RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. -- Joe James, a market research analyst at Credit Union Direct Lending has been training for the King's Trail Triathlon in Maui, Hawaii on June 10 as a member of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Team in Training.
James worked for Callahan and Associates in Washington, D.C. and ran in the Cherry Blossom Run each year with their running team. Since moving to California in July last year he started cross training to improve his fitness level. "Just running was starting to wear me out and I wanted to mix things up," he said.
James joined a group called Team in Training, which meets on weekends for group training and social events. It also has a higher purpose, too, and that is to raise money for worthy causes. The Orange County and Inland Empire Chapter of Team in Training is raising money to help stop Leukemia, Lymphoma and Myeloma from taking more lives. Joe's team is sponsoring Gavin Ponsen, a local boy who is undergoing treatment for Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia, and he's trying to raise $4,900 to participate in the triathlon. Anyone interested in showing support may donate to the cause can do so through this link (http://www.active.com/donate/tntors/tntorsJJames1).
James is working hard to prepare for the race by doing early morning runs and bike rides and sometimes doubling up again in the evening, whenever possible in addition to weekend sessions with the group. "We pick different locations throughout Orange County. We've done some swims in Corona del Mar recently."
"I've made a lot of good friends by being a part of this," he said. "A nice aspect of this program is that you're assigned a mentor to help you get through the training and give you tips for fundraising. The mentor is someone who has already gone through this program him or herself. Once I complete this triathlon, I hope to be a mentor for someone next season." The swim part is .9 mile, followed by a 24-mile bike ride and a 6-mile run.
Already a marathon veteran (The Marine Corps Marathon) James said the run is his favorite part. "It's the one I'm most familiar with since I did a marathon and it's also the last event, so I know I'm almost done!" He doesn't have a mantra to run to, but finds that biking and running in scenic places helps him stay relaxed. "There are a lot of hills and canyons that we bike through, so there are a lot of pretty views along our rides."
James' approach is simple, really, as he explains, "My main focus so far has been to complete the race." But he is interested in delving deeper into aspects of training after he completes his first triathlon. The 6'2", 220 lb. 26-year old said he loves the California lifestyle. "It's a lot different from the East Coast. It's great being able to go outside in winter and do things it's much harder to do when the temperature is only 8 degrees."
Some of James' friends think he's slightly crazy to do this, but admire his determination and working for a good cause. "Some have asked me to let them know how it goes, because they'd eventually like to try one of these events themselves. But one friend likes to ask me what I'm running from, because he believes you should only run, bike or swim if you're getting chased by something."
But triathlon training can have its glorious moments too. Recently, James said the team was doing an ocean swim and a seal popped up nearby. "You don't see that every day," he said.