School is out for the summer, I am well aware that I did not update my blog during the fall…or the winter…or the spring, so let me give you the cliff notes version of my P3 year.
Fall: I celebrated my 25th birthday with the Richmond Half Marathon. In one of my best-paced races ever, I hit a solid PR (1:18.17), dropping nearly 90 seconds from the same course in 2012. I ran alongside a running friend (thanks Sallie!), descending the entire race and feeling strong while doing it. The race improved my confidence in the distance and was one of the most fun races of my career.
|We literally slept in a cave|
Winter: Tim and I took full advantage of our long Christmas break (there are perks to being a professional student). My younger sister Margaret came to Richmond for a week of sister bonding and liked it so much that she’s moving to Richmond this month! We then celebrated Christmas with both sides of the family. During my time in small town Indiana with my in-laws, I was able to swim with a local high school team. Though I had sworn off 3+ hour Christmas break swim workouts long ago, I found myself spending all morning at the pool and loving every minute of it. We then embarked on a little tour of the South. In addition to spending the night inside a cave outside of Chattanooga, we enjoyed time in Savannah and Hilton Head.
|Lobster dinner in the Naples sun!|
As my summary of the last nine months attests, my P3 year included a number of incredible experiences with great friends and family. In between these considerable highlights, though, were significant, non blog-worthy experiences that made me feel a bit like life’s punching bag. Difficult times often require self-reflection, and one particular moment of introspection was inspired after spectating the major Junior Elite triathlon hosted by my triathlon club, Endorphin Fitness. As I cheered on a number of junior athletes who I train with and reminisced about junior racing, I decided to reread – for the first time since submitting it - my Common Application essay for college. I’ve included my opening paragraph below.
Dismounting from my bike, I depart on the final run of my triathlon with equal amounts of trepidation and excitement. My exhausted body knows the pain I will endure during the ensuing run; my mind recalls how laborious each step will feel as my legs adjust from biking to running. The hours of painful training, the numerous fans who sacrificed hours of sleep to support me, and the sense of accomplishment I’ll feel at the finish line drive me, pushing my mind and body to new limits. Amidst my haywire emotions, I feel a sense of calm, a connection with God as I race, and I know that I have found my ideal sport. Triathlons are more than my greatest hobby; the sport embodies my character and ambitions. Triathlons exhilarate and excite me, challenge me physically and mentally, and teach me invaluable lessons about faith, determination, and success.
|Junior Racing. Margaret is behind me wearing her "coach" shirt.|
The essay reconnected me with my 17-year old self. As a homeschooled high school senior, I was in nearly complete control of my education. I accomplished an incredible amount that year, as I was free to pursue my passions in coursework, research, and extracurricular activities. Life beat me down this year, and in the fight to keep my head above water, those passions became a dim light at the end of a long, dark tunnel. I am reaching the end of that tunnel, though, and my excitement for triathlon and my education are as bright as the Richmond sun that has so cruelly begun burning me on runs. My race season will start later this year - in June - but when I do toe that starting line, rest assured that I will feel the exhilaration, excitement, and challenge that I so accurately described seven years ago as a junior triathlete.