As you all know, my hubby hubs came home from deployment and surprised me just a few days before we needed to leave to head out to USAT Age Group National Championships. Because I made the mistake of saying “why don’t you ever take pictures of me?” my participation is extremely well-documented!
We purchased a new car just days before our trip because my beloved Hyundai finally died. The TARDIS fits perfectly in our Prius (which I have named Wanderer, btw).
I was super excited that I got the race wheels on all by myself… sadly, all did not go well with the wheels. More on that later. In the mean time, Look at me getting the TARDIS race-day ready!
I was particularly concerned about my swim, given the amount of time, money and energy I have put into improving this sport over the last six months. I was feeling confident, here, after my pre-race practice swim.
Justin felt that it was important to document my sunscreen application. 🙂 Skin health is important! lol
My parents drove up from Illinois to watch me race. I hadn’t seen them since our wedding last August and they hadn’t seen me race since high school cross country. It was great having them there!!!
They even made signs! LOL Yes, my dad was holding this upside down when I went past them on the run.
Feeling nervous before the swim so I tried to distract myself by being goofy!
“Really, babe? You’re STILL taking pictures?” lol
And we’re off! That’s the women’s 30-35 age group at the top of the photo and the next wave of athletes warming up toward the bottom of the pic! Great news: All of the hard work paid off! My swim was two minutes faster than my last olympic distance swim, and this course was much tougher with several sharp turns! I’m so thankful for my amazing swim coach, Juliet Adams of Dai Roberts Group!
Out on the bike! I was smiling but at this point, I was about 8 miles in and knew that something was terribly wrong. There was a terribly loud chirping noise and I had no idea what it was. I thought it was my brakes but I could see all of my brake pads and nothing was rubbing. I assumed it was my chain, then, and there was nothing I could do at that point other than drop out so I decided to just keep going. There was definitely more resistance than there should have been and the chirping kept getting worse. One guy passed me and asked if I was smuggling birds in my tri kit. It turned out to be the back wheel jammed up against my bike frame, rubbing. THANK GOD the tire didn’t shred and I finished safely, though more slowly than I should have.
Off on the run and tremendously relieved to no longer hear the incessant chirping. It was such a relief to get off of the bike! Of course, my legs were a bit more worn down than they should have been because of the extra resistance on the bike. Bleh. I prevailed, though. My run was slower than it should have been in good conditions but it wasn’t awful and I’m proud of myself for hanging in there.
By far, this was the highlight of my day. I crossed the finish line and guess who was handing out race medals! CHRISSIE WELLINGTON! I MET CHRISSIE WELLINGTON! I shrieked her name in a really odd-ball, celebrity-stalker way and she HUGGED me. Then, I noticed that Justin was on the other side of the race shoot so I asked her to pose for a picture and she did… and then she hugged me, again! I was on Cloud 9 for freaking hours!
I was tempted to be disappointed with the race because I know I could have finished much faster. However, I did really well on my swim and I survived some pretty comfortable (both emotionally and physically) conditions on the bike with my chirping tire so I think it was a race well-done. I finished 93rd in my age group and may have moved up some without the tire issue. My goal is to be in the top 18 next year and qualify for the 2015 Worlds team. I’ve got a lot of work to do but I’m very pleased with where I’m at, especially considering that I made my triathlon debut less than a year ago. 😀
The rest of the week was a vacation! We hung out with my parents, coach and some other local athletes in Milwauke for the evening. Then, we traveled to Michigan to spend time with some of our dearest friends, the Saucer-Zeoli family. There was an epic light saber battle with the 3 year-old but, unfortunately, Justin’s iphone camera couldn’t capture it adequately. Finally, our last night on the road, we stopped somewhere near Pittsburgh and enjoyed a dinner with wine and dessert. This picture is of the skillet cookie that we shared. It was literally a giant FRIEND cookie with ice cream and whipped cream. There was melted butter swimming around in there and I spooned some of it onto the ice cream. Seriously, it was decadent!
We had fun but I was definitely happy to be at home with my husband and my little fur-kid, back to living our regular life. 🙂
Thanks to everybody who supported me at Nationals! It was a truly awesome experience and I had so much more fun sharing the event with an amazing group of people. 😀 Next up is Vegas 70.3 in just a few weeks. Yikes! Stand by for updates!
Oh, and btw, I got my hair chopped off! 10 inches will be donated to Locks of Love and I will now be faster because I ditched a few pounds of useless weight! 😉