Of course my mom and dad make the top of my list, since they raised me to be a good person, hardworking, determined, and to ride the highs and lows. We have been through A LOT as a family, but they always made sure my sister and I had good family to lean on. Mom and Dad have also been really understanding with my disorder.
My sister. Wow, my sister. Every time I think I have problems, I think about what she has been through. 15 years of medical problems with no diagnosis until three years ago. She has had multiple surgeries, spinal taps, and complications. Top that off with 5 brain surgeries in 2 months - I have no room to complain. Whenever I am out training or racing and I feel like giving up, I think of her. She doesn't have the opportunity to do what I do. She can't risk injury to her head because she no longer has part of her skull so biking is a no no. Just that thought helps drive me through that 100 mile ride, the last part of the marathon in the Ironman, I just think of what she went through. I really am blessed to do what I do.
I have had so many people mold me into the person I am today. They may not know how big of an impact they have made, but they should know how thankful I am. Swimming at UNLV clearly changed my life. When I was recruited, I knew I would be a walk-on, but I had big goals. One of the reasons I chose UNLV was when Jim talked about Alyson Noble and her work ethic and desire to be the best. Yes Noble, I am pretty sure I wrote this in your senior scrap book, but I have to call you out again. It was such an amazing experience swimming with you, even if it was only a year. I just wanted to be able to work hard like you and have that drive. You handled it all so well. You went through the grind day in and day out. It paid off. The impact that had on me shaped my mentality for the rest of my swimming career.
Jim and Kunio took me in and not only made me a good swimmer, but a better person. I was difficult to deal with and they put me in my place. They made me realize that it was ok to have big goals even if people thought it impossible. NOTHING is impossible. Let's face it - I was not even on the radar as being competitive in D1 swimming my first year. But I knew what I wanted to accomplish, and I knew the work I had to put in. 4 years and 2 minutes faster later, I accomplished that impossible goal. I managed what very few people get to experience all because I was not afraid to believe in that big goal. I even had a few team mates who admitted they didn't think I could do it after the fact, but acknowledged all the hard work I put in. My swim friends always supported my crazy goals - Tiff, Lauren, Soph, Jen...the list can go on and on.
Perhaps my biggest influence lately is actually my 22 year old self. In recent years I have been afraid to set big goals because I am afraid of what people will think. My 22 year old self did not give a crap what people said - I just did the work. I found that the only way to start believing in that you can do it, is to say it out loud everyday. That is what I did before and that is what I need to do now. I have big goals. I will get a job that I will enjoy. I will make Kona. You may doubt, but I will do it. I will quietly work on it everyday. I will dig deep and put in the work every day. I am more powerful than I can ever imagine It's not over until I win.
"This year I will make this goal a reality. I won't talk about it anymore. I can, I can, I CAN."
It all started somewhere. (I am in the grey cap and red goggles)