I got this a few days after the race, and just had to share part of it. This was such a wonderful experience for me, and I am so happy to have been able to share the day with these kids. I can't wait to do more next year.
This is what it's really all about. And yeah, I cried when I read this. Cuz I'm a sap like that.
Dear Mrs. Ziemnik,
I just want to say thank you for all the help you have given me in training for the triathlon. I am so proud of myself for finishing, and I really don’t think I could have done it without the help and inspiration you provided. At the first brick, I was very unsure of myself and became discouraged because I couldn't keep up with everyone. But as I kept training with you, your motivation gave me the strength to continue, and I gradually saw myself improve a little more each week. Your kindness stayed with me right up to race day, when I was nervous about the water. Talking to you allowed me to calm down a bit and gave me the courage to run out into those waves and do what I came there to do. Also, when I came back from the bike, I was very tired and got a little confused. But your running that first hill with me allowed me to get everything back in order and refocus my goal to make it to the end. When I crossed that finish line, I didn’t know whether to smile or cry, so I just grinned and knew in my heart that there was nothing I couldn’t do. There’s a million more things I could say, but I’ll keep it as short as possible and end with this. The night before the triathlon, I read the note you gave us before we took the AP test. While reading Roosevelt’s quote, I realized how much it applied to the race. I sure didn’t come in first, but I still finished. And that’s a lot more than “those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat” can say....
"I just grinned and knew in my heart that there was nothing I couldn't do."
And that, my friends, is why I love what I do. Even when it's hard. And challenging.
I love every. single. second.