I put my heart and soul in to kayaking my best during the World Championships. I showed it on the prelims day, when it really didn’t matter much. I paddled like I had forgotten how to actually kayak during semi-finals. Looking back at that day, there are so many things that I wish I could have changed. Never change your routine, no matter how weird it is, don't ever change it on your competition day. That is my one regret of that day.
I had three goals going to Worlds. The first, was coming home with the gold, of course. The second and third were more about my kayaking abilities. I wanted to “wow” the crowd and show them what women can actually do in a freestyle boat and I wanted to hit a pistol flip. I did both of those in just one ride during prelims. I also scored the two highest womens rides of the weekend, even for finals. 50% of my prelims rides would have won me a gold medal. Looking back on it, I was successful, even though the success hurts because of other circumstances.
I have had so many feelings come rushing through me in the last weeks. I had elation knowing that my sister was coming to watch me paddle, a lot of people didn't even know I had a sister. I had sadness because my dad had been in the hospital for a week before the competition and was not able to come watch. I had happiness knowing that I had a group of friends who was stoked to help and support me, no matter what happened. After the competition, I was really sad, I was heartbroken, I felt like I had failed. I wondered, “Was it all worth it?”, “Why did it happen like this?”, “What can I do to make my love for kayaking not be rendered by one event?”
I know it was all worth it. I came home to an amazing boyfriend, my dad is working on getting healthy, and I am going to be an aunt in February. I still love kayaking. I love surfing Garburator and after the competition was over, I stayed and surfed Garb for another five days. After everyone had left to go to their respected places, I was still there, surfing my heart out with my boyfriend right there with me.
I am now home, back at work for Greenville County EMS. One of my Lieutenants asked me “What’s next?” Well… that’s for a whole different blog post.