I reviewed my training plan for the day. It read, Workout # 1, 3500 yard swim with various warm up sets followed by drills and race pace efforts. Workout # 2, 75 minute spin at zone two effort. The time has come and December quickly pounced on me like a hungry cheetah chasing its next meal. My training for Ironman Arizona, Ironman 70.3 and various Olympic distance events this season is now in full swing and my sore legs and sore deformed feet send painful reminders as why I challenge myself with a disability.
Looking back over the years, and as I previously mentioned triathlon has been a major part of my life. It’s a sport that welcomes all regardless of ability or disability. It’s a sport that encourages individual effort and challenges a person to dig deep and to see what they are really made of.
However, it’s not so much the sport that drives me so to wake up early, train 15-20 hours a week, adhere to a strict diet and sacrifice my social life. It’s the discovery that my disability is a gift that has brought many great things into my life.
Years ago, before I woke up and realized that I was given a gift I felt defeated and angry that I was born with a deformity at that the time was treated with unnecessary surgeries that may have caused more damage than good. I was angry that I had surgery and that my feet now look more cosmetically perfect than functional. I was pissed that my son was born with the same thing and that he will have to endure the same challenges I do.
My painful reminders, radiating through my legs and deformed feet challenges me towards a greater cause. It’s my gift. My gift of two feet that don’t work, that have brought me great joy rather than disappointment the last five years since my son’s birth. Through this journey I have meet such wonderful people such as parents of children born with clubfoot, fellow athletes struggling with disabilities, a supportive clubfoot community, many clubfoot organizations, owners of triathlon shops, sales reps of major shoe companies and triathlon gear.
It’s because of these people I am able to share my gift with others as we work together to bring awareness to the ever growing population of children and adults living with clubfoot. It’s a cause that sends the message that we can, with our gift make a difference in people’s lives