From not being able to swim half a pools length to Racing in the Triathlon National Championships, I’ve come a long way.
I qualified for the National Championships by placing high in a local race. As soon as I received the invitation email from USAT (USA Triathlon), I immediately registered. I registered nearly a year in advance, so the waiting game up to the race brewed many thoughts of how the race would be.
The race was held in Milwaukee Wisconsin, August 8, 2015. As it turns out traveling for a Triathlon requires a lot more effort than my previous race travels in the past. Opposed to the like of Marathon race traveling, you not only have to bring a pair of running shoes, but you have to also bring your BIKE! There are some options such as rentals and bike delivery, but they still are not super cost-effective, therefore I decided to bring my bike myself. I rented a bike box from a local bike shop, the box helped a lot since it protected the bike from damage. Even so, the bike was quite heavy and large which cause me to work quite a bit and even feel some light strain in my back. Definitely something you don’t want to deal with before a race.
Upon arrival in Wisconsin, the weather soothed over the dealings with the bike …until I found the airline had left my bike in Chicago! No big deal, I was staying at a hotel a mile away from the airport and the airline said they would deliver the bike to me upon finding it. Instead of focusing on what could go I wrong, I took a positive approach and took on what I could control. I checked in to the hotel and booked an Uber ride to downtown to pickup my race packet. Pickup was a breeze, and my bike was delivered when I returned to the hotel. I didn’t have much time so I hurried and re-assembled my bike in order to take it to downtown for check in. By evening I was back at the hotel doing some evening-before race preparations.
As always, I woke up early on race day. I arrived at the race venue and It was cold. I assumed the weather was due to nearby Lake Michigan. We were set to swim in a cove adjacent to Lake Michigan, which made the water stay cool but a bit calmer than that of the lake. The bonus, was that since the water was still cold, all racers could use their wetsuits.
When the race started, It felt like a true professional race. They announced names and even had a proper Gun-Start. Not surprising, since I was racing against some of the best Age-Group athletes in the Nation!
The swim was not cold to me, since in races I try just focus on my swimming when in the water. The swim at 1500 meters felt a bit long, but a it was a relief to finish. My transition to the bike was slow but once on the bike I felt quite good. Eventually the cycling got difficult especially in the last miles. It was a not a hilly bike course but a lot of over passes and highway elevation changes. After finishing the bike I started the run, which felt awesome. The weather was perfect – about 78 degrees , in comparison to the 90+ degrees I had been training in in Texas. I finished further down the rankings than I wanted to, but I the experience was even more rewarding.
After the race I went for a great burger at Sobelman’s and some frozen Custard at Leon’s - all Wisconsin favorites. I returned home the day after without any issues. Of course, it was super hot in Texas, but being home is always great.