There is so much going on that I am struggling to keep up with it all. But this can’t wait. In fact, this is probably the biggest “thing” that has happened in my little blogging life, and certainly for ThumbsUp, the campaign to bring to light Kerry Gruson’s story and inspire others to live life with positivity. To read more about ThumbsUp click here.
“Struggling to keep up” is what Leanda Cave’s competitors do. Just this morning she won her first race of the season at the 13.1 Miami Beach, but that’s nowhere near the top of her accomplishments. Having won numerous short and long course triathlons, Leanda remains the only woman in the world to have won both the Ironman 70.3 World Championships AND the Iroman World Championships (the legendary Ironman Kona) in the same year.
So you can imagine I was just a wee bit excited when I see this on my phone:
I received an email from her!
This is how it happened, and I am willing to share the story even if it proves I am a social media stalker. I knew Leanda was in Miami because she tweeted a picture of her riding on the Rickenbacker Causeway. I also knew we had a friend in common. On a whim, I sent her an email asking if she would lend Kerry and I her name as our “Celebrity Cheerleader.” I explained that with her support, ThumbsUp would have greater visibility and could increase our potential reach.
I was surprised she actually read my email and even more that she answered so quickly!
It’s difficult to hear about ThumbsUp and not want to participate. Kerry’s story could’ve created an angry woman, but instead she became inspiring and motivating. I am happy to be Kerry and Cristina’s celebrity cheerleader.
Since then, there was a flurry of activity to coordinate a photo shoot, where the three of us would actually meet up and talk. I solicited the help of our super sponsors Ultrabikex Key Biscayne and See Me In The Dark, and we were able to secure another volunteer: photographer Johnny Cortes who did all his work pro-bono.
The day of the shoot, I was a little nervous. I didn’t want to sound like a dork, but it was also hard not to be a star struck in front of triathlon royalty. But as with most things in triathlon, Leanda was easy going and humble. In just a few short minutes I was at ease and we began talking.
I told her I was most worried about the swim and she gave me some pointers. We talked about the South Beach Triathlon itself and how she had raced it in the past. Kerry also had her set of worries, and asked Leanda what she could do to be more aerodynamic. She wanted to create the least amount of drag for me. I realized Kerry not only wanted to be a triathlete but she wanted to do well, as in, she wants to be competitive. And though I told her she chose the wrong partner to try to win given that “fast” is not my strength, we did choose the right celebrity cheerleader.
Despite her limitations Kerry is a competitor. I can relate to that inner force that will not settle for anything less than her best. I’ve been dealing with an injury for a year, she has been dealing with an injury for forty. Yet she is not afraid of starting over, now as a triathlete. That ThumbsUp attitude is contagious.
By the end of the photo shoot, I was completely at ease with Leanda and talking to her felt like talking to anyone of my Wolfpack teammates. They are all faster than I am, I value their opinion immensely and they sincerely want me to do well. Leanda was the same. The shoot ended and we said our goodbyes with a to-do list of how to move forward.
We are so very honored to have Leanda Cave as our celebrity cheerleader, and hope that our ThumbsUp campaign will also bring her positivity, empowerment, motivation and good luck on this new season. Though from her performance today doesn’t look like she’ll need it!
Are you a Leanda Cave fan? Who do you wish was your celebrity cheerleader?
For sponsorship opportunities email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Photographs courtesy of: Digital Shutterye Photography
Kayak courtesy of:Chuck Fitzgerald from Sailorman in Fort Lauderdale