I have officially started Comeback 4.0. That's 3 bouts with my autoimmune disease and 1 hernia repair surgery all in the last 7 years. What still drives me to drag my ass back into shape year after year, setback after setback. Sometimes I really have no clue. Mainly it's because I've not accomplished what I set out to do as an athlete when I decided to continue competing after college. But it clearly has to be more than that right? Since that decision I have had to start from complete scratch 3 times now. My friend and life partner Chris Moen pointed out recently over a wonderful post run breakfast that it was incredible and crazy that I hadn't hung them up yet and continued to keep racing despite all the setbacks. He may not have realized the small comment (which I highly doubt since he chooses his words carefully), but the comment landed hard. It made me take a step back and look at all I've had to battle just in the last few years. A smarter person would have probably hung up the spikes years ago, but the intensity of training and racing are intoxicating (way more intoxicating than any drug or alcohol I've experienced).
This past fall and winter was a real struggle for me mentally not being able to train because of an injury that no one could find the right diagnosis. Since the hernia diagnoses and surgery, I have found a surprising relief and clarity very different than my battles with Wegener's Granuloma. If there is one thing that I have learned about myself during all my setbacks as an athlete, it's that I am incredibly good at being focused during these setbacks as well as pounding my body back into shape. And when I say pound, Moen can tell you, I mean pound day after day, run after run till I'm ready. A younger me would definitely be much more antsy and frustrated, but I have found a confidence in myself that I haven't felt in years. Who would've thought that months of spotty training and injury could bring out that confidence. Maybe it is just age and learning, but I know that regardless of my current situation and fitness, come May, June, July, and August I will be light years ahead of last year and ready to scalp! I know I'm now 28 years old, but I know I'm finally start spreading some inspiration however small and start to make a name for myself.
Why am I beating a dead horse of the comeback story? I'm tired of being silent and trying to just let my legs do the talking. I've done that the last 3 years and it has gotten me no where. I still have to work way too many long hours behind a desk and that affects my energy levels and performance on some level. I have no sponsor to help with travel cost, apparel, shoes, and all the other amenities and security that a sponsor can provide. No agent to fight for me to get into meets, or help me attract sponsors. So I am left to fight for myself every step of the way. But that hasn't stopped me so far and I refuse to let it stop me now. Slowly through the help of groups like Bring Back the Mile and SCRunners, I've been given the opportunity to voice my story and hopefully raise my stock value for the coming season. I have taken to badgering every brand that I can find contact info on and shoving my story in their face. I won't go quietly and one company is going to be lucky for backing me before my story and career gain traction this summer.
To anyone else out there feeling like they are constantly getting knocked down and can't gain traction, keep fighting for what you know is right and what makes you happy. If you aren't chasing dreams in life then where is the fun in living?
All Hope is Gone