Monday, April 11, 2011

Pinch me!

Am I dreaming? Is this someone else's life I lived for 4 hrs? I almost felt as though any second I was going to wake up and it was all going to be some glorious dream I had had.

But in actual fact, it wasn't a dream - it was reality. I was sitting at a dinner for the "Celebration of Champions". Now to say that I was awe struck would have been an understatement. I think I needed a strap to help keep my jaw from hitting the floor. And it all started from the moment I entered The Intercontinental Hotel.

As usual Stephen and myself were one of the first to arrive - Stephen looked very swish in a suit and shirt - I tried to doll myself up in a red number borrowed from my best friend Susan.
And as much as I love the whole "frocked up" feeling - I kind of wished I could have worn my thongs as my feet were killing me, from the moment those heels went on. But no sooner did I lay eyes on some very important people I forgot all about my aches and pains.

As we waited around in the foyer sipping on some wine a young gorgeous girl walked in - as she turned around I said to my husband "That's Ashleigh Gentle". I couldn't get over how tiny she was. And for having competed at the Sydney ITU race held that same day - she didn't even look remotely tired - actually the more of them I saw and got to meet throughout the night - I realised how extremely fit they all were.

So as we were ushered to our table (Number 13) I couldn't help but realise that I was sitting at the table flagged for Triathlon Australia guests. Surely I couldn't have been sitting on this table - as I glanced around more times then I would like to count I came to realise that I was meant to be at this table. I met some wonderful people and realised what a close knit community the Triathlon World is. And how it didn't matter whether you were an Elite or some Mum from out west - that everyone was special because we were all just trying to do our best.

As the night progressed and presentations were handed out to the Champions:
  • Emma Snowsill
  • Emma Moffatt
  • Emma Jackson
  • Ashleigh Gentle
  • Chris McCormack - unable to attend
  • Mirinda Carfrae - overseas
I sat and watched in pure amazement at the accomplishments of these amazing individuals and how truly dedicated they are to what they do. I loved watching their faces as footage was being shown of them and how it appeared to make them embarrassed to watch themselves accomplishing these spectacular achievements. And I felt honoured to be in their presence.

During the whole evening we were being presented with an amazing dinner - absolutely delicious - believe me I wanted to ask for second helpings. I remember saying to Stephen I really wanted to get photos of as many as I could but felt somewhat shy - yes I know - hard to believe. And no sooner had I said that Stephen had stood up and started speaking to none other than Craig Alexander. I was in shock, disbelief, happiness, jubilation and had to try very hard to contain my excitement. Much like a giggly little school girl.

Craig is such a gentleman. He seemed genuinely interested in the fact that I was doing my first Half Ironman and wished me all the luck in my endeavours. And even said that if he spotted me out on the course up at Port that he would give me a shout out. How cool is that - I am positive that he would do that too.

I had also met Emma Jackson - who is a really nice young lady. Such a genuine soul who was really happy to take the time to take a photo with me.

The one thing I noticed that was similar amongst all the girls was how tiny they all were. Not just in height but size - I guess it doesn't help when I am close to six foot and wearing heels as well. By this stage I saw another Emma - Emma Moffatt. Another genuinely kind individual. So far everyone had asked me if I had competed in the ITU race in Sydney that day - I felt a bit funny saying no - but soon fixed that with saying I was training for my first Half Ironman. That seemed to make them smile. Next to Emma Moffatt was Brad Kahlefedlt - so I asked if I could get a photo with both. I didn't want to miss the opportunity to miss meeting any of the people I read about and who motivate and inspire me.

I was also able to get a photo with Alistair Brownlee, however am unable to post that photo till my friend Trent sends it to me. I also got to meet John Maclean. Check out his website here. This man is one amazing person - everything he has accomplished in his life is truly something to be inspired by and what a humble gentleman he is. I am fundraising for his Foundation here.

What a night. Still one day later I am on a high and feeling extremely blessed to have met all of those I did last night. Stephen and I spoke all the way home and I couldn't help but post photos of the night from my iPhone. Now isn't that a nifty little gadget.

Can't wait for Port - I wonder how many more fabulous people I will get to meet? Life is just too cool for words.

Your hard work will be rewarded.

"The path to a dream is paved with sacrifices and lined with determination. And though it has many stumbling blocks along the way, and may go in more than one direction, it is travelled by belief and courage and conquered with a willingness to face challenges and take chances" Barbara Cage