Kona prep wrap up, part 1 of this late race review

Kona 2013 Part I, Training Wrap-up

I am on my way to the big island, finally, after a long summer of island hopping, training, racing, working at my big girl job, and having more family time than I’ve gotten to have in years. I definitely invested most of my free time and energy into training for Kona. It is a good feeling knowing that I have done everything (probably too much) that I can to physically prepare. Now it’s just a matter of convincing my silly brain that I am mentally ready.

This summer’s prep consisted of a month in Guam working solely on running in the humidity and heat. I got a few solid swims in, but mostly I was just pounding the mileage on the road. I also picked up crossfit at the local gym on the Army base to get some cross training in. I was skeptical about it at first but after only a week I was feeling stronger in all different ways. It was nice to have an opportunity to just train with no school or work to put in the mix.

The second month of my summer vacation was mostly spent on the trainer and in the pool. I was also keeping up with high running mileage because I was feeling good from the previous month. Once again, no work and school made for better training and happier me. My parents cooking didn’t hurt, either.

By the end of July it was time for reality to come barging into my life. I had to start working at my new Air Force base and learn what it’s like to be an officer! I had heard rumors about an easy 9-5 job, but it was definitely the opposite. The first week I spent 730am-7pm almost every day. Talk about a buzzkill. By the time I got home my workouts were less than successful. To make sure I didn’t ruin my Kona training I started waking up at 0330 and going to bed late. It really hurt. I didn’t think I’d make it to October 13th!

I started going home on the weekends to race in century rides with my dad. I raced a half marathon with my sister for some solid training as well..the local triathlon team welcomed me with open arms and we spent long hours in the 50m ymca pool. After my last weekend of racing which consisted of a half ironman over in Raleigh NC, I felt like I had done all I could to prepare for Kona. My nutrition was a big part of the training as well. After last year at Kona I promised I would try to work on the little things like stretching and nutrition if I ever got the blessing to race at Kona once more.

Tapering week is always the hardest for me. My body has no idea what is going on. Luckily I have my best friends and my dad out on the big island with me and this week should be lots of fun. If they manage to handle the moody emotional mess that I turn into during race week. ūüôā

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New York City Triathlon

This was not any ordinary triathlon for me, I was in it in order to be tied to Patricia Walsh while she raced.  I had never really even heard of the division of elite athletes that were all physically impaired.  They are the best of the best-overcoming their disabilities to become the fastest in the world of their kind.  

Patricia had contacted me while I was on vacation in Guam. She asked if I could come to NYC to guide her because she was in a jam since her normal guide could not make it. I was definitely caught off-guard. I honestly had no excuse NOT to go besides the fact that I was terrified.  Every reason I could think of to tell her why I could not make it really would have upset me if I said them out loud. There really was no excuse! 

So, I told her yes, and the itinerary started rolling out. I was to drive up to NYC that Friday (5 hour-drive from my family’s house in VA) and compete with her on Sunday. This was all being planned while I was still in Guam struggling to make it onto a military flight back to the states! We honestly didn’t even know if I was going to make it back in time.

Long story short- I made it back home from Guam after 8 days of consistently not getting onto flights (if you have had any experience with Space-A travel you know how frustrating this is) and over 20 hours of airtime.  However, the flight I managed to get on had a weight limit of a backpack per person! So, I had to leave all of my gear (triathlon stuff included) in Guam with my friends. 

After a long 10 hour drive to NYC barely managing not to kill each other (traffic was AWFUL), my friend Kristen and I made it. We found Patricia standing out in the pouring rain for us to guide us into the hotel. In my head I was thinking, “Wow I am an awful guide; she is already way ahead of me on knowing where everything is on this trip.”

Honestly, the whole weekend was a blur because of the tightly packed schedule, the stress, and the overwhelming nerves that I have never experienced so strongly in my entire life. In short, we spent all of Saturday putting the tandem bike together, figuring out how to borrow shoes/clips/gear for the race since I had NONE!, and somehow teaching clumsy me how to pilot the bike with Patricia on the back. In the middle of the insane New York City.

