Take a breath…now there’s something I don’t think I’ve done in 4 years. I’ve been on the go and on a mission since August of 2014 when I first stepped on Lindenwood University’s campus in St. Charles, Missouri. The past 4 years have been nothing short of extraordinary. I dove head first into a mission that people came straight out and told me was not possible. I paved my own path and pioneered a route that had never been taken before. I did a lot of things that I never admitted until now for fear that I would be told to “slow down” or “take a break.” Now, with 4 years of sweat and tears in the rearview mirror I’m ready to tell the story of the college girl who wanted it all.
Before telling the story of how I got to this point I wanted to take a moment to outline the last 4 years by the numbers:
Lindenwood University 2014-2018: At a Glance:
Bachelor of Science: Athletic Training
Bachelor of Science: Exercise Science
Certified Athletic Trainer
Certified Basic Life Support
Certified CPR and First Aid
2018 School of Health Sciences Student of the Year
2018 School of Health Sciences Research Conference Winner
159 Credit Hours
1200 Clinical Hours
9 Clinical Rotations
2017 Collegiate Short Track Cross Country National Champion
2017 Collegiate Cyclocross National Champion
2016 Collegiate Cross Country Mountain Bike National Champion
2016 Collegiate Short Track National Champion
2015 Collegiate Cross Country Mountain Bike National Champion
2016 Missouri Sports Hall of Fame
2015 Midwest Collegiate Cycling Conference Champion
2015 Midwest Collegiate Cycling Conference Race Winner
2016 Midwest Collegiate Cycling Conference Race Winner
15 Collegiate Cycling Race Wins
2014 Truman Cross Country Running Race Winner
2nd fastest female Lindenwood Steeplechase record
Lindenwood University Cross Country 2014-2016
Lindenwood University Track and Field 2014-2015
Lindenwood University Swimming 2014-2015
Lindenwood University Cycling 2014-2018
2015 Collegiate Road Cycling Criterium National Championship- 5th
2015 Collegiate Team Time Trail National Championship – 5th
2017 U23 Mountain Bike XC National Championship – 2nd
2016 U23 Mountain Bike XC National Championship- 2nd
4 x Pro XCT Podium Finishes
2014 XTERRA Amateur National Champion
Columnist for Mountain Bike Tales Magazine
75 Trips to and from the St. Louis Airport
5 Best Friends
1 Loving Boyfriend
1 Family with Undying Support
Countless People who Impacted my Life for the Better
The last 4 years have been so incredibly fulfilling and, in hindsight, I wouldn’t change a thing. However, these last four years have been anything but easy. In fact, these years have been the most challenging of my life: physically, mentally, and emotionally.
When I came to Lindenwood I was told that I wouldn’t be able to finish a double major in athletic training and exercise science in anything short of 5 years. Additionally, I am the only LU student to represent the University in 4 uniforms. This is not to mention winning 5 national titles. Athletic Training is a health care major and requires 165 hours of hands on clinical hours outside of the classroom every semester. It also requires students to test one on one with the professor through practical examinations outside of class time. It’s a rigorous program that one must apply to even after being accepted into the University.
So how did I do it all?….even I’m not totally sure. A lot of prayer and a lot of help from God.
Every day was scheduled and outlined into 15 minute increments. Every semester of my time in college I had a wake of time in the early 5:00 am hour. Freshman year it was for swimming, sophomore year it was to get to the weight room, junior year it was to ride my bike, and senior year it was to complete my personal training requirement. Charging my lights for a 5:30 am bike ride was commonplace in my life. My schedule shifted but the amount of things I had to do never did. I was still a professional cyclist and training between 15-22 hours on the bike every week with all of my classwork on top. I flew to races all over the country competing and my textbooks made every domestic and international flight with me.
An example of a typical day from Junior Year:
5:15 Wake Up
5:45-8:45 On my Bike Riding
8:45 Shower and Change
9:30-1 Classes (lunch during class)
1-6 pm: Clinical Hours with the Football Team
9-10 Prep for tomorrow
10:30 In Bed
The truth of the matter is that I thrived in this high stakes, high-pressure environment. I never had time to consider slowing down. I didn’t have time to be tired. I didn’t have time to be frustrated, get lost, get a flat on a ride, or miss an assignment. I never told most people how busy I was because I didn’t want to be told I couldn’t do it.
Of course I had breakdowns, but it couldn’t last long. I got sick, I got injured, and I made mistakes, but at the end of the day I put my head down and I kept gritting it out. I had to accept that I suffered from anxiety during these four years due to an overly booked and overly demanding schedule, however, I wouldn’t trade it for the world because I finished these last 4 years having accomplished every single thing I set my mind to do.
Now what? I plan to use that same drive to accomplish much bigger things.
Now that I graduated, I’m taking a breath and I’m putting all of my energy into the pedals as a full time cyclist for the Clif Pro Team. This is my dream come true and now that I’ve walked across the stage and have my diploma I have the freedom to pursue cycling with every fiber of my being. While I’ve been training like a full time racer during school, I haven’t had the ability to rest like one, to eat like one, to meditate like one and now all of the pieces to the puzzle are going to go in place.
In addition to racing, I am a coaching cyclists. (Stay tuned for another announcement about coaching). I am currently accepting athletes and I’m so excited to help others reach their full potential.
So, as I turn the page from a full-filling, draining, exhausting, exhilarating, enthralling, successful, and stressful time in my life, I encourage everyone to do the same. Take a leap and bite off more than you can chew. Not only will it show you where your true passions lie, but you’ll surprise yourself with how powerful you truly are. Nothing in life worth achieving is easy, but I promise the view after a long climb will be the best reward possible. I am a firm believer that you do not know how far you can truly go until you fail. Push yourself to the point of failure and step back one inch. Be disagreeable. Nothing done for the first time seems possible. It’s easy to be 2nd, but it’s difficult to be the one who makes the leap. And finally, never be accused of living too safe of a life.
Thank you to the enormous village that caught me every time I stumbled throughout these years and who cheered me on in my victories. I am forever grateful.
See you in the next chapter…..