Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Throw your heart over the fence and the horse will follow

The title of this post is a common phrase among horsefolk. It pretty much means if you are cantering up to something like a water trough flanked by picnic tables (below), you'd better be committed and confident you are going to make it to the other side. Any hesitation, and your horse may slam on the brakes or duck out, leaving you in the dirt.

Me, circa 1983ish, having fun. My horse Chance is too!

That quote pretty much sums up my approach to this trip to New Zealand. I threw my heart over and committed to it, with no idea of exactly how to pull it off - logistically or financially. As an over-planner and one who likes a certain amount of control and predictability, this was scary territory for me.

I'm happy to report that thanks to the help and encouragement of many, my horse has followed. The pieces have fallen into place thanks to the generosity and advice of friends (old and new) and family.  Watching it unfold has been humbling (I use that word a lot but it's true) and full of surprises. So many things have happened along the way where I would just think, "this is meant to be" and so it's been a good lesson for me in letting go and having faith.

Solar Connexion and Hyperion Consulting, both owned by friends, stepped up early in the year and got me off to a strong start. The help was harder to accept than I anticipated, but I felt an immediate elevated sense of purpose to my training and racing. Still, I struggled with how and if I should even "fund raise" given the reason, but I had promised myself I would make my own way.

A big upside to the fund raising is the connection it provides to friends/contributors and the encouragement I have received from this group that includes friends in the area, friends who have moved away, a cousin, fellow bloggers, and athletes in my community. I've been able to learn about their goals and hopefully buoy them as well. There are several contributors I have only "met" virtually, but the common threads provide a meaningful tie. I believe this external support has factored into a strong race season.

I've also received support in other ways - a donated bike box, expedited logo screening on my team suit (thank you Exper-Ts!), and excellent care of my bike throughout the season (Just the Right Gear). Mike Morris, an experienced Team USA member, has helped tremendously with the logistics aspects of the trip over the past year. My new job at the fortyninegroup has allowed for solid fall training, and I can't say enough about working for a fellow triathlete! Coach Jim has gone above and beyond to do everything he can to get me ready. As he said,  "it will be fun going to Worlds knowing that you’ve done the work you wanted to." I'm glad for my readers too. I still think it's neat to be at a race and meet readers who take the time to say hello!

Travis Williams, from our local paper "The Burgs" did a nice feature on me last weekend that did a good job of explaining my story - that I haven't always been a triathlete or even an athlete, but that it's been a gradual process over the last four years. I was glad my sons got some recognition in the story, because they have surely been a big part of this evolution. While a whole article about me felt pretty "out there", I always come back to the fact that part of my goal in sharing so openly is to invite others to find their athlete selves.


The next few weeks could get a little crazy and I will just have to keep reminding myself to throw my heart over that fence and have faith that things will work out. I'll be racing this weekend, and then working hard to get my family and work set up to carry on smoothly in my absence. I'll be packing too, which frankly seems the most daunting part of this whole thing. So if my writing and blogging seem to slow for a bit, you'll know why. This month is bound to be a whirlwind, but an exciting one!


  1. Cortney, I was reading the article in the Burg and thought...I know this lady! I live in Boulder CO now and work at the Univ. of Colorado. My son and I have been taking horseback riding lessons. I still swim and have started bike riding. Great post! Mary Jane (MII)

  2. What a great picture. Chance looks like a great, forward thinking animal. I think all the time about that statement and it was the reason I finally retired from the irons. I couldn't do it anymore. I no longer had faith in the horse. Now I just name my bikes after horses. I'm ok with it but it did give me pause when I got a little scared after the last crash.

    There is a point of no return in all things, in jumping it is about two strides out, where any further tinkering will only muck it up. This is your line, this is your pace, this is the ride you set up for yourself... put your leg on and go. Life is kind of like that too. (SO is packing. Yes, I read that post first.) Prepare as much as you can but then when it is time, commit to the action, keep your forward momentum, and just go with it. You are two strides out with a great line and a perfect canter... HAVE FUN!!!!