Every year I am really humbled by reading all the Pay it Forward entries. I receive hundreds and to read them as they come in to my email – I swear, I have been in and out of tears for weeks. I finally had to just file them away and then read them all at once because I was a hot mess at various times every day.
I get entries from some very amazing people. It is good to be reminded that everyone has a story. Everyone is so similar too and that people just want to have an opportunity to pursue their dreams and goals. And, if I can be involved in a very small way, then, I am all in.
Determining a “winner” is really not fun. Every year I do this I tell Jerome, “Can you work more so I can just coach pro bono??” Someday, I promise I will do more. But, right now, I am happy to announce the 2014 Pay it Forward Winner!
Alisa had to overcome a very unfortunate 2013 season. She was in an accident that broke part of her foot. Then, she developed blood clots – and DVT (deep vein thrombosis). She was so determined to not let this get in her way of competing at Ironman Arizona this past year. SHE did. And, went 14:xx.
In her words:
Looking back at my other races—I don’t think I was grateful enough; not grateful for the ability to be out there, not grateful for the support I have from my husband and family and friends; not grateful enough in life. While breaking a foot and developing blood clots isn’t beating cancer or dealing with a significant loss, it was my own little wake up to start being more grateful in my life and to truly believe in my own abilities. I’m ready for 2014. My body is ready, my mind is ready but I think most importantly, my attitude is ready!
Alisa is inspiring and something about her pulled at me. (I am a huge fan of gratefulness). In fact, my top 5 were absolutely riveting stories. Some came from domestic abuse, some had twins or triplets and then their wife or them go ill after delivering (!!!) (soft spot for that) and some lost jobs….some recovering from horrific ailments such as cancer or MS. I was paralyzed in my decision up until the last minute.
At the end of the day, I asked my sister and a good friend who are not triathletes to read some entries and help me narrow the top 3-5 down. I asked non-triathletes because there would be no bias and I wanted to keep some of the entries private in our community.
I am excited to start working with Alisa! You can follow her progress on her blog and her other social media sites:
Instagram @dunlapam0723; Twitter @dunlapa; FB @ Alisa Houghton Dunlap.
And, thanks to all who entered. Thanks for sharing some of your very private entries with me. They will inspire me all year as a coach & athlete to always remember — WE ALL HAVE A STORY.
Please feel free to enter for 2015 again!