Someone once asked me what I thought was the one marker of a successful person: I answered with “the ability to pivot.” To adapt on the fly, to cast aside things that aren’t working if need be, and to reinvent yourself.
The last thing I expected as a result of the Spartan Race World Championship was a shattered pinky and surgery two days later to insert plates and screws. I remember being oddly calm in the urgent care room in Truckee, because “it’s just a pinky – this is dumb,” I thought, and “at least I can still run”. I remember my mood starting to change when the urgent care doc looked at the x-rays and said I needed to see a surgeon ASAP, and further crumble when the surgeon gave me the verdict – full weight bearing on the hand (i.e., hanging from a bar, doing pull-ups, etc) would be 3 months. Um…come again?
And I remember the exact moment where I went “oh shit. World’s Toughest Mudder” … the event that started it all for me, the one event unlike any other, was a month post-surgery. This entire season, I’d always had it in my sights: because I had to miss it last year, and because of my history with it, it had always (quietly) been my “A” race this year. And I was going into it with the lofty goal of being the first woman to break the 100-mile mark at the race.
Sitting there in the urgent care room in Truckee, I called my friend Caroline and sobbed “I can’t miss this race two years in a row…I CAN’T.”
Her very astute and simple response: “Why can’t you?”
“Because I’ve never missed it two years in a row. Because I sat on the sidelines last year vowing that I would avenge and hit 100 miles next year. Because the last time I missed the race I came back and won it the next two years and it was this triumphant comeback and that’s what I wanted to do again.” And then I cried some more.
“Amelia, I love you,” she said, “but you HAVE to stop living in the past.”