It all happened so fast. I was at IRONMAN North Carolina 70.3 cheering on friends and my sister while on my bike and next thing I knew I was on the pavement. I had hit some railroad tracks incorrectly and hit the ground. After seeing the doctor a few days later, it was determined to be a ruptured ACL and meniscus. My racing days for 2019 were over – just like that.
This was all new territory for me as I had never been truly sidelined due to injury. This was an enormous uphill battle I was about to face.
Physical therapy was a slow process, but within a few weeks, I was hopping on the bike during treatment and spinning! During PT, I began doing a lot of strength work. I also found myself going on walks and surprisingly, I started meditating for the first time in my life. All of this made me realize that I wanted to come back as a stronger athlete and more compassionate person.
I started swimming after about six weeks post surgery. Shockingly, I found myself quickly getting strong and strong and faster than before! I still don’t know how or why this is. Imagine being on a glorious 20 mile long run. At the 10 mile mark, you turn around and head home. All of a sudden the sunny day turns bleak. The storm clouds appear with thunder and lightning all around. You are so far from home with nothing left to do but face the storm. Eventually, a light appears in the distance. The storm is breaking, but you don’t focus on that tiny ray of light. You put all your energy in just facing the storm and trying to make it through. Swimming has been my ray of light, and I know one day I will see the good, but right now I am just trying to make it through the storm.
Four and a half months since the accident, my doctors cleared me to ride outside! I admit I felt nervous getting back on the bike. Once I started riding, I could not take the smile off my face. I road my bike with pure joy and gratitude. A resurgence of energy, passion, and purpose became clear: I want to show others that though we cannot control the outcome, we can control the process. Growth comes through the struggle. The choice is ours. Are we going to let obstacles stop us? Or will we instead face them with resilience? I choose resilience.
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