Well, I can't believe I did it, but I did it. I'm going back. Shortly after I was told it would be six more weeks before I could swim in my January appointment with Dr. Bradley, I made the call that I wouldn't be going to St. Croix this season.
At the time, it was best to let it go. I had no idea what it would be like to take almost thirteen weeks off from swimming. I had never done such a thing, and although it was crushing, I just couldn't justify spending the money to get there if I wasn't going to be on my game. When I race, I come to play. That's just how I work. I couldn't change that mind set / strategy if I tried. It's part of who I am and I know what it takes to do well. I've been there, done that. So, if I couldn't stand on the starting line feeling confident that I was prepared and ready to race to the best of my ability, then I didn't want to go.
All that time, I was biking, running, lifting and really trying to become the best athlete I could with doing a few swimming drills once or twice a week. Concentrating on just these elements really kicked my biking up a notch (as did riding with a great group of triathletes on the weekends!).
Then it finally happened, I got clearance to swim three weeks ago! Surprisingly enough, although that shoulder was weak, my swimming started to go a bit better than I thought! I wouldn't say I am fast by any means, but I seem to be able to hold my own in the 3500-4000 yard workouts now! Finally!!
I had a decision to make. I really wanted to race early in the season, and although things hadn't been perfect, maybe it was a good time to test myself. Things in my personal life are still far from sane, but emotionally, I'm starting to get more on an even keel. I prayed, and trusted, and looked into my heart to see what I truly felt was right for me. I knew, even if I didn't have the perfect day, it would be really amazing to do my best in a 70.3 and see what happened in a place where I had such a good race two years ago. In addition, a few stars came into alignment and I had the funds to make the trip!!
With that said...
I signed up two days ago..
and I booked a plane ticket...
I'M GOING TO ST. CROIX 70.3 TO RACE MY HINEY OFF ON MAY 2ND!!!!!!!!!!!
As you can see from the video above, I learned a lot about hydration in the heat that race and I have taken those lessons with me and developed a new nutritional strategy over the years. I vowed to NEVER finish like that again (if possible), but I certainly learned how far I could push myself and what my mind was capable of doing in certain cases. I also believe that was divine intervention, and I'm not lying! I don't even remember most of that crawl!
Needless to say, I'm excited. Will I probably be in 100% - no. Am I ready to go and do my best and see what happens... absolutely.
I'll be racing in my new team digs - Ballou Skies - and for a great cause that has spoken to my heart like nothing else I have ever raced for before. I know when I'm out there, I'm going to think of Ryan, who has touched my life in such a big way. He, and his family, make me want to be a better athlete, a better person, and work harder to do things to help him and boys like him.
So wish me luck! No crawling this year!!