I was speechless.
The subject line read “Team USA Edmonton Congratulations!” But, I didn’t believe anything merited congratulating until I had read every word within the email, twice. I gasped, shook my mom’s arm incessantly and failed to make coherent phrases.
The conversation went something like this: “(Noises similar to that of a pterodactyl) What?! No?! (high-pitched gasp as I continue reading the email for the third time) Gah! Qualified…? Gaaaahhhhhhh! (more pterodactyl noises) TEAM USA. ME.” By this point my mom had somehow gathered what I was trying to say: I qualified to compete in the 2014 ITU World Triathlon Grand Final in Edmonton, Canada as a member of Team USA.
My dream since April of last year had come true. And all I could do was mimic an extinct bird.
After tweeting, Facebook status updating, calling my brother and sending multiple all-caps, emoji-filled text messages, I felt somewhat lost in the flurry of excitement. However, later that night, I looked in the mirror and saw something I hadn’t seen in a while: A layer of contentment that was yet to be tainted by insecurities, doubts or difficulties glistened in my eyes; my cheeks hurt from grinning; my smile was wide, somewhat crooked and prompted creases to form around the corners of my eyes. I examined my face for a couple minutes and finally realized what prompted this change: pure happiness.
“Happiness looks pretty good on you,” I thought to myself, “it really does.”
Going to bed that night, I no longer felt lost, I knew exactly where I was headed. And it isn’t just Edmonton. I have a long road ahead of me, and I have yet to feel more ready for it. I am honored and humbled to be given the opportunity to represent the US in a race, and I am ready to pay attention to every detail of my training. Every ride, swim, run and recovery session now serves a finite purpose: to banish my doubts, insecurities and fears and keep this happiness shining in the back of my mind, reminding me that this is my passion, my love and my lifestyle. I am ready to doubt the doubters, overcome my demons and surpass my expectations. I am happiest when I am training, and, as I’ve determined, happiness is the best accessory.