As I come to the final six weeks of my training for a sprint triathlon, I think to myself how far I have come in almost one full year of training. One year ago, I was in a totally different place. I watched young athletes honor Chase in a triathlon. For some, it was their very first triathlon, for a few, they were seasoned vets. The one thing I noticed was their perseverance, the passion they all had to finish this amazing event. At the end of the summer, I would commit to doing the same thing. As the story goes, I was "called out
" by a friend & supporter/volunteer of the Foundation. Her exact words were, "Well, Rebecca, I recall you saying to me, you would never ask anyone to do anything that you weren't willing to do yourself, and you asked all of these kids to become triathletes to honor Chase, and you yourself are not a triathlete."
My first thought was, I hate you!
My second thought was you're right!!
At the time, there was a women's sprint triathlon coming up in September 2014 and some volunteers said we should do it together. I was like your all crazy there is no way I can do a triathlon in 2 months. I declined the challenge.
I went home and started to feel sorry for myself. It is always difficult for me emotionally the days following one of our events. I love the events and how we honor the spirit of Chase, but it always breaks my heart a little at each event because I know Chase would have loved to participate. I struggle with how much I miss him and holding him, thinking about how he would have grown taller and how he would have changed being almost 10 years old this year. Our bond as a mother and son was by far my greatest love story. I fell into a bit, if a secret, depression last summer after the triathlon, and the program FINALE. I was just sick and tired of feeling down and being overweight. I had plenty of distractions, but no motivation. Time for self-motivation I thought. I called a friend and she agreed to walk with me every day. We walked for a few weeks and then a couple other friends convinced me to take an eight week fitness challenge at the MXA Fitness Gym. I thought hhmm 8 weeks maybe Chase is talking to me. I joined the challenge and lost 12 pounds. I was feeling pretty good about myself, “proud of Me
,” thanks to Master Russ. I stuck with the MXA Fitness Gym and have gone from a white belt to testing for my blue belt July 17th. That first belt test from white to yellow was life changing for me. I wasn’t expecting to make friends, I was working on me for me. What I didn’t know at the time was that I was gaining yet another family. A group of people that have supported me for 10 months, that have come to find out who I was and what my story was. When I started there, not many people knew who I was and that was just the way I wanted it, the way I needed it. As time went on, my story was about my goal, my goal to compete in a women’s sprint triathlon. Every day that I went to the gym and worked out, I knew that I was going to work hard, that I had to put the time in to get to where I wanted to be for the end of August. I have put that work in. I have learned from some of the greatest people. I have been training with seasoned triathletes and I have trained with beginners too. I have been pushed to my limits and I have pushed my fellow competitors to their limits. I inspire and I am inspired! But ultimately, it comes down to the simple fact: "NO GRIT…NO PEARL"
Race4Chase Kids Triathlon Race-
Sunday , July 12th - Great Hollow Lake, Wolfe Park
The CMAK Foundation is proud of all our Race4Chase triathletes who competed in the Race4Chase Kids Triathlon last Sunday and are grateful to all our sponsors, supporters and volunteers that made it possible. As described in the special email on the event sent earlier this week (2nd Annual Race4Chase Kids Triathlon Bring Victorious Day For All Involved), it was a special day for all. We hope that the competitors continue to wear their dog tags with pride! (but perhaps finally decided to wash the numbers off their forearms)
Our triathletes were all winners when they rounded the lake and crossed the finish line, but it should be noted that
At the Award Ceremony after the race, the CMAK Foundation presented the "Chasing Inspiration" Award and chose the winner of the CMAK FELT Bicycle Raffle.
Chase Inspiration Award
The Chasing Inspiration Award was established at the 2014 Race4Chase Kids Triathlon to encourage the pursuit of athletic endeavors including triathlons among our Race4Chase triathletes. At the 2014 Race4Chase Kids Triathlon, the award was presented to Henry Terifay, close buddy of Chase Kowalski. Henry was unable to compete in the 2014 Race4Chase Kids Triathlon due to suffering a broken collarbone.
Henry was asked to accept this award by taking a Race4Chase baton and returning it when he competed in the 2015 Race4Chase Kids Triathlon.
Henry returned to this year's race to compete in the 9-10 year old Boys age group and successfully completed the race, finishing 26th out of 37 in his division. Henry decided to pass the Race4Chase baton to another of Chase's friends and baseball teammate, Stephen Mullany. Stephen completed the 2015 race, finishing just 45 seconds ahead of Henry in 23rd place. Stephen agrees to take the Race4Chase baton, continue to compete with it over the year. At the 2016 race, he will compete again and pass the baton to another deserving Race4Chase athlete.
Congratulations to Henry for successfully carrying the baton while becoming one of our newly crowned Race4Chase Triathletes. We look forward to hearing what Stephen does with the baton before the race next July!
FELT Bicycle Raffle Winner
At the awards ceremony for the Race4Chase Kids Triathlon on Sunday, the winner of the FELT Bicycle donated by Sandy Hook Cycles was chosen. Jim Pallock of Milford, CT had the lucky ticket. Jim is pictured here receiving his award and subsequently being fitted by Terrance Ford, owner of the Sandy Hook Cycles Shop in Sandy Hook. Perhaps we will see Jim entering a triathlon in the near future after spending a month or two breaking in his new ride!
The CMAK Foundation thanks Terrance for his generosity and support for sponsoring this raffle.
Race4Chase Kid's Triathlon Program
Calling All Volunteers for August 1st FINALE!!!