I should include a little shout out to Kristen for dealing with myself and my nerves the entire weekend as the best spectator that I have ever dragged to a race. I am not the nicest person the couple of days leading up to a race to the closest people around me, and she handled me like a champ. She helped Patricia and I carry tandem bikes down 7 flights of stairs, followed us around on race day, and I never heard one complaint.

By the time Saturday night rolled around, we were all exhausted. Not to mention I thought I was going to get sick from the nerves that I had with the thought of having to ride that tandem bike in the race the next day. ¬†I did not feel comfortable at all after the 400m practice loop that we did on the roads of NYC. It was mostly spent with me learning how the borrowed-pair of bike shoes clipped in as well as avoiding hitting dogs and children and cars. I think that the nerves also came from the fact that I was not racing for myself for the first time in my life; I was racing for Patricia, and her success depended on me not screwing everything up. ¬†It also seemed as if everything was going wrong for her compared to when she had other people guide her. (I had no shoes and clips/ I have no sense of direction so it was a mess trying to navigate NYC/ the bike shops were all packed and I had no clue how to put together a tandem bike/ I kept tripping over everything, including Patricia, while I tried to adjust to having a blind person with me at all times …much more was running through my head that I imagined I was messing up as well.)

We pressed on. Got our stuff set up in the hotel room for the 4am wake-up and passed out in the big beds. 

The morning came too quickly. I have said over and over again how nervous I was, but I still have not said it enough. I was regretting being there ( I thought it was inevitable that I was going to ruin her race), ¬†I was terrified/angry/worried/blah blah blah. I couldn’t even manage to find a hair-tie for 20 minutes the morning of the race because my brain wasn’t working right!¬†

We headed down to transition to set up our gear. I said a quick prayer that nothing would go wrong, and I prepared myself mentally to just do the damn thing. We had about an hour to wait until the Paratriathletes got to enter the water, so I just went through my normal pre-race routine in my head. ¬†Patricia also taught me how to take the rope that would be attached to the both of us on and off. This was about to be interesting…..

After all the crazy nerves, once the race started they were all gone. I was back in my favorite place to be–a crowd of triathletes pushing themselves to the limit. No matter that I had someone literally tied to me, it was still a triathlon.¬†

The mile swim down the Hudson went smoothly. Luckily, I grew up a swimmer so my body in the water is second-nature.  This was a huge advantage because I could essentially watch every move that Patricia made and I could match it. This way, she could do her thing and I could push her back into a straight line if needed. 

We made it to the end-dock flawlessly.  We got out, together, and took our wetsuits off.  I got to reflect a little bit and realize how much I loved doing this with someone versus alone. I have always wanted to play a team sport my whole life, and this was doing it for me. It was the coolest feeling ever. Anyways, we sprinted towards bike transition and hopped on. 

Moment of truth: “3,2,1..go!” That was ME saying that! ¬†I think my alter-ego comes out during races, because I am never very bossy and confident in real life. I just took control on the tandem and we were off. The bike course was a little difficult because of the number of racers on the course, and the speed that this tandem-thing was getting up to! After the race, I actually had multiple people come up to me to compliment my handling of the “sailboat” as they called the tandem-bike. This definitely was surprising but I will brag about that the rest of my life, as the bike has never been my strength.

Once the bike was over, I was smiling and having fun. I love the part of triathlons when you get to throw your bike away, put on your running shoes, and go kill it. And this time I got to do it right alongside my new friend, who just so happens to be one of the fastest para-triathletes in the entire world. 

We ran together for 6.2 miles, talking, laughing, having fun. Okay, that is a lie, we sprinted through it and worked our butts off. Patricia was working really hard, so I entertained her by just rambling on and on about random things. I like to talk while I run, and she doesn’t, so she told me she would love if I just told her stories. This made the time pass by quicker. ¬†The whole run there were people just gawking in awe of Patricia. She moved so gracefully right beside me considering she has zero vision. She is so brave to trust ME of all people to guide her through busy Central Park. It definitely was a cool feeling to know that she trusted my every move and command. I did have to yank her out of the way of a few potholes and old men, but otherwise she was so great just being tied loosely to my side.

