Ringing in a New Chapter

By Molly Higgins | March 18, 2016, 5:07 p.m. (ET)
Clermont, Florida will forever hold a very special place in my heart. I spent four spring breaks with Princeton Track and Field running at the National Training Center and through the orange groves, soaking up every bit of the Florida sunshine. Now, returning to Clermont for the CAMTRI American Cup felt like a homecoming. Unbeknownst to me, this year would further link my heart and my life to Clermont forever. 

This was already going to be a big week. I was ready for my two key races of the first half of the season, where I hoped to achieve some big results. Both my parents and my boyfriend Hunter would be in town to cheer me on. I love having them at events and harness so much strength and energy from their presence. 

Molly HigginsIt was also a particularly significant week because this would be the last time I would see Hunter before he begins basic training with the Navy. This is just the first step in his journey towards becoming a Navy Seal. I had been looking forward to spending some precious time together before we began an old-fashioned love affair, with hand-written letters as our sole means of communication.

Hunter had other things in mind that needed to be taken care of before his departure - like asking me to be his WIFE! That’s right, after dinner our first night in town together, Hunter got down on one knee and asked me to marry him and build a life together! I was completely blown away, and he claims in my excitement, I didn’t say yes fast enough. But I did say YES to my best friend, my biggest supporter, and the love of my life. We are so thrilled, and I think the smiles that are still spread across our faces says it all. 

The next day I managed sharing our exciting news with family and friends, as well as remaining serious and focused the day before the race. The support and love from all those near and far was so heart warming and energized me. I was ready to race. 

Unfortunately, my race did not play out as I had hoped or trained for. The swim was very aggressive, and I did not handle swallowing water or getting dunked very well. I settled in the chase pack but, tactically, didn’t feel like I rode well. In and out of the technical pieces of the course, I was only where I wanted to be about a quarter to a third of the time. Though I got out of transition well, my legs weren’t there on the run. I finished 17th which was just in the points, but far off of the results I had wanted. 

It is easy to beat yourself up after lack luster results, and I wouldn’t be a true competitor if I was complacent. But I do recognize that days like these are a part of the journey, especially early on in the development stages. I take time to reflect on what went well and what needs improvement, but then move on. I’ve learned that dwelling is just wasted time and energy. 

On so many levels, this week was truly life changing and the beginning of a new chapter. Getting engaged symbolizes the beautiful step forward and leap of faith in joining two lives together and forming a team for life. My heart is so full of joy when I think about all that Hunter and I have to look forward to together. He has been incredibly supportive of my all triathlon endeavors. I am ready to be his support system as he tackles every physical and mental challenge that the Navy throws his way while making him one of top warriors in the world. It has been a personal challenge of mine to accept and embrace his choice to pursue this career. But each and every day, I will draw motivation from him and the rest of our nation’s service men and women who courageously give of themselves for our freedom. It puts everything in life into perspective. 

Our lives as we know it are about to change drastically, but we are each ready for the challenges. My time to graduate from the CRP is quickly approaching, and I’ve been reflecting on the new transitions to come. I am eternally grateful for all of the opportunities I have been afforded while in the CRP program. I am so fortunate to work with a world class coach like Jarrod Evans and dedicate each day to triathlon during this precious developmental time. I was stretched physically and mentally, always pushing my limits. Had I not been lucky enough to be welcomed into the CRP after college, my eyes would never have been opened to this wonderful, crazy, challenging world of triathlon. As I look forward to my future in the sport, I am thankful for my beginning. Thank you to to USA Triathlon, Team Psycho, and Jarrod for your support. Cheers to the next chapter and all of life’s adventures to come.