I know, I know... it doesn't make a lot of sense to start a blog just to avoid it. It wasn't my intention. I started the blog to bring all the aspects of my life together in one place because I'm always feeling so tugged in so many different and random directions. If for no one else, just for me to have a place to simply be me- any aspect or side of me that happens to need an outlet.
Instead of being open and honest, and using this as the outlet I intended it to be (and NEEDED it to be), I got scared and embarrassed of what people would think. That's a big hang up for me. It's something I've worked really hard at getting past, but in this world it's such a toughie. I have made a lot of progress in that respect in a lot of areas, but apparently I have still have some work to do as I was scared to humble myself here. So, I'm doing it now.
To make a long story short (believe me, I could make this into a really long story...), after Arella was born, in the back of my head I was still thinking about diving again. Not platform, my body is way too beat up for that, but springboard was still a real possibility. And the more I tried not to think about it, of course, the more it consumed my thoughts.
It got to the point where I wasn't just thinking about playing around, but in my head I was seriously thinking about a comeback. But then the other half of my brain was shouting at me 24/7 with reasons why that was such a bad idea. This really began to tear me up inside. I couldn't discern which voice was mine or which to follow. Did God really want me back in the pool? Did He have plans for me there? Or was it just me seeking some sort of selfish ambition?
After tons of prayer and discussions, several things started to fall into place so I would be able to get in the pool and train. So I did. And I only know one way to train, so I gave it everything I had.
It was quite the juggling act balancing working out and taking care of the baby, but we got into a rhythm and things were going surprisingly well. I decided to compete at Winter Nationals in December because it was the last opportunity to qualify for Olympic Trials. I had no idea if that's what I wanted to do, but I wanted to give myself the opportunity if that's the way things happened to shape up.
About a week before Thanksgiving, the reality of everything kind of hit me. I have always LOVED training and competing, but I was tired of it. Don't get me wrong, I was enjoying myself because I absolutely love flipping through the air and ripping through the water, but finally at 34 years old and after 18 years of the sport, I was simply tired, and my passion to be at that level again was gone.
It was a little sad to realize this, but honestly it was more freeing to me, to finally feel like I could let go and move on. I decided to go ahead and compete one last time for fun since the meet was just a few weeks away and I would get to see my diving friends at Winter Nationals. So I put together an easy list of dives and traveled to Tennessee for one final hoorah.
Probably because my heart wasn't completely in it any more, I didn't dive very well in the qualifying event leading up to the meet, so I didn't make it in individual. But sweet Erin Mertz of Purdue entertained an old lady by throwing a synchro list together and diving with me on the last day of nationals. We had fun and even qualified for the 2012 Olympic Trials. And then I got to take my sweet little Arella up on the 10 meter platform for the very first time. It was a perfect way to wrap up my career, still making new memories.
Arella & I on 10 meter (she was pretty comfortable up there!)
Family picture on 10 meter
My synchro partner Erin and I with Arella on the award stand
Kenny, my coach who was there on my first day and my last!