Ad Astra Per Aspera, the Latin phrase meaning “through hardship to the stars,” has been my motto for the past couple of years, as I have faced much adversity in my endeavor of competing as a professional in the sport of triathlon. Of course I anticipated that there would be hardships and challenges, but certainly not the challenges I have faced. And while the stars I have ascended to through the adversity were not the stars that I had dreamed of, as I had dreamed of athletic achievements and being a fixture on the podium at professional races, those stars have turned out to be even better than I could have imagined.
Just after the one year anniversary of the accident, I had a few stars inked on the back of my neck, over where I fractured my C2 vertebra. It is a small reminder of the adversity I faced, and more importantly a reminder of all of the positive things that have shone through the challenges.
I raced this past weekend at Raleigh 70.3, after a crazy week with a lot of distractions outside of triathlon. Though I certainly could, I am not about to make any excuses for why I did not have a better race because I am genuinely happy with my result. Sure it was not a PR, I had a fairly awful swim, a lonely bike that took me to dark places when I realized I was in last place for a good portion of the 56 miles, and it was not my best run, but I fought hard to the end and I feel proud of how I finished.
For once I did not stress myself out for days before the race; I think all of distractions that come along with moving hundreds of miles helped to alleviate some of the pressure. But also having those other stars in my life outside of triathlon that will still be there no matter if I finish first or last have helped me to keep things in perspective. It felt so good to enjoy the experience of racing and be able to smile at the finish.
Thank you all for all of your love, encouragement, and support.
Onward and upward.