As we sprinted toward the finish, we got to run through the “tape” that the winners get to run through. I have never gotten to do this in my life! Granted, it was because Patricia was the overall Para-triathlete winner, not me, but it was still cool.¬†

Patricia ended up winning part of the prize purse, because she got 1st place as well as breaking the course record for her division. I was so happy that I got to be a part of that success for her. Racing with Patricia was a life-changing experience. I notice that I work harder each and every workout, I have been trying to be less selfish in my training (i.e. taking my sister along so she can get a good workout as well), and I have already been figuring out how I can accompany Patricia to her next race in Chicago. Whenever an excuse runs through my head as to why I cannot wake up early or why I do not want to go on my bike, I think of Patricia and realize how lucky I am to have the life that I do. 

I cannot wait to guide her again. I would do it every single weekend if I could. Racing tied to someone is so much more fun than alone. I still don’t know how I feel about this whole tandem-bike thing…but I guess I will deal with it ūüôā¬†

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My thoughts on da grub

**Disclaimer**Just my thoughts/personal experiences. I have a psychology degree. Not nutrition. Although I am currently taking an online course from Stanford called “Child Nutrition and Cooking” so my roommate and I won’t starve when we head out into the real world in a couple weeks. ūüôā

I want to write about the importance of nutrition in racing because I have personally seen how it can affect someone in an extremely positive way.  During my freshman and sophomore year in college, I did not care at all about what I threw into my body.  I never really had to worry about it before, so I did not figure I did back then.  I worked hard in triathlon and school, but I never realized that what I was eating (or not eating) was the main reason for my energy levels, grades, and athletic performance. I was a consistant 2:30-olympic-distance racer no matter how much or how little training I did. 

It was not until I signed up for Ironman Wisconsin back in 2010 that I decided to look more into other variables that could affect my racing.  I figured that spending $700 on an event warranted myself doing everything I could to make that race fee worth it. 

I talked to the body-building coach at the Academy. I talked to crossfitters, triathletes from back home, my “hippie-Aunt” who lives in Maui…

In the end I just decided that the whole protein-loaded-diet craze was a good way to start. I replaced a lot of carbs with lean meats and protein shakes.  I still continued my meals of straight chocolate and trail mix though.  Just by incorporating more protein versus breads and noodles I was able to win Ironman Wisconsin and qualify for Kona. I felt significantly better each day in school and my grades skyrocketed. (relatively). I decided that my diet was what caused my success at my first Ironman, therefore I wanted to improve it even more. 

I decided to try the Paleo diet in September of 2011 because it was the new thing back then. ¬†It didn’t seem too hard to follow, and after reading “The Primal Blueprint,” it had a lot of valid points. The first couple of weeks were really hard. I have an awful thing for snacks and junk food. However, after cutting it out for a while it was easy. I stocked up on chicken breast, cooked veggies, salad, and fish from the mess hall every chance I got. Luckily at USAFA we are allowed to have refrigerators in our rooms when we are juniors. I could store all these Paleo, or fresh, foods in my room in Tupperware.¬†

I invested in Paleo and hoped it would pay off for the 2012 Collegiate National race. It did. I dropped 16 minutes off of my time from the year before, and I made it to the podium at a national race. ¬†Got my first opportunity to accept a “pro” status in the triathlon world, and I felt so driven after that race.¬†

School-wise, I was putting in three times as many hours into triathlon, yet my grades were still rising.  I never took naps during the day anymore, and I was staying awake in classes.  My teachers even took notice to my good performance in classes. 

Yet again, I blame my diet. 

