In February of 1992, I was racing slalom at Crystal Mountain on a Friday afternoon. The week leading up to this particular race was filled with practice on not-so-great conditions that had me "walking" out of my bindings. That's skier lingo for, "my boot kept coming out of my binding for no good reason." It happens sometimes. So we tightened my bindings a little so that my skis would stay on when they should, but not so tight that they wouldn't release if necessary.
Fast forward to that Friday night. Six of my teammates were to race that night and I was scheduled as the alternate racer. Unfortunately, one of my teammates went home from school sick so I needed to step up and fill her spot on the team. No big deal. I was ready. We had to leave class at 1:45 to catch the bus "up north" for the ski meet. I was pretty terrible at remembering those things, and we didn't have cell phones with timers, calendars, reminders or alarms. So, what did any typical high school sophomore do? I wrote it on my hand.
|I recreated it today. This is not the original photo. There is no original photo!|
It was my turn in the start shack. I was nervous as all get out, but felt strong and ready. I took the first few gates full steam ahead and was feeling great. I crested the headwall (flat ends and steep pitch down starts) and took the next two gates a little too aggressively and caught the tip of my ski on the third causing the now infamous "sit-down." I knew there was something wrong. I heard the pop and felt the pain, but my skis were still on. Everyone yelling at me to get up. I asked for the "DQ" (disqualification) and told the gate keeper to call my coach. Charlie slid down the hill, and dad walked up from the bottom. And then the ski patrols joined us with the toboggan, strapped me in and and took me down. That was the longest and worst sled ride EVER.
In the patrol house, they cut my race pants off me and my knee instantly swelled beyond belief. They cut up a cardboard box and duct taped it around my leg to immobilize it. Mom and dad loaded me in the car and from Dad's portable bag phone (pretty state of the art back in the day), we called ahead to the ER in Mt. Pleasant. It was the longest drive ever. I can't remember which was worse...the pain or the fear. That was the night I met Dr. Tom Keating for the first time.
As we sat in the ER waiting for Doc to see me, Dad looked at my hand and said, "Jenna! What on Earth did you write on your hand?" I turned and looked and said, "oh, 1:45. That's what time I got out of class today." What Dad saw was this:
|Same recreation, just upside down.|
From that moment forward, our family has stuck with 1:45 happens. And it sure does. A few years later, my brother gave me this pillow for Christmas to commemorate the now healed knee:
That fateful Friday night, Doc Keating told me that "someday" my activities would be limited but not for a long time. Well, a long time is here. I've come full circle on this story.
Mom, don't be mad at this part of the story, and rest assured that it's not really going to happen. I have been saying for years that if I could find something that I wanted to remember for the rest of my life that meant a great deal to me, I would get a small, subtle (easily concealed) tattoo of it. I've never found exactly what I wanted so have never been inked. After this whole "I'll never run again" thing came up, I realized that the thing that represents strength, bravery and perseverance to me was that clock reading the time 1:45. So I hit the boards of Pinterest searching for the perfect 1:45 tattoo. You'll never believe what I found...
Luke 1:45 "Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her." Wow. I know He does not share His plans with us. However, if I were to take the beginning phrase only, "Blessed is she who has believed," I think my mantra has actually been this all along, I just didn't know it. I believe in His plan for me. I believe in my strength, bravery and perseverance. No ink necessary. On my hand or as a tattoo. I have all the 1:45 I need in my heart and my soul. One Forty Five is an even more spectacular mantra than I could ever have imagined.
Blessed is she who has believed.