The excitement is brewing.
I can’t seem to wipe this smile off my face.
My heart has never felt so full.
I’m sitting in my hotel room in Edmonton, Canada, patiently waiting for my turn to toe the starting line with some of the world’s best age-group triathletes. I have been waiting for this race for months. I have also been wondering, worrying and anticipating a weekend of terror, anxiety and feeling out of place. I have been stressing over injuries, bike wrecks and unexpected frustrations. I have felt unfulfilled as an athlete for quite some time, wondering if all of the hours I spend swimming, biking and running are really worth it. Wondering if this is all just a waste of time, if the dreams I visualize late at night and the fantasies I envision during tough training sessions are all just a wisp of a dream and nothing more. Wondering if I have the talent, the potential, and the heart to make my dreams reality. After this weekend, I know this is what I want in my life. And while with time, dreams can change, fantasies can morph and passions can wane, deep down inside something has clicked. An inexplainable feeling of elation has washed over me leaving bliss, contentment and peace of mind in its wake.
I have never felt so sound. I have never felt so at home. I have never felt so happy.
I haven’t raced since Collegiate Nationals in April, and I’ve backed out of five of my six planned races due to injury this year. Needless to say, the season has not gone as planned. My timing hasn’t been great – I made the tough decision to change my coaching situation less than a month out from the biggest race of the season (this one), and I have only run outdoors pain-free four times in the last two months. I’ve spent the last four weeks or so attempting to coach myself, creating a final make-shift race-specific training block and somehow maneuvering my way through what I hope resembled a respectable taper. I’ve been navigating my way through insurmountable expectations and surreal self-doubt to only land into a puddle of pity. Little was accomplished during that time, and quite frankly I didn’t have much fun. Tomorrow, all I set out to do is have fun. This weekend has been a dream, and I am going to do everything I can to keep this dream alive.
Tomorrow I get to race again.
I get to race for my country. I get to wear an ITU certified kit with my name and USA across the front. I get to fly through a country I have never visited before. I get to run on the same streets as Gwen Jorgensen and the Brownlee brothers. I get to battle through a swim, ride to my heart’s content and run free of worry on a world stage, and I wish you could see the smile already spreading across my face. Rarely does everything go as planned, and that’s okay, because right now, in this moment, I have realized one thing: this is my love. Triathlon is my passion, and no matter the outcome tomorrow I’m going to keep doing it solely because it makes me happy.
My heart is swelling with passion for this sport, and tomorrow I get to take that passion to the World Stage.
Here’s the race plan:
– Race with heart.
– Race without expectations.
– Have the best time of my life.
The plan has always had a foundation in longevity, and with longevity comes an unrelenting passion. I cannot wait to toe the line tomorrow and relinquish this passion. It has been dormant for far too long.
Want to see the race?! Check out this link for live video coverage of the ITU World Triathlon Grand Final.