Only two weeks away from the "Big Day" for the participants of the Race4Chase Kids Triathlon Programs in Connecticut. Our Race4Chase athletes have been hard at work for the last four weeks on their swimming, biking and running in preparation for the "FINALE" USA Triathlon sanctioned kids triathlon, on Saturday, August 1st, 2015 at YMCA Camp Sloper in Southington, CT
. In order to make this event as safe and successful as possible, we will need a substantial number of volunteers to line the course and work the transition areas. The course at Camp Sloper has been described as suitably taxing for the athletes with the bike course being "off road" around the lake and the run course on camp trails including "Chase's Challenge"
This hill at the half way point of the run will be the talk of all of the competitors before and after the race. Volunteers should sign up at the following site to be properly assigned responsibilities and enable smooth communication before the event: FINALE Volunteers
Race4Chase Kid's Triathlon Program
Elite Athletes Provide Inspiration to Race4Chase Programs
Photos and Story
Compliments of Susanne Navas and Amy Dixon
The Race4Chase Kids Triathlon Program at the Greater Waterbury YMCA
was blessed with a guest speaker to share her experiences as an elite athlete and paratriathlon competitor. Amy Dixon and her guides Sarah Krukoff Borell (human) & Elvis (dog) spent an inspiring few hours with the program athletes.
Amy lost most of her vision 8 years ago due to a rare form of Uveitis. So, naturally, she decided to become a triathlete (?!?!?) & because of her natural athleticism and incredibly hard work, now represents the US on the USA Paratriathlon Team. She is ranked 7th in the world in triathlon, 3rd in the US in cycling! Amy gave a fascinating & entertaining presentation, describing to our 37 athletes (plus coaches & volunteers) how she swims and runs tethered to her guide, and she bikes on a tandem bike (Amy is in back).
The kids asked some great questions and I'm certain they will always remember the inspiration we all felt today, from both Amy & Sarah (and Elvis). Thank you to Tori Guggenheim for connecting Amy and Susanne to make the day possible. Here is coverage of today's special day in the Republican American newspaper. Keep Amy in your thoughts and prayers as she heads next week to compete in some key races to qualify for the Olympics in Rio 2016!
Amy's visit and her impact as role model to the Race4Chase athletes and all of us can be summed up in her own words reflecting on the day.
"I had a FABULOUS inspiring day at the Greater Waterbury YMCA ! Thank you for hosting me and guide Sarah Krucoff Borell for our talk about the sport of USA Paratriathlon to the kids' camp at Race4chase. The kids asked fantastic questions and were SUPER fast runners and adorable! One question that was asked of me today that really stood out. "Miss Amy Dixon, how do you stay focused when you're scared or in pain during the race?" I realized that I remember how LUCKY I am to be able to do the sport of triathlon even though I'm visually impaired, how lucky I am to represent my country in international competition, and how GRATEFUL I am to the hundreds of people that helped me train and race that day, and then I smile- even when it hurts the most."
Thank you Amy for sharing yourself and Good Luck at the trials!!!!
Note: The Woodruff Family YMCA in Milford and Lakewood Trumbull YMCA Race4Chase program
sites will be visited this week by Chris Thomas
, member of TIMEX Multisport Team
and former Ironman 70.3 World Champion
triathlete. Also compliments of Generation UCAN, Mike Chronert
, current #1 ranked triathlete in the United States, Age Group 18-22, will visit Southington-Cheshire Community YMCA and Northern Middlesex YMCA in Middletown Race4Chase
sites this week.
TONIGHT: CMAK Night at the BLUEFISH
Come out to the Park at Harbor Yard to catch the Bluefish baseball game at CMAK Night!
Check out following link to view instructions on how to purchase tickets. CMAK BLUEFISH Tickets
Tickets must be purchase online to lead to a donation to CMAK. We thank the BLUEFISH organization for their continual support of the CMAK Foundation.
2nd Annual Chase Kowalski Memorial Golf Tournament: August 15th
Come join the Kowalski family and many CMAK supporters for a day of golf and fun at the Nippo Golf Club in Barrington, N.H. on Saturday August 15th, 2015. There will be raffles, prizes and lots of laughs just like last year.
See the following link for more details on how to register: CMAK Golf
Thank you to Sharon Pirhala
and her team for organizing this great event.
"Love the Chase" Scavenger Hunt is Back!!!
The Love the Chase" Scavenger Hunt is back and promises to be better than ever! This family friendly event will take place on Saturday, September 12, 2015 and have a new starting point at the Ballpark at Harbor Yard (Home of the Bluefish) and will surprise you with new venue and interesting challenges which will test your team's ability. Please sign up for this popular event at "Love the Chase" Scavenger Hunt
Support CMAK through
You can support CMAK through all your purchases on AmazonSmile.com.
Here is easy link for direct access: AmazonSmile
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Race4Chase at New England Kids Triathlon
A Race4Chase team of eight triathletes are on their way to compete at the New England Kids Triathlon on the M.I.T. campus in Boston on Sunday, July 18th. We wish these athletes and their coach Susanne Navas
from the Race4Chase Program in Waterbury the strength and courage to do their best while they Race4Chase!
Baton # 14-
Frances Hoare from Birr, Co Offaly, Ireland ran with the baton at the Colour Run 5k in aid of the Irish Cancer Society in Phoenix Park, Dublin, Ireland on July 11th. She is pictured baton below before and after. She will advise to whom she passes the baton for our August newsletter.
A big thanks to RELAYBATONS.com for donating all the Race4Chase batons for this program and also for use in our Race4Chase Kid’s Triathlon program.