Wednesday, July 6, 2011

When you get where you are going, remember where you came from....

July 2004

July 2004 found me in the worst shape of my life. I drank, smoked, and could barely walk up a flight of stairs without having to stop and catch my breath. While at the doctor for a routine physical I was given an ultimatum: lose weight or risk becoming diabetic, developing high blood pressure, or worse. I realized that my weight was more than an issue of looks. I was on a path of self-destruction. I joined the gym. Hired a personal trainer. Quit smoking. Did a complete overhaul on my diet.

By May 2005 my hard work had paid off. I was 70 pounds lighter and felt healthier than I had in years. By Spring of 2006 I had met a group of triathletes and my passion for triathlon was born. I immediately fell in LOVE with racing!

On November 1st, 2006 I was in Panama City Beach Florida to support my friends racing Ironman Florida. I was struck by a drunk driver while riding my bike.

November 2006

I hit the windshield of the car, flew about 20 feet and landed in a GRAVEL parking lot. The driver kept going and ran over my bike. It punctured his tires and he had no choice but to stop.

I knew right away my left leg was broken. It was mangled and deformed. I had gone from being in the best shape of my life to unable to walk without assistance in a matter of seconds.
I spent 6 days in the hospital and had surgery. The doctor was not very optimistic about my return to triathlon. He basically said "Your leg is crushed. I can't guarantee that I will be able to get it all back together. You will probably have a limp. I doubt if you will be able to run again" I was absolutely devastated.

The road to recovery was long. Physically I was in horrible pain everyday. Emotionally I was a wreck. I would be thankful I was alive one minute, then bitter and jealous the next. I cried more during that recovery than I have in my whole life.

This Saturday I am competing in the Chattanooga Waterfront Triathlon. It was one of the first races that I did during my "comeback season" in 2008. I was looking at my results recently and realized that I have come a LONG way since the days of being unable to run because I was so overweight. I have come an even longer way since the days of being unable to run because my leg was broken.

I learned some amazing lessons the past few years, the most important of those being "don't forget where you came from". After my accident I was given a book that was about strength and never giving up. I read it every single day. My favorite quote from the book:

"Beyond the very extreme of fatigue and distress, we may find amounts of ease and power we never dreamed ourselves to own;sources of strength never taxed at all because we never push through the obstruction."

I made a choice to not give up. The result?

Rev 3 140.6, September 2010

I am doing things the doctors told me I wouldn't do. I am challenging myself in ways that never seemed possible. The journey has been long, the path hasn't always been a straight one, but it's been worth it in the end.

"Success is never a destination-it's a journey."