How I got herePosted: May 9, 2012
Its a rainy, crappy day in the neighborhood and I don’t really have anything else to do so I am going to try and finally tell the story of how I got on this triathlete path.
In April of 2005, my parents bought me my first car. I was just finishing up my first year of college at Seton Hill and I guess they decided I not only deserved it, but needed it. My mom was sick of never having a car. I still worked while at school, plus with soccer, I was a busy girl and a set of wheels were a must. A strict budget was put in place and with the understanding that I was in charge of all maintenance and insurance, we set off to find my first car. After a few weeks of looking. I feel in love with this lady
“Carol the Cougar” was a 2004 Mercury Cougar that was owned by the wife of the guy of the used car dealership but she was looking for something bigger, so put it on the market. I fell in love and after some convincing to my parents that it was the car I NEEDED, she was mine. Granted, not my dream car, but not shabby for a first. I picked her up on good Friday and since I was the only one of my friends that had truly had my OWN car, she became the go to for all vehicle needs. I loved her.
Fast forward 6 weeks to memorial day. I had been at our cabin all weekend, but came home early to go hang out with two of my friends from highschool. I met Doug at Ritas and we were going to meet CJ at the new Walmart that had just opened. Exciting, right? Doug was following me in his car and down route 30 we went.
We were about a mile from meeting CJ when I went to change lanes to let a car on from an entrance ramp when all of a sudden, my steering wheel locked up, dashboard lit up, and this loud beep happened. I hit the concrete barrier (I am shaking as a write this), crossed 3 lanes of traffic, hit the dirt embankment, flipped side over side three times up a hill then end over end twice and finally landed right side up against a tree up a hill in the woods, about 600 yards from the road. I was going exactly 54 miles an hour (there was a cop on the exit) and while I was hitting I thought “Just go home and pull in the garage and we’ll wash and fix her because if your parents find out they will kill you” and then when I was flipping i thought “Just flip right side up and crawl out, flip up flip up!” and it was LOUD. Really LOUD, but quiet at the same time. As soon as everything stopped, I looked up an thought the car was on fire (it was just dust from the ground the car had kicked up) so I started to try and get out. I couldn’t get out my door because there was a tree there. The roof was collapsed, but I managed to swing my legs across the passenger seat and kick the side door open. (This is all my recollection, Doug was following me and his version of what he saw is a little different, but the facts are all the same). Before I climbed out, I turned the radio off, habit right? I didn’t want my mom I was listening to music too loud and thats what happened. Cj was calling me as I was formulating my escape plan, but I ignored it. (Sorry CJ, I was busy). As I was trying to crawl out, I heard Doug screaming my name and some lady yelling “Whoever is in there is dead, they’ve got to be dead” and I thought ‘Shut up, bitch, it isnt that bad, quit driving. At this point, I still thought my car would be fine. Found out later I was in shock. I have lots of fun shock stories, just wait. I finally kicked out and got out and Doug looked like he had seen a ghost. I was Sitting on the ground and I saw traffic stopped and my stuff all over the ground. I started crawling to my soccer balls and clothes and whatever else I saw laying around trying to gather my stuff. In the mean time, I had gathered quite a crowed and this is where everything starts to get fuzzy. Hey Shock. whats up. I remember telling my mom I was in an accident and it was bad but the car was ok and I didnt know where I was. The last thing I remember is trying to stand up to hand Doug the phone and not being able to and when I turned to get up, I saw my car for the first time. People, it was bad. Thats it. Boom. No more memories. I do remember being in an ambulance with my mom and seeing a guy crawling out of the back of my rear windshield, (a fireman trying to get my purse) and I started screaming because I thought I rolled over him and killed him. I think thats when they gave me drugs because when I woke up I was in the hospital surrounded by my entire family and a shit ton of friends and I thought I was dead. Couldn’t move, couldn’t talk. Dead. Luckily, it was just drugs.
Picture time. There were all taken at the tow place. No one was thinking to take pictures at the scene. This is about week after the accident, when I got out of the hospital.
Now is a good time to take a bathroom break or refill your water glass or whatever. Go ahead. I’ll wait.
I don’t want bore you with a longer story of all the BS that happened since this accident, so here are some fast facts:
-I had Route 30, a major road, closed for over 2 hours
-I was in and out of the hospital for about 6 weeks
-Injuries: Fractured C1&2, Sprained T 3&4, dislocated both hips, severe concussion, lacerated (from seatbelt) from my clavicle the whole way diagonal across my body to my right hip, and hundreds of cuts and bruises. All in all, pretty fucking lucky, considering.
-The cause of the accident was that my rear axle snapped. It was a recall for that car, but the guy I bought it from never told us. He skipped town after the accident and when I tried to collect from Mercury, the judge said I should have been a “more educated consumer” So that blew.
-I lost my soccer scholarship because I was unable to make camp. I was still rehabbing my neck and hips.
– I started my second year at SHU on time, but was still in therapy and decided that drinking and generally being an asshole was going to be the way I’d celebrate my second chance at life. I got a fake ID and just drank myself into oblivion, only went to class enough to get my credits and did whatever the hell I wanted. It was a great time and I’m glad I did it, but clearly not a long term plan. I got super fat and depressed as soon as my time at Shu was over. I only went two years then transferred to mortuary school. Thats another story for another time.
While at Seton Hill, I had access to the gym so I did all my walking therapy there. It was horribly painful to really do anything other than sit on a comfy pillow, and turning my neck was a bitch, but I did what I could and didn’t really worry about it. I had booze to numb the pain
My parents decided to join a gym when I started PIMS (Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science). With in the first month of being there, some crazy lady had come up to me and said I should a triathlon. I didn’t know what a triathlon was, but knew I couldn’t do it. I told her I couldn’t because I was in a car accident, but she was persistent. Sue, if you have any fun details of this exchange, please share because I honestly don’t remember much other than I wanted you to leave me alone because I knew I couldn’t do it 😉
The rest, as the say, is history. 5 years, over 20 races later, here I am on this journey to IMNY. I complain a lot and my life isnt anywhere near great, but I DO realize how lucky and blessed I am. I wouldn’t be here without the most incredible coach/ motivator I could ask for and a fantastic support system. The Mighty Tr Girls have changed my life and I can’t imagine doing this without the support and love from all of them.
Ok, I’m gonna quit before I get too mushy. Thanks for reading.