Thursday, November 4, 2010

A Special Introduction to Triathlon - 11/7/10

I attended a seminar a few weeks ago where Coach K (Kim Hager) talked about mental preparation for IM races. She shared with the group a few things she does and one of them really stuck out to me...she has pictures of her kiddos on her water bottles. Well, being that I'm childless and I didn't want to get made fun of for having pictures of my super cute puppy with me, I was determined to figure something else out. An idea popped in my head but really stuck earlier this week when my Grandma Seliger passed away.

Three very special ladies will be accompanying me on my first 70.3 race this weekend and I want to introduce you to them. There are many, many other very special people in my life and luckily, I have many more races in the near future that I will share with them. But for my first 70.3, Bonnie, Hazel & Ang will be with me.
Bonnie Seliger (left) & Ang Cerami (right)

Hazel Chalfant
Bonnie Mae Brian Seliger (March 4, 1927 - November 2, 2010) - Grandma Seliger was my step-dad's mom but thought of us as her grandkids just the same. Grandma Seliger was a very neat lady and we were lucky enough to spend special time with them growing up. On Sunday, Grandma Seliger will accompany me on the 1.2 mile swim as she is the lady who taught me how to swim many, many years ago. Her tactics may have been unconventional but a whole generation of Seliger's learned how to swim because of her. "Camp Grandma" is where I was introduced to cicada's, the art of microwaving Jell-O pops, making homemade stationary, The One and Only Genuine Original Family Band, Dr. Pepper, swimming and many more things. I will always cherish the time I spent in Lubbock, Texas.

Hazel Watkins Chalfant (May 1, 1944 - October 5, 2007) - The lady who once encouraged me to "kick up some Texas dirt" was so, so special to me. Hazel is Keith's mom and I got to know her shortly after he & I started dating. At that time, she lived in Rolla, Missouri and we talked on the phone every week. Keith still jokes his mom liked me more than him (who could blame her). After moving to Texas in early 2007, Hazel became very ill and spent months in the hospital. When she was moved from the hospital to the rehab center, I visited her every day after work and took her whatever it wass she was craving that day. I will never forget the day she had me go to McDonald's for a fish sandwich, Wendy's for fries and Sonic for a sundae. Hazel passed away while I was training for my first half marathon and was probably my biggest cheerleader. On January 13, 2008 I ran the Houston Half Marathon and could smell Hazel's signature scent from mile 9 on. I ran the half in 2:10, still my PR. Hazel never got to see one of my triathlons but always wanted to. On Sunday, Hazel will have a front row seat to my 56 mile ride and I can't wait!

Angela Loffredo Cerami (March 23, 1919 - February 1, 1995) - Her whole life, Grandma Cerami insisted she was "Angeline" but when my mom found her birth certificate (or some other important document), it showed "Angela". Grandma Cerami was something else. As a little girl, I remember visiting her after having already eaten only to find that she had prepared enough spaghetti to feed a village...and not a small village. Telling her we weren't hungry meant nothing as she expected us to eat. There were many years I didn't get to see my grandparents but I wrote to them often and called when we could. After many years of being away from Buffalo, I got to go back to visit my family and see my Grandma. She was sick with breast cancer and we knew she probably didn't have long to live. As long as it had been since I had seen her in person, she was just how I remembered. I am so glad I was able to go back and spend time with her as an adult. A few months after my 20th birthday, Grandma Cerami passed away. I was given a rosary that belonged to her and I will have that with me as I run (jog) 13.1 miles. I figure the rosary is easier to carry than one of her cookbooks!!

Some of you reading this may think this is cheesy or even odd and that's ok. For me, it's a way to remember three people who had a huge impact on who I am today. Without them, or anyone in my life, I wouldn't be where I am and I wouldn't be attempting to do what I'm going to do on Sunday.

Rest in peace Bonnie, Hazel & Ang!! I love you all and I hope we have a lot of fun come Sunday!


  1. Love, love, love it Jenny! What a great set of ladies to run for...all three are watching you from above. Cheering their hearts out :)

  2. That's awesome, Jenny - bring your cheerleaders with you!! Good luck in the race!