The past week has been a whirlwind of emotion. It’s been nearly four years since I’ve toed the start line at a triathlon – and it feels like most of what I’ve done since then has brought me to this place.

Nerves, anger, fear, excitement…as I countdown the days to Race Day, I remember to breathe, to focus, and to let go of expectations. Now is the time to concentrate on enjoying the experience.

Four years ago, I read and re-read Chris McCormack’s “I’m here to win” until it the pages started falling out. I used to believe that if I couldn’t race to win – there was no point in toeing to the start line.

Now, slowly, I’ve learned that winning can mean many things. Winning means honouring the event and the other athletes by bringing what I have. It means racing with grace – whether I place in the top ten or the top thousand. The only thing that I can control is me.

More than anything, I am grateful that I am healthy and strong enough to race. I will never again take for granted the ability to train my body and my mind to perform.

It’s a privilege just to be out there.

As the clock ticks down, the mental milkshake begins, and every little crisis begins to feel earth-shattering, I take a moment to step back and feel gratitude for everyone that has stood by me, guided me, and helped me arrive here.

Thank you to my coach, Clint Lien, who believed that I could come back, and who has both supported me and kicked my ass every step of the way. I am grateful to my teammates at Mercury Rising Triathlon who make training fun, who push me, and who make me a better athlete and a better human being.

Thank you to Dr. David Quinlan, Dr. David Naysmith, and Dr. Carolyn Van Es. Without your knowledge and your commitment to helping me get healthy, I would not be racing at all.

Thank you to North Park Bikes, F2C Nutrition, and lululemon for taking care of my technical needs, so I can focus on training my body.

Most of all, thank you to Jim Rabb – who sees more of me than anyone else, and who has been on this journey with me from the beginning. Your unwavering strength and fortitude of character are inspiring. I am grateful for your patience. And I am so looking forward to crossing the finish line, throwing myself into your arms, and knowing that we did this together.

I remember that I need only run my race. I’ve already won.

“I am brave, I am bruised
I am who I’m meant to be, this is me
Look out ’cause here I come
And I’m marching on to the beat I drum
I’m not scared to be seen
I make no apologies, this is me.”

– Benj Pasek and Justin Paul