My first thought when reflecting on 2018 was . . . Pain.
It was extremely and excruciatingly painful. 2018 was the year of discovering my limits and hitting the wall. Think running full force into a wall and being knocked backwards and then laid out on your back in a heap on the ground. That pretty much sums up 2018 for me. I was pushed over the edge physically, mentally, and emotionally. My season ended much earlier than I wanted it to. My body shut down and gave me no choice but to stop.
Now looking back, I am grateful for that pause. For the opportunity to reflect on how far I’ve come and think critically about the road ahead. It was a time to reassess my values – were the things I was putting my time and energy into bringing me joy? Or helping and inspiring others? Was I giving back to the sport that I love and that had given me so much?
Not surprisingly, most of my top 9 memories from 2018 came from the last three months, from my extended off-season. Taking the time to reconnect with friends and family, give back to the community and encourage the growth of sport, and do the things that bring me the most joy. When I look back through these photos, I realize that I have so much to be grateful for. 2018 was a very special year – no matter how difficult it was.
Top 9 Memories:
9) Costa Rica – the opportunity to return to the country I had lived in for 6 years, participate in a race professionally there, and catch up with old friends, was just incredible.
8) Ecuador – I had always wanted to travel more extensively in South America and just loved experiencing the 70.3 in Manta.
7) Braver. Boulder. Stronger. Workshops led by Rachel Joyce and Dana Platin to encourage women to achieve their goals in triathlon and life. So honored to take part in this incredible initiative! Join us for the REINAS January goal setting session in Boulder!! https://www.eventbrite.com/e/braver-bolder-stronger-2019-brunch-goal-setting-workshop-tickets-52539783908
6) Coaching the First Descents Leadville 100 Mountain Bike and Run teams. Without words to watch these teams of athletes take on such a daunting challenge to raise funds for outdoor programs for Cancer survivors. I was in tears watching the riders cross the finish. More info on First Descents: https://firstdescents.org/
5) Ironman Taiwan and the opportunity to travel to Asia which has been on my bucket list for a long time. This was the race where it all ended. My body shut down and I was forced into a long and desperately needed off-season.
4) Spending time with family. An early off-season meant the opportunity to see family and celebrate my father’s birthday with him in October.
3) Monument Valley Trail Half Marathon – running through the desert with the Navajo to fund raise for Native American youth health and education programs. More info on their race series here: http://navajoyes.org/events/
2) Outspoken Summit – Honored and inspired to have been able to attend this initiative, come together with leaders across the sport of triathlon and tackle issues facing the growth of our sport – diversity, inclusion, access to resources, conditions for pro athletes, and bringing back smaller races. Hoping that together we can make changes to benefit all. More info: https://www.shiftsports.org/outspoken.html
1) Tucson Time with SMASHfest Queen Teammates – mountain biking and trail running with SFQ teammates and taking in the breathtaking sunrises and sunsets. Living life simply and beautifully.
I am supremely grateful for 2018 and the difficulties I faced as they have forced me to adapt, dig deep, and overcome. I believe that success can often breed complacency and that our times of greatest growth come from failure. Failure stings. It hurts. It drives you to be better.
During this difficult year, I reassessed my values and discovered who my true friends and supporters are. The people who know you, KNOW YOU. They support you for who you are, and not the things you achieve, or the successes you’ve had. I’ve received a lot of off-handed comments as a result of this ill-fated season. And they have hurt. A lot.
However, I am beyond grateful that the friends and sponsors who have always had my back and supported me, and who have been there for me, have rallied to make 2019 bigger and better. I am absolutely thrilled for the changes on the horizon for 2019 and excited to dive into the new year! The best is yet to come.
New Year. New goals. New season. Let’s do this!