Ever since then, I have been on Paleo. I still am a big peanut and chocolate lover, but for the most part I eat all fresh foods. I have to make sure I get extra carbs in, especially at this time while I am getting back into Ironman training, but it is not too hard. It all resulted in a 3rd place finish at Kona, another podium-finish at Nationals, and my qualifying for the Air Force team with the opportunity to race in the Armed Forces Nationals on June 1st. I think my body fat has literally dropped 15% since thinking about my diet as well, if you’re interested in that benefit. Definitely all worth it.¬†

I cannot wait to be out in the real world, out of the dorms, with my own kitchen so that I can cook my own meals and be creative.  However, for now here is an example of what I like to eat on a normal day:

0445 preworkout bfast: chicken breast, almond butter

0800 post-workout bfast: coffee, banana, tuna

1100 lunch: big spinach salad with sunflower seeds, tomatoes, turkey, craisins

1400 lunch #2 (preworkout meal): salad numba 2 ūüôā¬†

1800: snack, veggies + eggs

2000: pre-bed usually chocolate, trail mix, carrots…etc

 

Well, that was long. Thanks for reading ūüôā¬†

http://fastpaleo.com/category/salads/

http://primalblueprint.com/

The “why” in what you do

I was down at the pool for swim #2 of the day, and the lifeguard told me that my sport was way too much of a time-commitment and he didn’t understand why I kept doing it.

Got me to thinking, why do I do it? (Serve in the Air Force, go to the Academy, train 24/7, say no to the chocolate donuts!!…)

Gotta have a reason to work hard. Find your reason inside of you, and that is how you will get better. I think that other people are my main motivation.

1) People at my school telling me that I motivate them ūüôā¬†Image

2) My sisters looking up to me as their hero, wanting to follow me into the Air Force Academy.

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3) My sponsor sister writing her 7th grade poem that had to be about a famous person…about me.

It’s copyright, can’t post it, she’s going to become a poet.

4) A guy on my team handing me a letter the night before nationals showing that he really didn’t think I was just another stupid girl. With Cooties. (yay ūüėČ )

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Many more…find your inner motivation!!!

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Collegiate Nationals Recap (finally)

For the olympic-distance race at Nationals this year, it took me a while to figure out what I wanted to say about it. I went from being disappointed, to ecstatic, to disappointed, to finally just moving on and getting back in a positive mindset to get ready for another race that I have in about 3 weeks. I grew a ton from the whole weekend, and I am so grateful for the experience that I received for my final race as a collegiate athlete.

On Friday night after the draft-legal race, I was trying to forget about it and was just ready to get Saturday over with. I had a lot of doubts in my mind because of the crappy feelings (lactic-acid baby) I had all in my body. This probably was mistake number one. The biggest thing that this race taught me was that your own mind has everything to do with your performance. I kept telling myself that other people were racing two days in a row as well, and I just had to suck it up and do the dang thing just like they were going to. I ate a ton of protein that night as well as drank about a gallon of Powerade Zero (favorite drink) to try to offset some of the remnants of the previous race that were floating around my body.

Megan and I got all of our gear ready that night after the athlete dinner at Dave n Busters. We stuck our stickers all over our bikes and helmets, taped our gels onto our bike frames (GU Vanilla and Coffee-type flavors are my FAVORITE) and stuck the silly race number tattoos all over our bodies. We at least thought we looked cool.

We also got to have a team meeting with our awesome officers-in-charge, as well as our very own, Coach Joanna Williamson.  She worked at USAFA during our 2011-2012 season and led us to an amazing finish at the 2012 Collegiate Nats. She was definitely the biggest contributor to my improvement on my bike. When she left, we were all sad, but SHE CAME BACK and we had her at nationals. Seeing her at the meeting was awesome! It was like we never missed a beat. (Side note, her website gives a lot of info on her and her training plans that you can take advantage of http://xtyogaaustin.com/home.htm ) Our other officers, especially Colonel Freddie Rodriguez and Colonel Scott Thatcher were there and have put so much of their spare time and effort into our team. All in all, just the team meeting was emotional for me because I knew it was my last one.

Back to bed for Megan and I….After a little bit of pillow-talk to motivate each other, I don’t know when the last time I fell asleep that quickly was.

Before I knew it my alarm was going off. My ringtone in the mornings is One Direction. Naturally.

We had to get to the race site early to put our bikes in transition before the guys’ race started, so we had about 3 hours to wait until our start-time. This in itself was tiring, but it was SO exciting to watch our amazing guys team kick butt out on the course. It also gave me a chance to ask around and see what the course was like and what to look out for. Besides the predicted 93 degree heat, it was looking promising. But after coming from blizzardy Colorado, who could complain about a little heat?

