Once again, ladies and gentlemen, a length of time much longer than intended has passed before the next installment in this series has come to fruition. Never fear, though. I’ve returned.
As of writing this post, I have now run for 136 straight days, at least a mile a day. All these consecutive days have brought me to a total of 425.5 miles this year. For those interested, I have also biked 1,149.2 miles and swam 82,280 yards (46.75 miles). I’ve raced 8 times total this season, and technically raced 8 different distances (more on that to follow).
Some exciting/worrying news depending on who you are and how you feel about me: I crashed my (brand new) bike the week of Nationals. I was being foolish at 20mph, hit a bump in the road, and went sideways over the handlebars. I made myself land on the ground to protect my bike because that’s what you do for your children, and definitely felt the brunt of that decision. Aside from some nasty road rash on my hip, shoulder, and elbow, I smacked my head into the concrete and cracked my helmet. That’s why you should always, always, always wear a helmet when you’re riding. I’d done the foolish thing before, but this time it caught up to me and I was lucky to walk away from it. My bike escaped with only a mark on the paint (which wiped right off) and some dirt in places you don’t want dirt, but it’s all taken care of now. I finished the ride, was not concussed, and replaced my helmet the next day. Here’s a picture of the road rash.
Road rash and smiling through the pain
Trust me when I say road rash is not fun to clean gravel out of.
After the crash, I was worried mostly about the swims at USATCCNC (USA Triathlon Collegiate Club National Championships, referred to hereafter as simply “Nationals” and not the world’s longest acronym). I, however, got #blessed because all the swims for the race weekend were cancelled due to heavy rains and the current in the river being too strong. All the races were converted to run-bike-run format, with the initial distance run in each race being split in half so the total distance was the same, just in the true duathlon format. This meant I didn’t have to struggle in and out of a wetsuit with road rash attempting to heal and meant I had a better chance in the draft legal race on Friday.
Cut to Nationals. Thursday the team got there, those of us racing draft legal went to the athlete briefing (which makes you feel pro as h*ck), we got Chipotle for dinner, and we went back to the house. I learned just how hard shaving your legs is. Mad respect, women who choose to do so. Friday morning came and it was race day. The women started first this year, with the men beginning after their race was complete. This meant I got to watch our two females, Lindsay and Joan, and learn some last minute strategy. For my race, I went out about as hard as I wanted. I think I came through the first mile in about 5:30, next to my friend Kyle from University of Southern California, and we stuck together for the rest of the run and all of the bike. The four loop bike course was flat and fast, with the average speed of my pack being 25.6 mph. Coming off the bike, I got a calf cramp and had to slow down for the last run, but I still finished respectably. The rest of Friday consisted of getting ready for Saturday’s races and recovering from that day’s, so nothing too special.
Saturday morning came and it was time for the Olympic distance race and the mixed team relay. After cheering on the women in their race, the men went off again. There were six waves of men, and I was in the first to go off, so I knew I was in for a fast run. I saw a lot of faces from the draft legal race the day before, and actually ended up sticking with a few guys who had raced and we worked together against the headwind on the way back from the out and back run. On the bike I was upset to learn I a) could not get comfortable in my aero position due to my injuries from my crash and b) had no power in my legs. I stuck it out and just tried to get through the race, though. I adapted my aero position so I could at least be somewhat in it, and tried to eat some food to get energy back. On the last run I ended up running completely out of energy, but I still finished and had a pretty decent race, so I wasn’t too upset.
The mixed team relay was all about fun. To pump us all up, the DJ played “Everytime We Touch” by Cascada (a certified banger) and we all went wild. I was the last leg of the race, and since I knew we weren’t going to win, I just had some fun with it. I heelclicked every time I passed a group of spectators on the run, collected high fives on the bike and run, and our entire team used the grandpa-T hat as our baton. Nationals was awesome, and as I’m sure everyone is, I’m really excited to start training for next year in three weeks.
Why three weeks, you might ask? Because this weekend I am racing Ironman 70.3 Chattanooga! That’s right, another shot at breaking 5 hours! We go off around 7:00am Sunday morning! I’m really hoping to string together a decent race this weekend, especially considering how tired I am and what a long season it’s felt like. Admittedly, my training may not be where it should be for the race, but if all goes well and at least somewhat according to plan, I could really have a chance (especially because the swim is down river for the most part). I can use all the encouragement I can get, and if you’re interested in tracking me, I’ve linked the Ironman tracker with my Facebook and Twitter accounts so updates will be posted there! If you don’t have me there, here’s the link:
That’s all for this post, y’all. As usual, a quote:
“It really gets grim until the competition begins. You have to wonder a times what you’re doing out there. Over the years, I’ve given myself a thousand reasons to keep runnin, but it always comes back to where it started. It comes down to self-satisfaction and a sense of achievement.”
– Steve Prefontaine