Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Life Time Tempe: Paratriathlon US Nationals

An overdue post on how my 2014 triathlon season concluded the week of September 14-21.

After completing the North Shore Triathlon along side Ironman triathlete, Todd Smith, I took my bruised ribs home to recover. In seven days, I would toe the start line at Paratriathlon US Nationals at Life Time Triathlon Tempe. Breathing, laughing, and coughing were tough. I struggled even more to find my breath in the pool. I could not even run. I warmed up at a ten minute per mile pace. Sharp pain traveled from my foot up to my shoulder. I could not handle the pain for more than one minute. I tried 6:30 pace. For a moment, the pain was less, but soon it proved to be too much. How would I expect to run that fast for 3.1 miles? Would I even make it through 750 meters in the water?

I reached out to Jenna Parker to inform her of my condition. She was understanding and supportive. Still, I felt that I would let down Dare2Tri, Pinnacle Performance, Base Performance, Todd Smith, and Jenna Parker. I could fly to Tempe and see how I felt race morning. I could race and go as far as my bruised ribs and broken body would allow. I could opt to not get on the plane and set my sights on healing up for the Chicago Marathon which I would run in three weeks for Children’s Oncology Team One Step. I wrestled with my emotions. I listened to what Jenna, Todd, and others said as to why I should go or why I should not go. I wanted to defend my title from 2013. I owed it to myself. I could not even jog in place without pain bringing me to the verge of tears. I was stressed out. Thursday morning. One day before I would have to board a plane. I followed Jenna’s instructions. I knew I had her support no matter my choice. Several friends attempted to shame me into “manning up” and racing. After days of pushing and pulling, I informed Jenna that I would not race in Tempe. Even after I told her, I continued debating. I told Todd and the folks at Dare2Tri. I told Paratriathlon Program Manager at USA Triathlon, Amanda Duke Boulet. I was at peace. I was empty.

I woke up in my bed on race morning. I was in plenty of pain. I knew instantly that I had made the correct decision. I could not help, but still think that I let people down by not even trying to race. Yet, I knew in my heart, I was content with pulling out of the race. I had not an ounce of regret. I had Jenna’s full support. In the end, outside of my own opinion, hers was the only other which mattered. It did help that Todd, while disappointed he would not guide me, fully agreed with my decision.

My 2014 triathlon season began abruptly when I was moved from the open wave to the elite start wave for ITU Worlds Chicago in June and it concluded similarly when I was injured at North Shore Triathlon thus unable to compete against the best of the best in the USA. The year’s memories were filled with great highs and with disheartening lows. I am honored that I was able to experience all of them while having Jenna Parker, Dare2Tri, Pinnacle Performance Company, Base Performance, and Team USA on my side. Here is hoping 2015 will bring more special memories of swim, bike, run moments.

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