Hey, friends! How’s it going? It’s been a while since my last post, but there’s a good reason: This past weekend, I traveled to Milwaukee for the USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships.
Oh yeah–four-time Ironman World Champion Chrissie Wellington gave me that medal. I totally freaked out and acted like a fan girl. #noshame
More than 2,700 triathletes participated in the Olympic-distance event (1.5-K swim, 40-K bike, and 10-K run), and the field was one of the most competitive ever. I’m working on the race recap, but I want to share some random thoughts from the trip.
‘Friendly triathletes and great atmosphere—I don’t want to leave!’
Really, this shouldn’t be a surprise. Everyone was excited, chatty, and outgoing, and it seemed like every time I found myself in a hotel elevator I walked out with a new friend. And even though we were competing—there were 28 age-group national titles up for grabs, plus slots on Team USA for the 2014 World Championships—the vibe wasn’t intense or off-putting; maybe it’s because I’m coming from New York City, but it was so nice to walk around, make eye contact with others, and say hi.
‘Milwaukee is a great venue.’
Even though the Olympic race started late (more on that in the recap), the city did a great job hosting this event overall.
Everything—transition, restaurants, etc.—was within walking distance, the weather on race day was perfect (around 70 degrees Fahrenheit with basically zero humidity), and the course was flat and fast.
‘Everyone looks so fit.’
OMG—so many lean and chiseled triathletes, but what do you expect from some of the country’s best age groupers? Also, the fact that I didn’t strength train during the taper didn’t help, and I stuck out a bit in my age group. Although there were other tall women, I was the tallest, and a lot of the girls were tiny—like 5’3” and nothing but skin and bones. I had a major flashback to my basketball days; it felt like I was a forward again competing against point guards.
‘I need a new bike.’
I experienced major big envy all weekend. Between aero helmets, race wheels, and five-figure tri bikes (seriously), I felt totally out of my league.
There were some other roadies there, though. In fact, on race morning, one USA Triathlon official was checking transition setups and after looking at mine, he commented on how many road bikes were there. Zing. I tried not to take it personally.
‘I can’t believe how far I’ve come in one year.’
Yes, I wanted to have a good race this past weekend, but I also made it a priority to savor the experience. Not everyone gets to do this event (there are a few ways to qualify), and I felt truly blessed, grateful, and humbled to have the opportunity to compete.
Plus, race day marked exactly one year to the day I completed my first triathlon. Talk about coming full circle! This progress—going from a local tri to a national event—highlighted how much I’ve improved and reminded me how much I’ve grown as an athlete and person.
‘I have the best team ever.’