On Friday morning I left Alina with all six kids (I'm so nice...) and drove to Burlington, Vermont to race in the Age Group National Championship. I had a good race. The two thick pads I used in each cup of my sports bra did not become misplaced in some terrible locale on my body that would've made others stare and point--pity in their eyes.
So that's good.
When I plotted out my season this year I did not plan on racing AG Nats. It fell too close to IMLP, it was at the end of the summer, it was too far away. But then I noted that all of my triathlon friends were racing it and my song changed. I HATE to feel left out, and furthermore, what a great opportunity for me to 1. Socialize and 2. See how I stack up against nearly every one of my triathlon friends!
So, it turns out I stack up where I always stack up, in case you were wondering. But, more importantly, I did get in a mighty fine bit of socializing. In fact, when I reflect on this past weekend that is with what I am left: the race was fine, but the socializing was exceptional. I was also able to spend time with Andy without the kids present. That is a treat.... and a big one.
I was an anxious, nervous wreck before IMLP. In fact, I was so much a wreck that I suspect that some of my sickness on race day can be attributed to my incredible anxiety before the race began. For this race.... well, let's just say I did not get nervous until.....
Okay. I never got nervous.
This is of note only because the race was a national championship. Many competitors had made this competition the A race of their season. Still, let me be clear: I wanted to kick ass. I always want to kick ass. It's just that my want was about 40 billion times less intense then my want at IMLP.
The night before the race I began my weekend fait de frequenter des gens by meeting Steve (a tri friend from the present and actually also a swim friend from my high school days) and Kurt (my coach), and Ange and her boys. As a quick aside here: her boys are such good kids. Have I mentioned that? They are smart, well-behaved, and kind. I have decided that Ange needs to come live with my family for a bit so she can reform my kids and make them behave well in restaurants like hers? Do you think that's possible? Anyway, it was a lovely dinner, especially since Kurt didn't chastise me much for my choice to eat fries instead of a side salad. He wouldn't' give me a bit of his burger, though, which is just plain mean and likely cost me the race.
The next morning Ange and I, as usual, got to transition early Saturday morning to get ready for the race. We had racked our bikes the night before, so there really wasn't much to do--except to socialize. KT, a blogger friend who has the coolest bike EVER, was right next to me in transition on one side, and another PBM athlete, Rebecca, on the other. Ange was next to KT on KT's other side, and two spots down from me. A few places further down our rack was my friend Nancy, and just across from where I was racked were my friends Carrie and Tracy. These friends, fyi, were just the ones close to me in transition. This race was like my friend mecca. I loved it! There was no shortage of people with whom to gab! And gab I did... mostly with Tracy and Rebecca who I followed around, perhaps somewhat pathetically. It's hard to say.
Our swim wave was number 11, and so we had quite some time to wait around before we went off. I tried not to think about jumping into the cold water. I hate jumping into cold water. Actually, I hate jumping into any water. When it was our turn, however, the jump turned out to be not so bad at all.
This is not our wave, but this is the jump...
I can feel my stomach drop just looking at this picture. And yes, I know, it's not a big jump or anything... but it is still a JUMP.
Oh dear. Yes. I guess that WOULD be the case at Nationals, huh?
Did I mention that there was a former Olympian (won the bronze in tri in 2004) in our wave? She ended up winning the race--except she didn't, in my opinion. A former Olympian, especially a former Olympian who raced and medaled in the Olympics as recently as 2004, has no business competing as an age grouper. SORRY! No respect for that decision on her part. Get out of our race! (Okay, I know I'm mean and uncharitable....)
(*As an aside, did you know she was training to be an astronaut when she decided to go pro in triathlon?*)
(*One more aside. In my opinion the runner-up this year, Catherine Sterling, who is, incidentally, coached by Kurt, is the true 2011 AG National Champion. Just my opinion, but of course, I'm right. Susan Williams is a champion--no doubt--but not an AG champion. She was, and should still be, a professional.)
Okay. Sorry about that. Back to the swim.
There were a lot of fast women in my AG.
And they swam fast.
I swam fast, too, or so I thought. I felt very strong throughout the swim and I was sure I would click my watch at swim's end and pat myself on the back for a job well done. Oh, so wrong, so wrong. My swim was the slowest Oly swim I have ever had ! I'm still not sure if it was a slow swim because I was slow, however, or because it was a bit long. I'm going with long, so don't burst my bubble and tell me it was dead on, okay? I don't care if you were there. Just shut up already.
So, I swam and swam and then I finished. 25:19.
As I emerged from the water we were directed onto these slippery stairs. The volunteers yelled, Careful! And Don't slip!
And so, naturally, I slipped.
Then I got up and ran while trying to strip off my wetsuit, which I've never been able to do prettily or gracefully. Usually there is snot dripping out of my nose (or water that appears like it could be snot) and I can't wipe it because I'm struggling like a mad woman to get my arms out of the suit while I stumble forward awkwardly. Finally, I did manage to get the suit off.
_______ Okay. I'm sick of writing. More tomorrow. I know you CANNOT WAIT. But tough. You have to.