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."


  1. This is beautiful Dani. Thanks for sharing it and I hope you kick major a$$ in Chattanooga this weekend.

  2. Danielle! You are an inspiration in so many ways! Have fun this weekend...

  3. love it! great story. kick the shit out of chattanooga

  4. I am always amazed by you, more than just your comeback but your work ethic and dedication. You keep it up and nothing will stand in your way!! Good luck in Chattanooga!!

  5. Wow! Amazing story!! I too love the Chattanooga. Good good luck and kik some butt his weekend!!