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Lavaman 2019 Triathlon – We did It Together!

Mona Rakibe, Director Product Manager, Reltio

Triathlon is a great opportunity to test your endurance, if you have an extreme determination coupled with rigorous training. We had the determination, but always lacked time for training. When Lavaman 2019 Triathlon Relay in Hawaii was announced, Anastasia, who is a multiple time triathlete suggested I participate. At first this seemed a ridiculous idea, first I was just returning from maternity leave and still getting used to changes in life with the newborn, secondly I had not done any sports in years and fitness was at rock bottom! Anastasia was determined and convinced me. Given that she just had a baby and was thinking of doing this within 6 months of having a baby gave me some courage. I was on-board. Doing it as a relay was a fantastic idea, as we could focus on individual events and also motivate each other. Now we needed our last partner, we both knew who that would be. Convincing Carina was easier than we anticipated.

Anastasia Zamyshlyaeva, Carina Alabanza and I got together to do the triathlon relay as “One Reltio” team, and do this for a good cause of raising a fund for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS).  The triathlon distance followed international Olympic guidelines: A swim of 0.93 miles (1.5 kilometers), a bicycle route of 24.8 miles (40 kilometers) and a run of 6.2 miles (10 kilometers). Anastasia picked swimming, Carina agreed to do biking, and I chose running.

Planning is always the easiest part of any project, they say. So true! But remember, we were determined. The three of us were representing Reltio, and we wanted to give our best. The Olympian task (pun intended) needed disciplined training.  We joined Team in Training (TNT), the endurance sports training program where volunteers train to complete a triathlon while fundraising to support the fight against blood cancer. .We three had a fundraising goal of USD 6000 as a team and together we raised USD 6250 using donations from friends and family including many Reltio employees. Reltio also encouraged us by matching all the donations through our corporate matching program. Globally, the Team in Training group raised over $1.5 million to fund research on cancer and we feel honored to have done our bit.

Training regularly was not easy. We had our best days and worst days. But giving up was never on our minds. As we started clocking better time and longer distance, we were inching closer to our goal. The Waikoloa Hawaii weather was encouraging, our families were supportive, and of course Reltians were continuously cheering.

On March 31st, the triathlon day, we started at 5AM from our hotel lobby towards the Race point. The day was sunny with a cool ocean breeze. Anastasia began swimming at 8AM from Anaeho’omalu Bay at Waikoloa Beach. Amidst applauds from supporters, she comfortably completed her stretch, a couple of bumps notwithstanding.  

Carina was ready with her White Cervelo and zoomed past the spectators enthusiastically. Cycling 40 kilometers on a perfect warm bright day is fun but also challenging. The delightful cycling course overlooking the ocean and lava rocks certainly helped. I took the baton from her at the transition location and began running. The midday sun was getting harsher but the beautiful beach trail and cheering supporters throughout the trail were boosting my morale all the way. The finish line beckoned as I completed my final lap and we all were so jubilant!  We did it! We did it together! Our families were waiting at the finish line to celebrate our victory.

Running home together with family hand-in-hand, Carina’s son asked, “Why are you so happy, we didn’t get first place.” Our hearts were filled with joy when we replied that winning was never important to us, it was about trying your best, giving your all, and never quitting. And doing it as ONE! One Reltio !

With the motivation and inspiration support from TNT, friends and family, and fellow Reltians cheering on the chat channel, we were never alone. We completed the Triathlon by each beating our personal best time.  What a thrilling experience it was! We are already getting ready for Lavaman 2020!