forever be thankful! Love Andrea, she inspires me daily and I dedicated this 20 mile run to you!

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Run 3 of 3 done. One hot marathon that was hard earned ‪#‎bebravebethankfulrace‬

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Go here to the Facebook Event page to see
even more photos and read more stories!

A Special Thank You to Our Race Sponsors!

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Triathlon Logo for Mer6 (1)

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