We tried to stay off of our feet as much as we could, but you all know how that never works out. It is hard to wake up in the morning ready to race and knowing what you usually eat but then having to wait a long time until you actually race. I think I ended up having 3 “pre-race meals.” Lots of peanut butter, Honey Stinger waffles, bananas, and Gatorade. Yum.

Once the guys all started finishing I got all girly and emotional again. When Lee finished in sub 2 hours, I definitely was crying with him under my sunglasses.  He has been through so much and it has been amazing just watching him work his butt off all year and have a great race. He definitely deserved it. The rest of the senior guys were also kicking butt out there. The times they were throwing down were just unbelievable. It was definitely getting us girls pumped up like crazy.

Finally, it was time for our race. We did a little pump up cheer before Erin, Megan, and I set out to hop in the water for Wave 1. I was so nervous!! I did not want to let my team down. I know that we all had our sights set on getting our entire team on that podium together. This meant that each of us had to pass every girl possible in order to get those points. Every. Point. Counts. This IS a team sport.

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The gun went off, and we made our way through the mile swim. I felt pretty good…pretty tired. But I happened to choose just the right position at the start that I had no one touching me at all. This helped mentally just get out there and start cruising. I tried out drafting for the first time this race and it ended up working out to my advantage. I attached onto the back of some girl and never let go. She pulled me almost that whole mile and I finished the swim in about 20 minutes without feeling tired at all. ¬†When we got out of the water, the concrete strip was completely packed with spectators screaming. It was a really good feeling. I also spotted Col Scott Poteet, who has helped me out all season, with his GoPro. It was kind of funny seeing him with it on a big stick trying to video me.

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I have always been awful at transitions, and my guys team knows that. They literally were standing and yelling at me right by the row that my bike was in. I am pretty sure I run into every transition area looking lost. I still have to sit down to get my wetsuit off; someday I will be more graceful at that.

The bike was the part of the race where my mind kind of punked-out on me. I was feeling great until a referee pulled up beside myself and the girl in front of me and snapped a photo. Right then I got the idea in my head that I had gotten a 2minute penalty. The rest of the race this sat with me, and I got really distracted. When I would start to hurt, instead of sucking it up all that went through my mind was that I had gotten a penalty, so why make it hurt even more?  Even with all of the sharp turns and constant slowing down/speeding up, all I could think about was that damn penalty. (By then I had convinced myself that it was a penalty.)

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The negative mindset went on to the run, and the top-4 girls did not help with it.  We were exactly the same distance apart the entire race.  I could see them up ahead but every time I would try to surge, it seemed like so would they. None of us could make any progress on the other!

I am pretty sure there was no milemarker until mile 4, so that was mentally tough as well. When you feel like you should almost be done then find out there are still two miles, the toughest miles, it sucks! Somehow we pulled through and finished it, like we always do. The 2nd through 5th girls all hugged at the finish line, and I was so grateful to be a part of that. I have always seen pictures of situations like this at finish lines, and I have always wished that I was fast enough to be in that to see what it really felt like. I still cannot believe it was actually me.

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A 5th place finish was not really what I wanted. My goal was 1st undergrad, which I accomplished, but for some reason it still didn’t feel like it was enough. Then, I figured out why. I had that stupid negative Sam in the back of my mind that literally prevented me from giving all that I had inside. It still felt like I was giving it my all, but I know that if I had just let loose I would have been able to do better.

After all the girls finished, who of course did awesome ūüôā we went back to the hotel to get ready for the awards ceremony. It was not until I found out that our USAFA Triathlon team got SIXTH PLACE as a team in the nation that I was ecstatic about this race. I immediately forgot about all of my doubts about myself and was just purely happy for my team. ¬†We have gone through so many hardships, from almost being cut from a club team, to losing members, to breakups and makeups to getting 6th in the nation. I am so proud of my team. They work their butts off all day and night..over 20 credit hours in school and then putting in over 3 hours a day of training…they deserved that overall finish.

