2018 – The year that wasn’t

Funny how one year can contain some of the highest highs and the lowest lows of life. I know that’s cryptic, so let me explain.

Early in 2018, I lost my grandpa. In my final semester of law school, I had to lay to rest one of the greatest men I knew. My in-laws were in town for bourbon fest, and we were having a great time, when I got the call that his health had turned south. After a difficult week or so in the hospital, he passed on to be with grandma.

I’m glad I got to spend time with him while he was awake in his last days, I got to tell him how much I loved him, how much he meant to me, and that I would see him again.

Then, the Carmel Marathon, which I wrote about here. If you haven’t read that yet, check it out. It’s the only race recap you’ll read from me this year. My hope was that this would be a strong start to my best tri season yet, getting into marathon shape before the season really kicked off, I expected to carry that early season fitness into the 2018 season. I was really pleased with my result, despite missing my goal time by a few minutes.

In May, I graduated from law school. Not only did I graduate, I made the Dean’s List in my final semester. A journey I began more than 3 years ago, completed. We had a fantastic celebration with family, capped off with dinner at St. Elmo’s in downtown Indy.

Shortly after graduation, I accepted a job in Denver, and started preparing to take the bar exam. I was working at the time, taking bar prep classes after work, and packing boxes after that. It was stressful, but there was a lot of excitement around making the move to Denver.

In June, on the way to Denver, our truck caught fire, and all of our possessions were destroyed. Standing beside the sum whole of your possessions as they burn is not a feeling I would wish on even my worst enemies, and emotional scars still remain as we work through this devastating loss.

Included in the destruction, were all of my bar prep materials, including notes I had taken through the first 1/2-1/3 of the course. We had to delay internet installation by a week and a half, so I had no online access to review videos to help me stay sharp. On top of this, I found myself alone (Natalie had to go back to Indy to continue working and school) in an empty apartment, in a new city.

In July, I finally took the bar exam. Two of the most stressful days you can imagine (besides watching everything you own burn), and Natalie and I took some time off to go to Chicago with friends to blow off some steam. We had a great time, but I don’t think I ever got over the concern for my test scores.

In August, I flew back to Indiana again to watch Natalie graduate with her Master’s degree. It was great to see friends and family, and to celebrate Natalie’s achievement. At the end of that weekend, we packed up Natalie’s car with the remaining possessions we had in Indiana, and drove out to Colorado together. No more would I be alone!

I’m pleased to report that there was no fire this time around. A few weeks later, I got the stellar news that I had passed the bar. I came back to Indiana recently to be sworn in, and I am a full-fledged member of the Indiana bar. I’m a real lawyer!

Things started to progress back to normal. I had Ironman Florida on the calendar on November 3, and I was training in a way that I would be able to finish, just trying to be able to put a cap on the year, finish it out on a positive note.

Then came Hurricane Michael.

Michael devastated much of the Florida panhandle, right where IMFL was to take place. There was so much destruction and heartache in that area, and I understand the pain of those affected. Ironman changed plans, and is miraculously still able to put on a race. Just, it’s going to be held 400 miles away, and a day later.

Unfortunately, those changes mean that I’m unable to race. I really had hoped to use the race to prove to myself that I can overcome disastrous circumstances, I can mentally overcome and beat the worst year of my life into submission, and turn it into the best year of my life. I wanted to be able to stand tall at the end of that race, and proudly say that I had become those things I proclaim: Drive, Grit & Determination.

And so, 2018 is the first year since 2012 that I will not have raced a single triathlon. I’ll be back in 2019, specifically at Ironman Texas in April. There are a few other races in the works that we’re looking at, and I’ll write more about those later. For now, I’m taking some time to enjoy our new surroundings here in Colorado, and trying to find some local races to jump into next season.

You’ll still see me on my trainer in the garage, out for a run on some trails, and in the pool at our new gym. I’m not stopping, and next season is going to be strong. 2018 has been challenging in so many ways, and we haven’t given up. We had every excuse, but we keep moving, keep pushing. I’m considering a new mantra for next year, and when we get back from Florida (we’re still going, we did buy plane tickets after all), I’ll provide an update on that.

Later on.