Life leaves its mark

posted by brookebean, a Women Talk Sports blogger
Wednesday, June 1, 2011 at 12:18am EDT

About brookebean:

I am a two-time triathlete, and am competing in the 2011 Danskin Triathlon in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin. I am a former collegiate soccer player, and a married mother of two young boys under five yea...more

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 Leave your mark.

 We all have scars, don't we?  Some are emotional, some are physical, but

 we've all been through things in this life that leave their mark.  I have

 scars down the left side of my body - starting at my shoulder, then elbow,

 knee, and finally ankle.  Those scars are the remnants of the scariest

 moment of my life.  And they are also daily reminders of how blessed I am to

 have survived that day.  Those scars tell a bit of my story, a bit of who I

 am and what I've been through.  I wish I never had to experience what I went

 through to get them, but I'm actually glad I have them.  They help me to be

 more thankful for my life, remind me to hug my husband and my kids a little

 longer, and motivate me to train harder because you never know when you

 won't have that chance anymore.

 On August 23, 2009, my life was changed.  I was training for my second

 triathlon, the Danskin Women's Triathlon in Pleasant Prairie, WI.  A couple

 weeks before the race, early one Sunday morning, I was out on a bike ride.  

 It was a glorious day.  Bright sun, blue skies, warm summer breeze.  I was

 riding on a country road a few miles from my neighborhood.  The road had

 recently been repaved and it was a perfect, smooth ride.  It was a quiet

 morning, barely any traffic, just me on my bike surrounded by cornfields. In fact,    

 I remember thinking to myself that this might be the most

 beautiful and peaceful ride I have ever been on.   And literally, seconds

 after having that thought, I was struck from behind by a car and the

 serenity was shattered by the noise of the impact and the rush of panic that

 overcame me.  I flew through the air, and hit the pavement like a spear - my

 head and left shoulder absorbing the impact.  (I was of course wearing a

 helmet, which cracked but most certainly saved my life or at least saved

 me from more serious injury).  As I crashed to the ground, the bike and I 

 separated and I saw it bounce away from me to the side of the road as I 

 continued to skid along the pavement, feeling as if all the skin on left side was

 being ripped off.  I came to a stop in a seated position in the middle of the lane

 I had been riding in.  At this point, an oncoming car had arrived on the

 scene and stopped to help.  The driver of the car that hit me also returned

 to the scene.  Thankfully there was not another car coming behind the one

 that hit me, or I would have been run over since I was still in the road.  I

 stood up as the good samaritans got out of their car to help, so right away

 I knew that my legs were ok.  One of the gentlemen helped me to the side of

 the road and the other directed traffic around as now there were a few cars

 slowing at the scene.  My left shoulder was exploding with pain.  I was

 bleeding all down the left side of my body from the road rash.  But I was

 conscious and knew that I was going to be ok.  I was just hit by a car on a

 55 mph road and I was going to be fine.  WOW.  In that moment, I knew that I

 was incredibly blessed.  I knew that God had protected me and I was so


 I wasn't able to compete in the 2009 Danskin Triathlon due to the shoulder

 injury I endured that day.  But I made a goal to train for and complete the

 2010 Danskin Tri.  I accomplished that goal and it was an amazing feeling

 and a day that I won't ever forget.  It took a lot of courage for me to get

 back on my bike, but I am so glad I did.  The road to recovery was

 challenging - both physically and psychologically. I did months of physical

 therapy and I struggled with frequent nightmares about the accident for more

 than a year afterwards.  The pain is now gone, the fear has subsided, and

 yet that day has left it's mark on me and on my life.  I see those marks

 everyday and I ask myself, how will I respond? What kind of mark will I

 leave?  To me, the answer is that I will compete and train and enjoy

 triathlons and other sporting events as long as I am able.  I believe it is

 a gift to have been given a healthy, working body and I don't want to

 squander it.  And, I want to leave a legacy to my children that mommy did

 not give up after (almost literally) hitting a bump in the road.  Life

 certainly leaves it's mark on us, but we can leave our mark on it as well.

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