Last weekend was the big weekend for Challenged Athletes Foundation: The San Diego Triathlon Challenge. It is an amazing weekend that brings together challenged athletes and able-bodied athletes to race together and fundraise for the Challenged Athletes Foundation so that they are able to provide challenged athletes with grants. I was one of these athletes to receive a grant for a running prosthetic last April from CAF and Ossur. And as most of you know, I knew my life was going to change forever that day I received the grant.
But before I received the grant, I participated in my first CAF event. It was October 2010 and I participated in Tour de Cove- a 4 1/2 hour spin-a-thon. On that day as I sat staring at the stage of CAF athletes and heard their stories about all they had accomplished, I had a wake up call. I could do that too! I wanted to be part of this community too! And so it began.
Last Sunday, nearly a year to the date since my first CAF event, I had some time to reflect during my 10 mile run for my relay team for the San Diego Triathlon Challenge (SDTC). I find that running really helps me reflect but 10 miles?! That is a lot of reflection to take in. As I was running I was having a great time cheering on those finishing up the bike and run leg of the triathlon and I began to think about how much CAF has done for me in the past year. Not only providing me with the running prosthetic that has enabled me to race as a paratriathlete but also in improving my mentality. Being a part of CAF and meeting other Challenged Athletes and hearing how much they have done has taught me that there is no CAN’T but only things we CAN do. I believe in myself so much more than I ever did in the past.
SDTC is such a fantastic event and if you have a chance to come out next year, YOU SHOULD! It is a great time to see the camaraderie associated with the triathlon community and the support everyone shows each other. On top of this, I was completely in awe of the many many people who were there to support and have raised money all year (and year after year) for all of the Challenged Athletes so that we are able to continue to reach for the stars. I wanted to say Thank you to everyone!
On Saturday, despite feeling a bit under the weather, I was able to attend my first running clinic put on by Ossur. We received great training advice and recommendations for different drills from some great coaches and prosthetists. I was also able to see some of the amazing female Challenged Athletes I look up to and aspire to be like and meet Chrissie Wellington (4 time IM World Champion) who came out to support CAF all weekend! It was so great having her there!
A lot has happened in the past year- I ran my first 5k, my first triathlon, received a fantastic grant for a running prosthetic, raced at Nationals, raced at Worlds (in Beijing! Still unreal…) and connected with a fantastic and supportive community. And I would not be here without CAF. Or all of you supporting me a long the way!
What’s next? Oh. Only my first half-marathon this weekend!
If you live in Los Angeles, Orange County or San Diego (or anywhere if you are willing to make the trek), TriFit Club and Studios will be hosting a spin-a-thon to benefit CAF. This will be a great event and I really hope you come out and join us on December 3. For my information about this, please click here.