After the race on Sunday, Corinne Kohlen, Jeff Bent, and I drove from Killington to New York City to spend a final night together as friends before our chaotic weekend came to a close. Somewhere around 2:00 A.M. we headed back to New Jersey so I could catch an early flight back to Los Angeles. As we pulled our luggage from the car to the hotel, Jeff snagged the handle of my racing bag. "You don't need to bring that in. It's just my bag of muddy, wet racing clothes." I consider offering that sentence as one of the biggest mistakes that I made that weekend. Jeff threw my bag back in the back of his SUV and we walked into the hotel, crashing as soon as we hit the beds. Early the next morning we packed up and headed out to the car. As we approached the car we noticed that all of the windows were rolled down. We looked at each other confused and wondered whether we had somehow forgotten to roll up the windows? When we neared the car, it was clear that the driver's side lock had been broken and was lying in pieces on the ground. Upon opening the car we realized that several items were missing from the car including Jeff's headphones, a backpack, and my racing bag. The bag that had seemed unimportant enough to leave in the car was gone. My mind instantly started racing and going over the contents of the bag as Jeff walked into get the hotel manager. The manager of the hotel was unhelpful and assured us that the police would not come out for such a trivial crime. He suggested that we call when we had time and file a report. I needed to catch a flight, and it seemed that the three of us were in some sort of stupor. We headed to the airport, I checked my only remaining belongings, and wandered to the gate. I sat down alone waiting for my flight, and began to revisit the contents of my bag again. As processed everything that was in the bag, I started to cry. I cried in the airport that day for over an hour. After leaving my friends and having my bag taken, I was emotionally overwhelmed at the thought of everything that I had lost.
Jeff posted on the Spartan 300, an elite racer Facebook group and let everyone know that I needed some help. Allowing him to do this was incredibly tough for me. I pride myself on struggling through life on my own and typically find it hard to accept help when it is offered. Living life on my own with three kids for the last five years has taught me that the struggle is often part of the reward, and few things come without hardship. I had already turned down help from a few individuals that had offered it in the week immediately following Killington, hoping that I would receive money from the insurance company. At this point, I knew that replacing all the gear on my own would be impossible.
Within seconds of Jeff's post, both Jeff and I began to receive messages, texts, and e-mails with offers to help. I begrudgingly provided Jeff with my Paypal address and financial help started pouring in. I was shocked that much of this help came from individuals in the Spartan 300 group that I had never met. To say that I am incredibly thankful to these people is an understatement. My gratitude is overwhelming. I have never felt so loved by a group of people. Even though my "thanks" may never seem like enough, I want to thank my Spartan family. You are amazing and wonderful. I wouldn't be able to race again without you. Though so many offered to help, I feel like I need to recognize several by name. Thank you (in no particular order) to Junyoung Pack, Shane McKay, Janice Marie Ferguson, Melinda Branch, Eric Matta, Leslie St. Louis, Shawn Feiock, Sue Luck, Leslie St. Louis, Jeff Cain, Shannon Hulme, Kevin Brodsky, Jeffrey Bent, Jason Rita, Caitlin at Inov-8, iTab, and Spartan Race. Each and every one of you are my personal hero's. :) -Ang
*** While most of these pictures are in no way a representation of this blog content, I couldn't miss a chance to post a few of my favorites from my weekend in Killington. Special thanks to Eric and Andrew for getting me through day #2. Without your humor and support, I'm not sure I would have fared so well. :) ***