8 years ago, on the left. 19 years old. Sophomore year of collegiate track and field; photo preceded by several months of overtraining and my first knee surgery. “Underweight” in comparison to other NCAA throwers and according to the majority of my coaches. (What a wild world to live in when 195 lbs is too small for a woman, right?) I remember 2013 being a particularly challenging year, not only physically but also emotionally. I remember overcoming some very pronounced obstacles in my personal life that year. I remember recognizing signs of depression for the very first time. But I also remember a river of support pouring from places I would have never thought to look.
On the right, just a few weeks ago. Almost 27 years old. One of several headshots taken to wrap up my very first “branding photoshoot” for my private sport psychology practice. I remember feeling nervous in the car on the way to the shoot. But I also remember feeling proud. Proud of myself for building something despite countless hurdles I had to kick over on my way to this point (sarcastic thrower pun intended because I can’t hurdle). For lack of a more appropriate phrase, I remember thinking, “Holy shit.” If it didn’t feel real before, it felt real in that moment.
When I look at the photo on the left, I don’t quite see myself. I see the hundreds of thousands of athletes just like me (and totally different from me) that need support. Not just within their performance, but in their lives. I think that’s where the “holy shit” moment hits, because I am so grateful for the opportunity to fill that need, even for a small portion of that number.
I like to make jokes about how I ran a half marathon a couple of summers ago for the first time, despite having trained solely for power and strength for a decade prior. But the reality is that I’ve been running a marathon for almost 27 years. We all have. And the marathon continues.