Tomorrow, US Nationals starts. My goal is to race my best. I know I am still on the road to recovery and I shouldn't expect PRs from myself. Frustrating? Absolutely. But it's been the hardest year of my life!
Let's see. Last September, I went through a devastating breakup while enduring months of the stress of impending big changes in our governing body. Because the changes would directly affect where I could live, train, and go to school it was unbelievably hard to stay focused and positive on a day-to-day basis. In November, I got very sick and was hospitalized with something that is yet un-diagnosed but I know is triggered by stress. After being in the hospital for 4 days and missing my ski trip to Utah, I got to come home in time for Christmas. In February I went back to California with the intention of putting my illness behind me and making the World Cup Team, and only had relapse after relapse.
Finally, I came to terms with the fact I was physically and mentally unwell; because I was completely unable to train, I made the heart-wrenching decision to go home and rest for awhile. At home I took up canoe racing (because I'm bad at resting), and I trained as much as my body would allow (not much!) In May, just two weeks before the 70-miler, I was thrown out of the boat during a race in rough water and dislocated my shoulder. I couldn't race the 70-miler for which I'd been training, and I had to stop lifting, stop paddling, and start grueling physical therapy for the umpteenth time in my life. All this time I was still having mini-relapses of illness which caused me to stay in bed for a few days at a time.
A few weeks after my shoulder dislocation (around mid-June) I was back in my kayak and began to carefully train for US Nationals. 10 weeks later, here I am, excited to race for the first time in a year and put some of these setbacks behind me for good.
It was a rough year. Nothing went the way I'd planned. I'm certainly not as fast as I was a year ago before the tumult started. But I'm on the upswing, and I'm not backing down. This is my journey; I'm proud of it!