On June 29, 2008 I did the Bali International Triathlon for one of my best friends, Vi Jones-Medusky.  Vi is a great surfer, marathon runner (PR 3:28) and Ironman triathlete who encouraged me to do them too, “Come on Lorenn, it’s really fun!” she said.  Always smiling and cheerful, that’s Vi.

Four years ago, while running the New York Marathon, she noticed something was wrong with her muscles. Several months later she was diagnosed with ALS, a.k.a. “Lou Gehrig’s disease,” but it has not stopped her from living a happy and meaningful life.  While Vi has every right to feel extreme sorrow for herself, she has been courageous instead, and an example for the rest of us to be grateful for what we have.  

Vi is a registered nurse who went back to school after getting ALS.  On July 6, 2008 she will receive her masters degree in nursing that she earned last year. 

The Bali Triathlon (http://championchip-thailand.com/marathon-results/BaliTriathlon/Overall08.htm) was supposed to be an Olympic distance course, but the swim was about 2000 meters instead of 1500.  After the swim, there was a 40-kilometer road bike ride, and then a 10-kilometer run.  

The swim was gnarly.  It was super sediment filled water so there was practically no visibility, except I did manage to see the biggest jellyfish of my life!  Thankfully I missed swimming right into it and only brushed up, getting a mild sting.  The current was strong too, with the fastest pro man taking 27 minutes to finish the swim, which is a slow time for that distance.

The biking was fun–windy narrow roads with some hills, dogs and little kids darting about, and some very slow moving trucks to pass.  Finally, the run was pretty much what you’d expect in hot humid Bali at 9:00 in the morning after swimming and biking.

I thought it was going to be a cruise with only me in the 55 – 59 female age group.  I had been in Bali for two weeks, learning about the Indonesian justice system, and taking it easy, enjoying the Bin Tang beer–even the night before the race!  It was a surprise to find two women, who both qualified for Kona Ironman this year, in my division.  

It was a tiring race, but luckily I had done some running with Vi’s daughter Malia Jones a week before the race.  Malia is a professional surfer and model who has been on the cover of many magazines including Outside June 2008, and she is also a fantastic runner (her marathon PR is around 3:20).  Training with Malia helped me finish the race a little faster than my competition.  Here are some photos of Vi and I and some others.  Remember to appreciate what you have no matter what it is, if Vi can find something to smile about, we all can.