Enjoy the Journey

Enjoy the Journey

Enjoy the Journey

By Kirby Adams

What did you do on your summer vacation?

I used to love that essay the first day of school. Rarely did my teachers cough up any information about what they had been up to ---- but if you ask the head of the physical education department at St. Agnes School , I am sure she will tell you. I certainly hope she shares her incredible summer with her students.

The day the doors closed for break last May Besty Dragoo headed West. All the way to the Pacific Ocean, to that beautiful city on the Bay, the one with the big Orange bridge and the former prison on the island. While most tourist who visit San Francisco tour Fisherman''s Wharf and the Haight , Betsy Dragoo signed on to swim around Alcatraz. To get a mental picture of Betsy, she is a tiny woman with a big heart and a hardy laugh. I am short, but she is shorter than me, which means that most eight graders are taller than us. But great things often come in small packages; Betsy Dragoo is one of them.

She had trained hard in Louisville and qualified for the Alcatraz Triathlon in a similar race in Ohio . The thing was in the race in Ohio Betsy had to jump off a boat into Lake Erie for the start to the swim. Talk about eerie, the idea of jumping off into the sometimes shark infested waters in the San Francisco Bay had our heroine a little spooked. But she did a lot of mental work before leaving Louisville . She even took really cold showers and tried to stay in as long as possible to acclimate to the chilly waters off the coast. She swam, ran and cycled to get in shape and when the day came, it all came together for the P.E. teacher from Louisville . Turns out there were no bothersome sharks to swim through, just sea lions.

The water temperature was warmer than she anticipated, but a thick fog made focusing on the shore difficult. Eventually the sun burned off the haze, the Golden Gate Bridge glistened through and Betsy, with a mile and a half of swimming behind her headed for the second leg of the race. “I kept thinking WOW isn''t this beautiful I can''t believe I am doing this!” The 18 mile bike course wound around Golden Gate Park .

The 8 mile run was just as spectacular. Betsy ran through trails, and up 400 steps made of railroad ties. “Those steps were tough”, but she had trained in Cherokee Park using the paths to prepare.

So how did the P.E. teacher do----great! She finished “It was fun and sometimes it hits me I really did that! I was really out there.” But the details of the race pale compared to the message that Betsy will pass along as the best part of her summer vacation, [if you can call a race like the Alcatraz triathlon a vacation]. She wants kids and adults to realize that life is much fuller if you “just get out and do something, don''t just sit back and watch get out and do!” While I talked with Betsy we laughed that neither of us care anymore what place we take over the finish line. The thrill is not just in winning but in the courage to join the race.

And Betsy puts it best, “enjoy the journey. It''s not where you finish it''s getting to the start that is important”. Important in triathlons, important in life.


If you would like to try the Escape to Alcatraz Triathlon Next year June 3 rd 7am start San Francisco


Kirby Adams is the consumer reporter for Kentuckiana''s News Channel WHAS-11, Team Captain for Team Crusade and a sports and fitness buff. You can e-mail Kirby at kirby.adams@whas11.com. Kirby is also a member of Kentuckiana HealthFitness'' Editorial Advisory Board.

If you know of a little “GEM” or a story, you would like to share it with our readers, drop me a note about it to:

Kirby Adams,WHAS-TV
520 West Chestnut Street
Louisville, KY 40202

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