Wednesday, January 16, 2013

A Look Back at 2012. Love!

Well there it is, the last arms by those who made podiums were raised at the cx national championships last week and I think most cx racers would consider it the end of the season, save for Master's Worlds (late north american nationals) and maybe a late race here and there. I of course, feel like I have a big void in my heart since I planned my entire year on doing well at cx nationals, but as Cubs fans say "there is always next year," and I appreciate the support from people who say that to me. In all honesty, I was sad to miss natz, but it was out of my control and I'm doing a pretty good job of keeping that in mind, and it's okay. But as far as me saying the above phrase, it isn't something I count on after the nde. There isn't always next year, and even tomorrow isn't a guarantee. I don't mean to be cynical, but I understand completely that each breath or moment can be our last... that's just the facts of it folks. So try and take each moment and live and love it with all your heart. Even though it's really hard to do sometimes. 

Reflecting back on the season... I have to say I'm pretty happy with it!
Anyway, even though on initial review of this post, I was going to write about the disappointment I had in some of my races or placings this cross season, that isn't going to happen the more I think about it. Coming into the season, I wasn't quite up to speed yet. I had dealt with some kidney/ bladder issues left over from the nde. I had a stint where I was pretty ill and needed to be back in the hospital in July for the kidneys and needed to have a foley catheter (tube in the bladder) in place for 3 months. That's right, I trained, raced, and had that every day for 3 months. I sucked it up and dealt with it, but it wasn't optimal by any means. Given that, I also was planning a full ICX and OVCX schedule so I knew it would be a long season to get my groove back. A lofty order! Since I missed all the ovcx races last year from the nde, I really had no idea how I would do compared to everyone else. The years before that, I was clearly one of the top 2 women in the elite series, but 'cross has grown up a lot since then and I basically felt a year behind everyone else. Of course, one can say that to themselves, but when the gun blows, I forget about all I've gone through and it's easy to forget that once you are racing and you expect your body to perform like it once did. Long story short... it didn't. Not so much at least. I had a good "sole searching" time this year getting used to the fact that I wasn't the best anymore. I also needed to spend the season learning how to adjust to the neuromuscular disease myasthenia gravis. It would take some time to learn how my "new" body would respond. 
How would I take that, what did that mean to me as a racer and person, and how was I going to approach each race. It was time to reset my goals a little bit. 

I won't lie, the first few races I was way back and I was not taking it well. Maybe I should quit?
Always leave it to the Mom to put you back in place. I had called her after a race where I thought I did bad and was really down in the dumps about it and beating myself up. She just told me point blank: "either race your bike and have fun no matter how well you do, or don't race at all. And don't call me anymore being depressed about something that shouldn't warrant sadness, I won't have any part of it. We are just blessed you are still alive, let alone be able to race a bike." It takes a little tough love sometimes:)
 See it, do it, love it, leave it. 

I reset my attitude. Do the best I have with what I had and work really hard to get better. Enjoy it! And weather people viewed me as a good racer or not... wasn't any of my business. My goal was to be a good, positive influence in the sport and show that winning isn't everything. Cross has so much more to offer! And man, would I learn this more than ever this year! 

So how about a look at some wonderful pal mars I accomplished this year results wise with my Don Walker Cycles Team:
I competed in 22 cyclocross races.
 I reached the podium in 17 of those races. 
Winning the race or my master's class in 5 of those.
Indiana CX Cup overall elite women series champion. 
OVCX Elite Master's 35+ series 3rd overall and 7th overall of all elite women combined. 
2nd elite in Indiana State Championships. 

Not too shabby I guess... many people would kill for this, so I'm gonna be proud of it.
What I'm more proud of is the fact I learned that winning isn't everything. Not even close. I worried that my lack of wins would make me fade away from the cyclocross family I've become a part of. If I wasn't winning, would people even care? The truth is... your family always cares.

Wow! My family grows every year... here are just a small amount of my cycling family gathering to send me some encouragement! So much support!
Since I've been known to wear my heart on my sleeve at times (like all cross racers do), let me continue that here. I was crying like a baby as I was laying in my hospital bed recovering from surgery on Dec 16th. The last series race of the season at MTV was taking place and I was stuck in a hospital feeling a world of pain from surgery and sadness from missing the race. I had worked so hard all year to be a part of the series, to make the series podium overall and say a goodbye to all I had spent time with and to those who supported me the this season. 

To say I was overwhelmed by the love that came my way soon after would never describe my gratefulness to the cycling community. I'm still speechless to this day. The amount of texts, pictures, messages, and kind words (and hospital heckles) that I received is unimaginable to me still, it seems like a good dream... and I wasn't even the best rider anymore... huh! I won't try to explain what it meant to me in the state I was in. It was a very dark time to face such a huge surgery after everything I had already been through in my life... but it was good to not feel alone in the journey. 

Yeah... I was feeling pretty rough after surgery, but my spirits were lifted by the thoughts and prayers of many.
Sometimes if you ever think the world is a cruel, mean place, and that people are inherently bad... I beg to differ. There is so much love! Thank you to all that showed it to me when I really needed it. God has blessed you all.

Cycling is a great sport. My family and I have known that since the first day we spent at the BMX track when I was 12 years old. At 36 now and thousands of races later, it still is a great sport and even more importantly a wonderful family to be a part of, no matter what recent media focuses on. 

My lesson and take home message from 2012?
Winning isn't everything, but ACTING like a winner is. 

Of course, there are so many more pictures and messages that came my way in days to come... these are only a few, otherwise the post would be too long! 

Lots of racers were missing NB yesterday - hope to have back on the bike soon! 

Show love and be loved. I have had so much satisfaction in seeing people around me be happy, do well, and overcome hurdles, than I ever had when I used to put so much worth in to me winning myself. 

I would like to dedicate today's victory to my friend and mentor,, who's recovering in the hospital from a recent surgery.

Be proud. Some people never make it back. No matter how much time they have. Stoked for you. 

 Uh oh, that doesn't look like home......whatever it is, get well quick....there's cowboys waitin'.....

 don't be sad darlin' it's gonna be all right

Good job to everyone this year who accomplished their goals... not matter how big or small. 
Is it next 'cross season yet?