“The future’s so bright, I gotta wear shades.” Timbuk 3
On September 11, I competed in the Nations Triathlon, an exciting race packed with elite triathletes. To say you did well at Nations meant that you were a great athlete. I had done this race three times before but had never done well. For me, “well” meant a top 3 placement in my age group. This would be my 4th attempt.
2011 Nations Triathlon Race Report
The lead up: DC experienced 3 days of incessant rain that flooded highways and bridges. The heavy rains also caused the sewage system to overflow into the Potomac river, along with tons of debris. Thus, the officials cancelled the swim. The race would be a 40k bike followed by a 10k run. Great news, right? No. I’d spent a lot of time working on my swim and I wanted to see the fruits of my labor. But that would have to wait.
The bike: The weather was perfect. The course was smooth. The energy of the crowd was overwhelming. I was moving faster than normal and my quads were suffering because of it. In those moments, I focused on my form, emphasizing the pull portion of my pedal stroke. That worked. I turned the corner to the transition area feeling alive.
The run: I started off with a strong pace. At mile 4, I stepped it up a notch – that was the plan. Then pain started to set it in. My quads were dead from the bike. Dead. I closed my eyes and prayed. I asked for the strength to keep going. Help me. I saw the finish line. I heard the crowd. My legs were spinning. Could I keep this pace? I had to. That was the plan. I ran to the finish line as hard as I could. I wanted to regret nothing.
The Result: I set a personal record in both the bike and the run. I achieved numbers that I didn’t expect to hit until next season! On the bike, I averaged 22.3 mph, up from 21.3 last year. On the run, I averaged a 6.47 pace, faster than my 6:58 pace last year. I exceeded all of my expectations. I was proud of myself regardless of where I placed. But in case you were wondering, I placed 3rd in my age group out of 296 women. I was 20th overall out of 1,455 women. I had the race of a lifetime and my friends were there to cheer me on. They were there to capture this huge grin as I held my glass trophy, something I’ve been waiting 4 years to hold. What a day. My dreams are coming true.