So you may be wondering, what brings you back to a race you did nearly 3 month ago? Today I went to rooftop yoga in downtown Janesville held by True Studio, and the teacher Stephanie said something that really resonated with me. She said something along the lines of "in yoga we often name poses after things that children do, because you should do things in your life that bring you back to the joy you felt as a child". This got me thinking of things that bring me joy. Today I am 8 days away from my first Half Ironman. For you fellow athletes I'm sure you know my pain in scaling back training on the taper. In honor of next week's half I would like to share with you the joy (and some sorrow) that I felt at my sprint in May:
The week of May 16th came as a tough one. Early in the week I got word that my grandpa was not doing well, and he was in the hospital. A few days later on that Wednesday my dad and his brothers were preparing to drive to FL to see him. That morning I was up at 5:30 swimming laps in the pool with my friend Britten, and I felt my grandpa's presence with me. Later that day I learnt that my grandfather had passed that morning. Next came the question of, do we go to FL, do we stay here? There was a lot of back and forth, but ultimately my mom and I decided with my older sister that we would still drive to Minnesota to be together. I took off of work early and mom and I headed to MN. We enjoyed our time with Alisha, and reflecting on good times with Grandpa. Saturday we headed down to Lakeville Minnesota for the packet pick-up. I was lucky number 110. At the packet pick-up they were doing temporary tattoos, I looked through the book, and found a turtle, and I knew I had to do the turtle. My grandpa lived in Florida for as long as I could remember, and it made me think of him.
Race day came before I knew it. On race morning I felt a little flustered. Transition 1 and 2 were separate, something I had never experienced before. I went to T2 to set up my run gear, then made my way back to T1 to set up my bike. I saw my friend Clair in transition 1, and we were able to get some pictures from the photographer before we had to lineup.
The women lined up according to anticipated pace, I was really not sure where I wanted to line up, but I knew that I did not want to be at the back of the pack. I may have thought I was going to be a lot faster than I actually was, oops. I figured for this race I just wanted to go all out. At 7 AM the first swimmer jumped into the water, then before I knew it, it was my turn. I awkwardly jumped into the water and started my swim. We were zig-zagging the lanes for 5 lanes, on my first lane I pushed off the wall, but didn't get enough angle, and I had to duck under the lane line, oops. I was not as fast as I thought, and a few people passed me on the swim, but heck, I even caught up to the girl in front of me, Jamie that I was talking to as we waited to start. Out of the pool I could hear Clair and her aunts cheering for me. I shuffle-ran out to the transition (and may have gotten yelled at for my run). I was out of T1 in 1 minute flat, and soaking wet.
Seeing how it was May, I thought it would have been a bit warmer than it felt, but I was also soaking wet at 7:30 in the morning. Once I was out of the parking lot I decided I was taking off. I followed the course signs with very few cyclists in sight. The course was rolling hills. A woman came up on me, and she was killing it on the flats, then we would get to the hills and I was killing it on the uphills. We exchanged some jokes about how she would see me again on the hill, and she did. After awhile on the bike I decided I was just going to hammer out the miles as fast as I could, I was having so much fun going up and down the hills. Late on the course there was a big downhill, and you better believe I shifted into my big ring and cruised down that hill pedaling it out. I came into T2, and a lot of the duathlon participants were on their way out of the bike.
I ran to my spot, and there was a girl on her cell phone stopped right in front of my racking spot. I still feel kind of bad because I raised my voice at her and told her to move. In T2 I was a little slower, but my adrenaline was going. I took off out of T2 and as I passed a volunteer they had a surprised look on their face, looking bad I think it's because I was actually cruising a lot faster on the run than I felt. As usual my legs felt like bricks on the run after the bike. The run course was hot and felt a little miserable at the time. I had a couple of girls pass me, I joked they needed to slow down they were making me look bad, but they insisted that I was doing great, and I should keep it up. I came around the final turn, and saw my favorite thing: my mom cheering as much as she could for me, arms in the air and all. I finished the race! Not only did I finish the race, but I also placed 2nd in my age group!