- I'd like to bring up my horrible decision in 2007 when I decided to race my first Kona with an injury. No running for 30 days due to hip issues and a quick-fix, please heal me, approach to every doctor that I saw, only to try to get myself uninjured before race day, results in extreme damage to my body during and after the race. With a stubborn head, I finished (and made it onto the NBC Kona broadcast coverage - yep, I was one of those athletes falling across the finish line) and it negatively affected me for several years (like 6!).
- I'd like to bring up 2011, where I didn't race a single triathlon for the entire year, except IM Kona in October, due to another 3 months of no running (hip/back issues) and a time-consuming dietetic internship that took up every hour of my day (10+ hours a day of interning and school work) for 10 months.
- I'd like to bring up the 3 months that I didn't run before IM Placid in 2013 and managed to get myself into as good of shape as I could, to feel prepared for that race, with only 8 weeks of consistent running. This also occurred during the time when my dad was diagnosed with stage IV metastatic cancer. Somehow, I managed to get to the start line and qualify for Kona with a roll down slot.
- I'd like to bring up the 6 years that I suffered from chronic hip/back issues, which caused many days of frustration, tears and anger toward my body. I can't tell you how many times I wanted to quit the sport of triathlon throughout those 6 years and how much time was spent on PT, doc appointments and anything and everything to try to get myself healed.
- And let's not forget Karel's recent issues, with a tear in his plantar fascia just 5 months before his first Kona in 2015 and then a diagnosis of a labral hip tear this past May and painful back issues leading up to IM Austria.
- I should also mention the passing of my dad, three days before my birthday in 2014. This is something that I deal with on an ongoing basis. I don't think you ever get over the loss of a loved one, especially a parent.
As a sport dietitian, coach and still developing triathlete, I have 10 years of formal education with 10 years of endurance training and racing behind me. I have learned a lot in 10 years and I don't believe I'm even close to reaching my peak performances by my boy. I think Karel, even at 40 years of age, still hasn't reached his best. He's getting faster, stronger, more efficient and smarter as an endurance triathlete with every season. And next season will only be his 6 season of endurance triathlon racing.