My trip to Nationals was worth every minute. Any time I can travel back to Oregon I am like a kid in a toy store. While my results weren't what I was after at the race, the experience and trip made up for some of that disappointment.
I don't like writing detailed race reports, and I don't think most people care about what I eat for break feast race morning, how many gels or water I had, how I slept etc. But, here are some of the highlights, and (lowlights) of the race and weekend. The temps were cool, normally not my favorite conditions I think only 55 deg?, but I didn't even care because Hagg Lake is such a beautiful place to race, I love the course and was excited to be racing there. My swim and bike were good, and based on last years results for my age group worthy of close to top 10. The swim start was a 1 hand touch on the pontoon with everyone lined up side by side. This is how they do a lot of World events. It made for a nice clean, and fast start. The water was perfect and it was a pretty decent swim for me. The bike is a hilly 2 loop course and really fun. I was frozen/numb for the first 15 min of the bike and I and kept saying just ride harder to warm up. After a few climbs I was fine and had a strong ride. Coming off the bike, I felt tight and had those numb toes, but once I tried to hammer the first big downhill I realized how tight my hip/hamstring that I've been battling were. I think the cooler temps caused it to tighten. I simply did not have what I needed on the run, and won't go into much more than that. You can't show up to Nationals not 100% and expect to do well. In an attempt to seek the positive, I was reminded that 5-6 weeks ago I was walking with a limp and ice strapped to my butt 3 x a day, not even running, and I should be glad that I made it to the starting line. (the true competitor inside though says...yea whatever, it wasn't good enough and leaves some dissatisfaction)
Some other FUN parts of the trip:
1. Seeing my Dad and Jack at the finish line, they don't care where you finish and always make you think you're a superstar!
2. Seeing a deer run right out in front of my when I was descending going over 30 mph! Yikes, but very cool
3. Having Jack ask if he could walk my bike for me after the race back to the shuttle
4. My dad making me homemade waffles the morning after the race like he did when I was in high school
After the age group race the elites had their Nationals so part of the course was shut down for them. There was quite a haul from transition back to parking....so there were shuttles. Bikes were not allowed on the buses....they were using separate vans to move bikes. I was freezing and didn't feel like waiting so I road my bike back to the car...it was probably 8 miles reverse direction around the lake, up and down the hills again. While riding back I had some time to think about some things. I thought of my friend Jen H. who, the week of the race was in a pretty serious car accident. Thankfully she was ok, but she couldn't come race because of this and it was one of those reminders that it is easy to cruise along each day taking a lot of things for granted and when something huge like this happens it wakes you up. So as I rode slowly along back to the car with tears in my eyes for pouting over how my season has ended up, I thought I was being a little pathetic and needed to shake it off. I had words from my Dad and Cheryl Hart in my head reminding me of what things are most important, and making me think of all the success I have had in triathlon over the years.
On this ride I also decided I am going to take a "vacation" from triathlon for awhile. I have raced and trained non-stop every year minus the months of pregnancy (even then I swam, waddled, elipticaled did what I could) for 18 years. I did my first tri when I was still in college. Then each year after got more and more hooked, kept getting better and faster and this is how you get hooked. Obviously I love the sport, love being competitive, and love the lifestyle. But, it is time for a vacation from it. Both physically, ( I have never had an injury that has affected my season), and mentally I think new goals and changes can be good. Plus it is getting really tough to fit in training the way you need to, to be competitive. The mom guilt gets in the way, and I'm just not the type to ride my trainer at soccer practice. I won't be sitting on the couch scrap booking though. Once the body rests and heals I'll be looking for some run races and setting some new types of goals.