Never give up

In two days, I will be racing my 9th half ironman distance triathlon. 
In 5 months, I will be racing my 10th Ironman distance triathlon and 4th Ironman World Championship. 

In 9 years, I have covered 1827.8 miles with my body. 
That's like swimming, biking and running from Miami, FL to Maine!!!

One thing I have learned throughout the past 7 years since starting endurance racing, is that patience, hard work and commitment help me accomplish a lot with my athletic goals but life isn't fair or simple when you are an athlete. 

Throughout every training and racing season, I found myself experiencing great highs and lows. With the highs, I have won races, qualified for Kona, set PR's and have traveled to really cool places in order to race. Most notable with the lows, I always found myself with yearly chronic hip/glute/back injuries (that would keep my from running for several months at a time), regardless if I felt I was taking risks to push my body to get to that next fitness level or being smart with my approach to training. 

But the past two years have been very different than the previous 6. After my first season of endurance training without an injury, I had nearly 6 years of chronic injuries But there is a happy ending to my struggles -  I have remained injury free for over 730 days! 

After years of visiting doctors, having multiple exams and expensive tests performed and visiting many PT's and massage therapists, I no longer have to work hard just to come back from an injury. Instead, I am able to train consistently without setbacks. And it feels amazing!!

My point is not to brag about where I am now because let me tell you, it has not been an easy 9 years. There have been many tears, painful days and worries for much of my triathlon career as an age grouper.  Out of 9 years of racing, only 3 of them have been injury free. I spent 6 years emotionally frustrated with my body, unable to understand why I couldn't stay injury free. 

For so many years, I always wondered what it would be like to just train and let my mind be my only limiter. To be able to just push on race day and not have to think about the training that I missed because of an injury.  
I envied those who could go to bed and wake up excited to train whereas I was going to be hoping to be in less pain the next day, hoping to be a day closer to a possible unknown date of returning to running and training injury free. 

But through all the frustration, time lost from training and money spent on healing, I never wanted an injury to stop me from reaching my full potential. Giving up was just not an option for me.....even though I did mention the words to Karel and Gloria several times about "quitting" triathlons. 

I battled between wanting to continue something that I love because it teaches me so many life lessons, let's me connect with other like-minded individuals, that makes me feel so healthy and happy versus when I was injured, understanding why I should continue something that often does not make me happy or feel healthy and instead, makes me feel like I am not living my life to the fullest because I can not move and use my body and explore nature.  

But year after year, I focused on what I could do....instead of putting energy into what I could not do. 

Life requires hard work, patience and commitment. If you have a goal, you just can't give up on it because of the time it will take to achieve it or because it will be a hard, difficult and tough journey.
Or because a setback comes into your smooth-sailing path. 

Through all the highs and lows that we encounter in life and in training, there is absolutely no reason to dwell on the past because well, that can not be changed. Every day, you have to wake up excited to give your best and be willing to work for the best possible outcome. When it's time to use your body for something amazing, you do not want to look back and wish you would have done things differently. Sometimes we can't predict the outcome and sometimes we feel we do things right and well, things don't go as planned but as long as you never ever give up, you will get to where you want to be. 

You can give yourself a thousand reasons why something won't work but if you can think of the one reason why it will work, you will find yourself doing what the mind believes...and the body will follow. 

Sunday will be a special day because at Challenge Knoxville, I get to officially start my 2nd consecutive season of racing injury free. 

I'm incredibly grateful to my body for staying healthy, strong and resilient for the past two years but more so, for being strong enough over 9 years to let me discover how strong I can be - through all the highs and lows of training and racing in endurance sports. 

If you are currently struggling with an injury, health issue or perhaps dealing with a life change in your personal life, please never give up. 

Take it from me and all that my body has not allowed me to do over 6 years and now what is allowing me to do for the past two years. 
Life will continue on and I want you to choose to be an active member in your amazing life journey.