Overall, National 2013 was the best one yet. I grew as a person, and the confidence in myself to leave the team and become an AF officer was lifted. I learned that having a negative mindset does affect a race way more than you could ever imagine, but I also learned that your team can pull you through.

oh..didnt get a penalty…

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Top-Off Tuesdays

Top Off at the Air Force Academy means that the seniors have no more curfew, and have unlimited passes to leave base as long as they attend all classes and military stuff. SO, we decided to get up at 0445 this morning to go run the Incline before our 0850 class.

Turkey and trail mix for breakfast. Jug of water. Good to go. Pump up song of the day : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_tMluz0R1LU

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We got back to the parking lot at 8 and ran up for shower and class! I also pounded a cup of Starbucks Blonde Roast coffee that my roommate surprised me with. What an awesome way to start the morning.

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Class from 8 to noon then a yummy lunch. Spinach + craisins + nuts.

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One more class til 430 then a 3500m swim workout, a lift, and a quick treadmill speed workout.

Good Tuesday!!!

Sunday Funday

Great day to get in an 18 mile run (kona-preparation has begun!!), grocery shopping trip(cheap n healthy for the week), and start getting a tan in the 75 degree Colorado sun. Nice to not have snow on the ground anymore, although it is supposed to snow again on Wednesday. The only thing I do not want to do today is begin the copious amounts of homework I have. 10 days of school left…cannot let spring fever/senioritis take over.

I will eventually do a post on the Olympic race from Nationals…eventually..

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Sorry…forgot about these bad boys…

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air force academy weekends …not a party

It is Saturday. ¬†Senior in college, 22 years old…but I am stuck at school still. ¬†USAFA has an awesome way of making long and tiring weeks even longer. ¬†They call them “Super Silver Saturdays” and they are meant to help us with various military training. Things we probably will never use in the real world. Maybe the Army would, but I never see myself using the skill of racing through the woods with a 35lb ruck for 10 miles during my career as a Public Affairs officer. Also never understood the reasoning behind restricting us at school from Friday night until Saturday night. GIVE ME SOME PASSES TO LEAVE!!

At least it is over. Saturday night now and I am definitely too tired to go out, let alone get my triathlon training in for the day. We were not allowed to leave Friday night either, so my refrigerator is looking kind of empty. And unhealthy. ¬†Today consisted of peanut M&Ms, a lot of coffee, and Mountain Dew. I think that I used my “cheat days” from Paleo up for a month straight now. ¬†Hopefully will make a good Whole Foods trip tomorrow after running the Incline. Twice. At 0600.¬†http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manitou_Incline¬† I give this workout a lot of credit for my improvement on the bike and run for Ironman.¬†

Time to get back on the grind and get ready for my next race. 

 

And before I go, I just have to share this text I received today from one of my best guy friends. He makes my days: “Sometimes you are the most annoyingly flakey girl I know. ¬†Occasionally a love interest. And most times you’re an insane athlete. Usually a mixture of all of those, which is probably why we are friends.”

National Championships 2013 (draft legal sprint race)

The USAT Collegiate Nationals Championship was the last race of my collegiate-triathlon career. It was a very emotional weekend for me because I was the captain of the USAFA Triathlon team and we had set very high goals for the team at the beginning of the semester. ¬†There was a lot of pressure going into the weekend. Not only because I expected myself to show something good, but because I did not want any of my teammates to be disappointed in each other or themselves. I had never experienced this feeling before, one where I was actually scared of seeing disappointment in other¬†athletes if they didn’t meet their personal goals. ¬†Being the team captain, I felt like it was on me all semester to make each individual get faster. Therefore, I put a lot of pressure on myself that wasn’t purely selfish. I will admit that I did not used to care how others did. ¬†Being a leader on this team made me grow tremendously as a person. Even with all these nerves, it ended up being an amazing 5-day trip and I could not have asked for more.

