I’ve been hiding.

My last relationship ended with constant harassment, a restraining order, a new phone number and e-mail address, and a change in where I was living. It was THAT bad.

I stopped being consistent in my training. I left my coach because I wasn’t holding up my end of the bargain. I was generally a quiet, introverted, doubtful, scared, insecure, self deprecating version of myself. I put this out there because I know I’m not the only person who has ever dealt with a curve ball like this one.

My family, friends, and dog offered consistent support. But, I was stuck. Weekends were spent laying on the couch with the dog. My family is AMAZING, but over 2000 miles away. My friends opened homes and hearts to me, but I had to really force myself to take advantage.

A 3-day Drill weekend with the National Guard helped me start to refocus a bit. There’s not much time to dwell on one’s own problems while leading a platoon of over 30 people, helping them out with their needs, and working 16+ hour days.

The following weekend, I headed out to Austin to volunteer at the Team RWB Tri Camp. It started with a 12ish hour solo drive out to Austin. I LOVE road trips. I listened to some awesome podcasts (Sawbones and Nerdist top the list!), drank a few too many energy drinks, and arrived at a somewhat ungodly hour. I didn’t factor in the 2 hour time change, or the El Paso traffic… anyway…

Team RWB Tri Camp was AMAZING.

First – the athletes. Civilians and veterans participated, each of varying ability level. Incredible, motivated, strong, resilient, determined, selfless, amazing people. 

Second – the volunteers. So much time, effort and love put into this event and it showed. Every second, every mile.

Third – the pros. Passionate, skilled, helpful, and SO approachable.

I was brought to tears multiple times over the weekend for virtually every possible reason: sadness when learning of their struggles, happiness for their presence, inspiration, empathy, pride, joy…

I left with a full heart and a renewed spirit.

I feel like I’m returning to my normal self. When life or workouts have gotten tough, I think about all of the people I met who have faced and overcome so much in their lives. My personal struggles often pale in comparison. And, it’s not in devaluing my own struggles that I push to overcome them, it’s in using strength that I know is inside me. The strength that occasionally runs low and needs some topping off. The strength that I saw in each and every one of these athletes fuels me.

I will carry this camp & it’s participants with me.


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