Random Thoughts from USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.’

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Enough said.

21 responses to “Random Thoughts from USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships

  1. We’re still all desperate to know how you did!!

  2. I’ve just looked up – awesome times! Well done!!

  3. Very exciting! I wish I would’ve known you were racing in Milwaukee!

  4. Love everything about this! Congrats on the race 🙂 Maybe sommmmmeday I’ll be joining!

  5. How cool is that medal?!

  6. I’m glad you had a great time! Looks like a beautiful place to race!

    About the road vs. tri bike thing, when we bought our new tri bikes we needed to have our clipless pedals moved from our road bikes. Earlier, when we had been talking about how ridiculously low-end our road bikes were we said that they would laugh at us, and they said they wouldn’t. But when we brought them in you could tell in their eyes they wanted to laugh and said, “big upgrade, huh?”. So compared to what we used to race in, your road bike isn’t that bad! 🙂

    • Ha! It’s not a bad bike, even though my coach gives me a hard time because it’s so heavy. 😉 Off-season priority number one is getting a tri bike!

  7. I hear you on the ZOMG EVERYBODY IS SO TINY front. I’m not nearly as tall as you, but I’m built big (like a swimmer, go figure). I still feel like I stick out amongst people at tris and running races, and have even been told, many times, that my marathon time is “impressive for somebody so big” (WTF?).

    In the end, though, the clock doesn’t give a flying f*** what size you are.

    • Ugh, glad I’m not the only one. One of the great things about the sport is that people of all shapes and sizes can do it, but I still feel like I stick out. And you’re right–the clock does not care at all.

  8. this makes me so happy for you! like honestly so happy. you have come so far in a year and I hope you realize that!

    • That’s the outlook I took going into this race. Yeah, I wasn’t going to “win,” but seeing how far I’ve come in one year … that sounds like a huge victory to me. 🙂

  9. Ww this just looks like so much fun. I know a couple of people that went, not that I know anything about triathlons but it looks awesome!

  10. It sounds like a great experience, and you’ve certainly come a long way in a year! So proud of you!

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