10 April: Our team headed out in 15-passenger vans to conquer the 14 hour drive down to Tempe, Arizona. ¬†We stopped at Kirtland AFB that night in order to split up the drive. ¬†Thank gosh, because my stomach needed a rest from the car ride. I actually had gotten a bacterial infection in my stomach in Lake Havasu 2 weeks before at our conference championship race, and still hadn’t kicked it in the butt. ¬†This stomach devil affected about half of our team the couple of weeks leading up to Nationals, so we all just prayed that it wouldn’t hurt too bad to race with. Not being able to hold any food down for 2 weeks has a huge effect on the body!

11 April: On Thursday after the long car ride I had to go check in for my first race- the first ever Collegiate National Draft Legal Sprint race. ¬†I was so nervous; I was not prepared. I was going to ride a road bike that I had never sat on before, attempt to draft in a bike race which I had never done before, and begin my first try at racing two days straight. My vice captain had informed me about 7 days before the draft-legal race that he needed me to race in order to have our team get any chance to get up on that podium. We were also putting 1 guy in the race. In my head I was not happy. I was selfish and wanted to conserve all of my energy for Saturday’s race. That was what I had been training for all this time anyways. I did not tell Kevin any of this until after the race, although I know he knew I was thinking it. This guy knows everything about me!

For the rest of the day on Thursday, I tried to stay off of my feet as much as I could. I had to fit myself on the road bike that I was borrowing, put my race wheels on my Trek to get it ready for the Saturday race, make sure my team was calm and preparing for their Saturday race, deal with team drama (as usual), and try to shove food into my system that I could stomach (ended up being peanut butter and bananas). SO, just like most days before races, you mean to relax but it always just ends up too busy.

I will never enjoy peanut butter and bananas again after this trip.

We got to bed around 10pm that night. Got a good-luck-call from my favorite person in the world around 9pm.  After that call I knew I was ready to race the next two days.

12 April: Race day number one! My heat of the race (500 swim 20k bike 5k run) didn’t start until 1050 but one other guy on my team was racing at 0730 so we woke up to go see him. He did amazing, 12th place overall. This really pumped me up. He gave it his all for our team and it made me so proud to be a part of the crowd.

During all of this I had been loading up on my favorite pre-race treat: Honey Stinger waffles. I love the vanilla or peanut butter flavors. My stomach was iffy, but I knew I needed some type of fuel before the race. Honey Stinger has been a great sponsor to me, and always takes care of my race nutrition needs.

When the women’s race was about to start we all lined up by the crowds. The atmosphere was great; people were screaming and cheering. ¬†For this race, we had to line up by race numbers in the water on a concrete wall. After the official said “You are now in the hands of the starter,” we heard the gun go off and off we were.

The swim was intense. Girls were all fighting to get out front and get out fast. I was told that the main goal was to be fast enough in the swim to get out with the lead draft-pack. I tried, but I am just not at that level of swimming yet!

I got out with the 2nd or 3rd draft pack, and we made our way through the bike. It was about 90 degrees and sunny….it was HOT compared to Colorado blizzards the week before. It was a 4 loop course and there was one pretty brutal hill on each loop. I sort of enjoyed the drafting race experience, but it definitely was nerve-wracking for me the whole time because I didn’t know how to draft.

Favorite part of any triathlon for me? Being done with the bike. I was SO happy to get my Brooks PureFlows on my feet and take off for a quick 5k. I didn’t have enough time to make up distance on the girls who killed me on the swim, but I was able to pass a good amount before settling into a solid 4th place. ¬†My team was happy with this and so was I. I was so glad that I could live up to their expectations!

Immediately after the race it was recovery time. I chugged about 4 huge bottles of Powerade Zero (my current favorite drink) and I got in some chicken breast, carrots, and peanut butter. I called my coach who lives in Las Vegas and he just told me to get in protein, and quickly.

I was promised nap-time after the race, but that did not happen. I honestly don’t remember what my best friend and I ended up doing that afternoon, but we somehow wasted a lot of time laughing and NOT sleeping. Maybe it was the delicious coffee i snagged back at the hotel.

That night we had the pre-race athlete dinner at Dave n Busters. It was a lot of fun but we were all exhausted and nervous for our race the next day.

…to be continued