Throughout the year, I trained according to my coach’s advice. I competed in 9 triathlons of various distances and placed 1st female in 8 of the races, which led to taking the overall title for the women in the Virginia Triathlon Series. I had never won a race in high school or any of my previous races in college, so to repeatedly win so many races back-to-back seemed surreal to me.
In November 2007, my big goal became a reality when I won my age group at the Ironman 70.3 World Championship race! I also happened to post a faster time than 7 of the professional women. As a result, I received several sponsorships and interviews with Ironman and The Daily Press (back when subscribing to print newspaper was common 😉). This newfound success triggered me to daydream about competing as a professional triathlete after graduating from Virginia Tech.
The next month, I registered for the USAT Duathlon National Championship race (run-bike-run) because I realized I would receive $2,000 if I placed first female. I finished the first run (10K) in first place and everything felt so effortless. Shortly after starting the bike portion, I thought I could likely win the race. A few miles later, I positioned myself to go around a turn, but my rear wheel fishtailed on loose gravel and wet pavement and I crashed hard, landing on my hip and cracking my helmet. I was trembling uncontrollably as I lay on the stretcher in the ambulance to the hospital - not because of the immense pain radiating from my hip and road rash on my body, but from the uncertainty of the long-term damage. I felt like I was just getting started pursuing my untapped potential as an athlete, and not knowing what the future would hold grappled my mind with fear. A few hours later, the ER doctor told me I would likely need a hip replacement at the age of 22.
Perhaps you can relate to my story and you've experienced a crash in your life. Maybe a loved one of yours has been diagnosed with a chronic or terminal illness or syndrome. Or, you learned that your significant other wants to break away from a committed relationship. Your job was going so well and out of nowhere you received the notice that you have 30 days until your last day. You can't fathom your current situation and the future seems unbearably unpredictable. No matter how bleak your predicament appears to be right now, there is hope.