This past June, at Ironman Boulder, I gave EVERYTHING I had both physically and emotionally.
In 2012 I was forced to abandon triathlon- it was a huge turning point in my life that in retrospect I am forever grateful for. It took me back to my roots in Mexico (where I swore I'd never live- the irony is awesome) where I connected with some amazing people, and experienced both challenges and gifts that I'd never imagined life would throw at me.
This time, in the middle of a World Championship race, around mile 30 of the bike, I looked around at the motivated, fit girls zooming by, and all I could think of with a slight grin on my face was "dang, I'd rather be at brunch right now". In a sudden moment of clarity, I knew I was done; that life in sport had come full circle for me, and that this time I was CHOOSING to exit. I felt healed, strong, and armed with knowledge of what I want in life, and this was far from it!
So, I rolled into T2, and turned in my chip to an official who asked "are you sure you're finished?", and without hesitation, I said "yes, I am sure".
I knew if I continued to run, despite the fact that my back was also screaming, I could rally to the finish and there was the risk that endorphins, mixed with "I did it despite x..." could lead me to continue down this rabbit hole and through Hawaii and who knows what.
But my soul, my deep down desire of self and purpose, said "No, stop! There is so much more you want, and if you keep at this you're just distracting yourself from, and delaying what you yearn for to enter".
They say when you really close a door, another opens. So this is my dare to the Universe (or whatever you want to call it)... the door is closed. What do you have in store now?
Last year, I had a taste of the perfect balance- where I could share sport as a hobby, whilst living life as a normal young woman. Just shy of getting the job, settling into a relationship, and connecting all the little dots, it all shattered. It was one of the biggest blessings in disguise, because through that, and in the months that followed, I grew the equivalent of a decade as a person.
I gripped triathlon again full force, and used it to propel me out of grief, and into relentless power. Once that had been achieved, once I reclaimed my strength, I just went through the motions of training because I was having a blast with friends and trips, and "workouts", but my body was exhausted, and my heart was ready to move on for no one else but ME.
One of my favorite quotes, sums it up perfectly. I hope that in reading this, just as I'm told I've inspired people to train and race, I hope others are inspired to own their downs just as much, if not more, than their ups, and voice their emotions so they can connect, learn, and ascend into so much more than they thought possible- it's the essence of being human. There's no shame in expressing your feelings, and feeling them through. It's the only real, raw, vulnerable, and courageous way to heal and grow.
"I sought help when I needed it and honored my feelings instead of trying to 'be strong' and 'man up' just so everyone could think I was some emotional superwoman. My true strength came from acknowledging my weaknesses, my fears, my heartbreak, and myself." - N. A.
Now, sitting in a Starbucks, at the place where my and THE triathlon seed was planted- Encinitas, CA- I have peace and open arms for whatever follows, and am thoroughly enjoying working out for pleasure.
There's no list of goals or OCD planning- because life has taught me that the most wonderful things can never be anticipated, because they are usually greater than anything you could've dreamed up or written down.
Maybe I'll get a job in CA, maybe in Mexico, maybe abroad? Maybe I'll travel a few months.. Maybe I'll fall in love again...
Maybe all of the above
2 days ago