Written by Turquoise Fellow Flower, Heather Bellian, Ohio
Check my 2014 “Declare It Day” goals off the list!
This is a (true) story of how two women, who had never met, were united by a goal and a flower, which helped them developed a friendship along the way.
Supporting Each Other and Finding Our Flower
A few hours after I posted my “Declare It Day” goal on February 1, 2014, I received a message from Tami.
Tami: Are you doing the Half Ironman in Muncie? I noticed the dates on our goals were the same.
Me (in my head): Yes! After mustering the courage to publicly state what had been mulling around in my head for months, I was a little horrified that someone had actually noticed what I had declared! Wait, she was crazy enough to do the same thing. I think I’m going to like this girl!
We were training for the same race. We both have a bit of triathlon experience, but never anything this distance—1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike ride and 13.1-mile run. Tami lives in Michigan, and I’m in Ohio but we kept in contact via Facebook throughout our training, sharing successes, fears and learning a little more about each other every step of the way.
We discussed everything from “see through” triathlon shorts to how supportive our husbands had been even though we were becoming emotional wrecks. We talked about our insecurities (mostly related to open water swimming) and overcame bouts of anxiety and fear. We realized that even though our bodies were strong we had to train our brains to believe. Alas, that Turquoise Flower—Believe, spoke to us!
As race day approached, Tami and I tried to coordinate to meet in person. Unfortunately with travel schedules and family commitments, we just couldn’t seem to get together the day of the expo. We messaged each other words of encouragement and began to prepare for the race.
A Memorable Meeting on Race Day
I woke up early (I didn’t sleep at all), loaded up my gear and my flowers and set out to the race site. I wanted to try and find Tami, but since the swim portion is first, she wouldn’t be wearing her flower. There were more than 1,600 athletes to sift through to find my friend, but I felt the need to see her, especially at the swim start. I headed to the beach as her age group was approaching the start and there she was! We shared a hug and some tears! After months of grueling training, we made it to the start line. “We got this!” Then, off she went. My age group started 10 minutes later; I was ready to go!
I received many comments about my Turquoise Flower during the race. Other athletes even said they saw another flower (Tami) on the course. It comforted me to know she was okay too. We passed each other a few times on the course, sharing words of encouragement. After 70.3 miles, Tami and I managed to cross the finish line with smiles on our faces, our Turquoise Flower on our hats and finish times within a minute of each other. What an adventure!
A Special Bond
True to form, we weren’t able to see each other after we finished the race, and we didn’t have a photo of us together. We shared congratulatory phone messages and stories from the race afterwards. We do, however, have a bond that unites us—a goal and a flower—and I am sure we will stay in contact for years to come!
I am so happy that I met Tami, and Fellow Flowers made that possible! That is the power of the Flower!