During a leisurely turn of the course at this year's cyclocross nationals in Austin, TX, I casually threw an elbow into one of the many unprotected metal barrier corners lining the course. I tripped up the stairs carrying hot coffee, scalding my hand and twisting my ankle in the process (but I did not spill a single drop on my host's stairs!). And I am successfully avoiding falling asleep until well after midnight.
All this in the final few days leading up to one of the biggest races of my athletic career. Shockingly, this is par for the course. I have competed in countless national championship events (three different sports), won four of them, and before almost every one have managed a bit of adversity getting to the starting line.
Aside: The best one was when I decided I needed a little tan, four days before the event, to reduce my obvious shorts and sports bra lines. Having never used a tanning bed before or since, I had to practice in the days leading up to the event without wearing a sports bar, so badly sunburned was my chest. Training tan lines and winter pale limbs are beautiful!
Back to this years Cyclocross Nationals. I am now sitting and drinking my coffee. The scald has faded. My ankle is happily twitching with pre-race restless leg syndrome. And the barrier only left a small bruise and a barely perceptible dull ache in my arm. The perfect amount of adversity to remind me that this is fun, and tomorrow's race is going to be a mud-tastic adventure for the ages.