So one of the highlights for me at Ironman Texas was getting the opportunity to go to a Meet and Greet session hosted by Muscle Milk. The opportunity came up quite by accident, but I was so grateful for it!
I was assisting a local race director at packet pick-up. She had asked me when I was planning to go down to the race site for the weekend. I had told her I wanted to try to get there in time enough for Chrissie Wellington's book signing. I knew it would be a challenge though because I just hired a new help desk person, and although he is very competent, I wasn't feeling comfortable enough to leave him for a half day his first week here. I was on the fence,but leaning towards taking a chance. LOL
She says to me, "Well how would you feel about getting to meet Chrissie in a smaller, more intimate setting of like 12 -15 people?"
Me: "What?!? Are you for real?"
She said she'd take me. She was so sweet, and said she couldn't think of anyone else would appreciate it more. Awwww! At the time we only knew it was on Friday afternoon, no details were firmed up Muscle Milk and Chrissie's handlers were still working out the details.
The next day I got a text from my friend. She said she was sorry, but she was going to have to bail on the meet and greet and felt badly for getting my hopes up. She's a family lawyer and had to work on Friday afternoon. Understandably more important.
So my week carried on and I went to my IMTX volunteer captains meeting on Wednesday and was just chit-catting with the guy who heads up the volunteers for this race -- he's also another local race director. He had mentioned something about the meet and greet and I said, "Yeah, I was almost going with J, but she had to work." He said, "Text me tomorrow and I'll get you on the list and get the details for you."
This is one of the ways volunteering pays off in truly unexpected ways! :)
I got the info and I was thrilled to have the opportunity. I was giddy as a school girl on Friday morning, knowing I would meet this woman who was strong beyond and Ironman race out there.
Of course, I was completely starstruck. Couldn't say a word as she SAT NEXT TO ME AT THE TABLE! There was an empty seat between she and I and the table got a chuckle when I blurted out how I should snuggle-up to her. I was cool though, and gave her space. Inside though, I wanted so bad to tell her about how her book came out at such a perfect time for me. I wanted to tell her where I started, where I am now... and how much of what she says is so freakin' true and I live it. I wanted to tell her that Ironman aside, it takes a certain kind of person to make the choices she has with the life path she's chosen, and how I aspire to find the strength to make similar choices in the future. I find it amazing in this day and age for people to make choices based on passion, and not a pay check. Even if she wasn't such an incredible athlete I would still find her just as strong, full of integrity and as amazing.
Of course I couldn't say any of that. I sat quietly and intently listened as she spoke of how she got started in triathlon. It was awesome.
The thing I remember most is how she talked about pain. "Training hurts. It should hurt." Even CC says you train how you want to race. If you never experience pain during training, how do you ever expect to know your limits and how to push (appropriately) through to accomplish amazing things!?!
Although they were short on books, I had one of my tri peeps who works at Barnes & Noble, expedite and order for me, so I had my very own copy. Big thanks to Evan for coming through! :) I panicked when it came time for the book signing. My phone/camera wasn't working. I was again grateful Muscle Milk had provided a professional photographer and we pictures from the event!
After it seemed as if I ran into Chrissie the rest of the weekend. I left the meet and greet and headed to the hotel. I stopped in the lobby to grab coffee. Guess who was ahead of me? Haha! Chrissie! I said, "Really, I'm not stalking you!" She said "Donna [she remembered my name!] I adore my stalkers!" I said, "Good thing since I'm here for the weekend!" LOL
The funniest thing was when she came down to the Finish line while I was catching athletes. She saw me and asked with that sweet UK accent, "Would you please find me a Sharpie so I can sign things?"
Well, yeah! Of course!
I raced around that Finish line area looking for a Sharpie like it was a Sprint tri. Hilarious! I found one of the Ironman folks and all he had was a fat red one. Ugh... it will have to do, so I grab it and he sees me give it to her. He comes running over to me and says, "Hey I need that back!" I said, "Then you go get it from Chrissie."
I thought so. LOL
The best part of catching was the face of the Finishers as I walked them towards her to receive their medal. Some knew who she was right off. For others they were so spent it took a few seconds... then a click and a 180 turn back to get a hug. She was so gracious, genuine and sincere.
I did eventually fine a more appropriate Sharpie for her and got him his red
So I am now the self-proclaimed-unofficial-IMTX-stalker-of-thee-Chrissie-Wellington.
And she "adores" her stalkers. :)