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Friday, August 23, 2013

USAT National Championships 2013 - Milwaukee, WI

This was my 4th National Championship race since starting in triathlon 4 years ago.  It was in the beautiful city of Milwaukee, my first time ever visiting Wisconsin, and dubbed an 'urban' triathlon.  And that it was, right in downtown Milwaukee with the bike course even going onto the interstate!  

My season has been a little tough this year, adjusting to the altitude in Boulder CO.,and struggling with nutrition issues and my run speed (there will be another blog about this sometime), so I decided only to race the sprint. 

Exiting the water
My morning began with the typical routine, eating some oatmeal, a bit of coffee, exactly two hours before my start time as I have discovered this is the best time for me to eat.   Transition was set up by 7:30 and the first wave off!  My wave was not scheduled to start until 9:16am so the waiting game began - trying to stay calm and focused knowing that many other athletes will be finished before I even start!  Everything is going to plan!

On the bike course, of course going up the hill and the one 
moment I was out of aero that the pic was snapped

But of course leave it to fate to keep things interesting!  Just as we headed over to swim start, minutes before our waves, there is an announcement that the swim is being postponed.  An athlete has gone missing in the water.  We all wear timing chips that are activated as you walk down the ramp to the water to account for who has gone in, and who has come out.  There was a swimmer missing and unaccounted for from an earlier wave.   The officials are scanning the water from the boats, divers are sent in, and there is nothing we can do but watch and wonder what happened to this man, and is he at the bottom of the lake??  Very nerve racking, as several people die every year in triathlons.  

taking off on the run

Nearly an extra hour goes by until we are given word that the race will resume.  The missing swimmer was found spectating on the bike course, clueless to the commotion he caused.  The story - from an unnamed race official - he said he was having a bad day and decided not to race, so swam to the shore and climbed out, without notifying anyone.  Sigh.  ONWARD to the race!  Now starting nearly an hour later than scheduled, it was time to focus and before I know it, Charles is taking off and I'm in the water!

My favorite way to finish, surrounded by American flags!

I feel great in the water, strong, and come out in 15th position in my AG.  A quick transition and I was out on the bike.  A great ride for me too as I am picking off girls in my AG.  The advantage of the later start was I knew every girl in front of me was in my AG and with an out-and-back bike course, I knew I was heading into the run in 11th place - top 10 was in sight!   The run.  I have struggled so much this year in the run, not running under 21 minutes all season.  It's been discouraging and disheartening, and going in, it was an unknown how this part of the race would go.  

But as I take off, my legs feel good.  My legs feel REALLY GOOD!  Within a mile I had already picked off two girls in my AG and looked at my watch in astonishment as my first mile was in 6:15, and felt great, strong, ready.  It's a flat run and I cruise through the next mile picking off a few more.  One mile to go and I see 2 girls just in front of me, I'm thinking, I feel good, and today is my day.  Charles is screaming at me to dig deep and pass them, and I go for it!  Everything I've got!  And I run into my highest placing finish ever at nationals, 6th, and a new sprint distance PR time, with a run of 19:50, :40 seconds PER MILE faster than anything I've run this year.

It all came together at the right place and the right time, and I punched my ticket to my 4th World Championships next year to be held in Edmonton, Canada.  I couldn't be more thrilled.  Thank you everyone who has supported me this season, specially my family, Charles, and Coach Dan Arnett.   Coach's predicted run time for me was only off by 2 seconds per mile, and I didn't believe it!  Impressive!!

Charles also had a fantastic weekend.  He clobbered his best placing and time in the Olympic Distance breaking the 2 hour mark with a 1:59:59 and taking 7th place, his highest in this distance.

Charles and his game face!
he popped his head out of the water to yell to me and waved!!

check out the sweat dripping off his nose!!  Working hard!
On to a 30 second 10k PR!!
On Sunday he slaughtered the field with a 3rd place finish.  So we will both be representing Team USA next year in Canada.

Here's some other pics from the city and race :)

Charles in the pack!
View of the swim course, amazing for spectators!
Coffee and restaurant area along the course 
random house along the Oly bike course
transition area, pre-bikes
transition, with bikes!

1 comment:

  1. Ahhh! Great job you guys! Awesome to read the whole story :)