We have lots of moving pieces this weekend, and lots of people who have helped to make this weekend possible. If we are talking “big picture” and the entire season, of course the list is too long to include here”¦ there are saggers and ride leads and run leads and clinic guest lecturers and on and on and on. But some of our cast of characters that deserve special recognition that you will see around this weekend include:

Valerie Dix

Valerie and the coaches are in constant communication all year. She regularly looks at our calendar and plans ahead to offer her services for whatever we have coming up. She has helped with impromptu clinics, aid stations, time trials, cheer stations, kickoffs, the list goes on and on. In her “spare” time Val is one of our mentors, helping new Z’s feel comfortable and navigate the logistics of the team. And thanks to Val, you have a fancy bio section of this cheer guide! When you see Val around, THANK HER!

Bel Serocki

Bel assisted Val Dix with the very cool bios. An Ironman Florida vet, Bel is “paying forward” the support she received from Team Z during her Ironman training in 2013. Bel has been known to attend long team rides just to support friends and teammates. She always greets people with a very big smile, offers of apple sauce, sweet and salty snacks, and is always willing to provide any support teammates need, including cheering in the very last riders on a 7+ hour ride. Bel will be one of our big cheerleaders at both Ironman Mont-Tremblant and Cozumel this year.

Janet Chow and Lisa Folb

These two veteran Z’s volunteered to organize and deploy our elite Team Z cheer squads. We’re talking about, making signs, creating costumes and just plain getting folks organized and having a plan. They both bring great ideas, creativity and tons of energy and enthusiasm. Amazing cheer squads is one of the things that makes Team Z so special and unique. Please be sure to thank them, especially when you’re alone at mile 20 of the run, it’s pitch black, and suddenly, there are Z’s there calling your name and encouraging you to finish.

Liz Kollar

Liz is an employee of WTC assigned the task of supporting the clubs and teams that participate in Ironman events. This is a relatively new position, and Liz is perfect at it! From the moment we met her while planning Lake Placid, Liz has been nothing but helpful. She has allowed us access to people and information we’ve never had in the past, because of Liz our cheer stations have the support of Ironman course directors. And because of Liz, there is now a club competition THAT WE WON AT LAKE PLACID. When you see Liz around, THANK HER! If not, e-mail her a thank you at triclub@ironman.com.

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Come to an information session and see what it's all about!

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Growing up, I was never even remotely athletic, a distinct liability in a sports-mad country. Moreover, I grew to associate the idea of people being “sporty” with people who were generally obnoxious, who loved to lord their athletic prowess over others.

Triathlon, therefore, was a revelation for me: very ordinary people who were able to achieve extraordinary things. Team Z is the essence of triathlon in that regard, an amazing mix of experienced athletes (who turned out to be quite nice people) and absolute beginners, all sharing their different journeys. The team is full of people who push me when I need to be pushed and who push me when I don’t think I want to be pushed. Because the team pushes me, I’ve become something I never would have believed I could become: an athlete.

Mark Mullen

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Never say never on Team Z! I never thought I would do a triathlon let alone a half Ironman. I told anyone who would listen that the only way I would ever run another marathon was if it was in an Ironman and since I was never going to do an Ironman I had nothing to worry about. Well, so much for my “never” list. With the support of Team Z, I have raced numerous short distance triathlons, several half Ironmans, raced my best injury free marathon (I beat Oprah’s time), and signed up for an Ironman.
Regardless of your experience, speed, motivation, and goals there is a place for you on Team Z. When I joined the Team in December 2011, I did not know what to expect. My old game plan was to go as fast and as hard as possible regardless of the consequences. I do not recommend this strategy. I somehow always fell to side with an injury and burned out long before I reached the start line. This all changed when I joined Team Z. With the help of the coaches and my teammates, I am learning everyday how to find balance physically, set reachable goals, listen to my body, and enjoy the experience. I have a good friend on the Team that says that all the training and hard work is the journey. Race day is the victory lap. Gotta Love Team Z!

Kathy Hsu

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In 2009 I ran the Disney Marathon with my mom, accompanying her on her first 26.2 mile adventure. I remember standing at the start next to her and saying, “just think, those Ironman people have to do this after swimming 2.4 miles and biking 112”¦..freaking lunatics!.” Two years later with a couple of sprint and Olympic triathlons under my belt, and after a couple of glasses of wine, I started to wonder, “Maybe I can do an Ironman too?” So I pulled the trigger, dropped the cash, and signed up for Ironman Cozumel. This followed by immediate panic. “Oh dear God, what have I done? I haven’t the slightest clue how to train for an Ironman.” A couple months later, by chance, I ran into a Z’er outside of my work and as we started talking Triathlon, she told me about Team Z. “Why not? It can’t hurt” I thought to myself. So I joined. It didn’t take me long to realize that this team had everything I wanted: knowledgeable and supportive coaches, structured training plans for all levels and abilities, fantastic teammates, and most importantly cold beers ready for you after every race!

Scott Leary