Qualifying for Age Group Worlds didn't really mean much at the time. Honestly, 9 months ago written it off an decided that is was too far away to get excited about. That being said, I was dead wrong and would gladly slap some sense into my "past" self if given the chance. Competing at this level, surrounded by talent, was truly humbling and extremely motivating! I'll keep this brief but will highlight my lessons learned.
- Traveling overseas to a "A" race can either be super stressful or a remarkable journey. I decided to make a " remarkable journey" out of it, focusing on what was within my control while ignoring typical stressors i.e..change in diet, a destroyed circadian rhythm, many hours lugging around lots of heavy items, excess time on your feet, cold weather, 22 hours of sweat in one outfit...etc. It's best to take it all in and keep your chin up. Attitude is everything!
- Getting a feel for the course was easy, there were races all week long, not to mention tons of crashes. We practically walked around in a continual mist, which made the roads dangerously slick. We all knew it was going to be a dodgy course and expected to be extra cautious. There was an aquathlon (what?), Paratriathlon, open olympic distance race, pro men and women race and sprint distance worlds. Talk about race overload. Luckily our hotel was within striking distance (10 minute walk). I volunteered to help out the paratriathlete's and I have to say it felt great to help some very dedicated athletes.
- Hyde Park was amazing for some pre-race training. I have to compliment the locals for being very fit. You could throw a rock and hit someone running or biking. I literally can count the amount of obese people on one hand...and they were probably American or Irish. Swimming wasn't really my favorite though, since the Serpentine is Doo-Doo brown and very cold. It's brown due to massive amounts of goose poo. I have a friend who had gotten pretty sick from swimming there, luckily my immune system held it together.
- Jet lag subsided by race day, however my travel companions insisted on talking with a british accents and giggling until late in the evening. Regardless, I'm so glad we were able to enjoy the fruits of London as a Team.
- MY RACE wasn't until Sunday and I was totally prepared to execute. The weather in the U.K is the opposite of Florida so I'm very thankful we had blue skies for our race. The days leading to the race (taper week) are always bittersweet, but like I said earlier, attitude is everything. My general mood concerning my race is excellent, I give it a 8 out of 10. The swim was definitely my weakness; no warm up, low 60 water temp, low 50 air temp and maybe lack of toughness. My feet were numb running to transition, so were my hands, making it hard to secure my helmet or make a frownie face. I'm very happy with my bike performance! Holding an average speed just short of 26 mph on a technical course felt good. As far as the run is concerned, I'd like to say WOO HOO! Despite months of working through lower leg injuries, I negative split every 2 mile loop, running a 36:40 10 Kilometer. I know I have a long way to go to be super competitive, but the good news is I'm always getting better! Unfortunatley, I did walk away with a Peroneal Tendon Strain....but it's already getting better.
Armed with my toilet seat pillow, plenty of healthy snacks and roaring excitement for the unknown....London awaits.
I'd like to first thank my Mom and Dad for being awesome cheerleaders. My Dad FINALLY learned how to use Facebook and has since been no stranger to hitting the "like" button. I managed some sleep on the plane; roughly 4 hours. Unfortunately my Monsters University movie session was cut short due to our arrival. Seriously, couldn't we hold pattern for another 15 minutes so I could finish my free movie?? Needless to say, the journey was only mid-way once we arrived at London-Heathrow airport. After my travel companions learned that their luggage had not taken the same route, the mood wasn't as pleasant. Luckily, the bikes made it in one piece though (whew). After a 45 min Tube ride and a 1.5 mile walk (which felt like 20 miles due to the bike case, heavy luggage, backpack....and sweaty/stinky armpits) we arrived at the Corus Hotel. We are a 10 minute walk from everything we need.
Speaking of walking, I've definitely walked more in the past 3 days than I have in the past 5 months. Since the race is tomorrow...we'll see how that paid off.
I was lucky enough to meet some great ParaTriathletes and even luckier to be a "handler". Truth is, he didn't even really need me...but I'd like to think I at least helped a little (high fives, chest bumps and what not). Needless to say, totally can't wait to leave it all out there on the course, just like they did. I definitely can't wait to see these guys compete in the Rio Olympics. The amount of spectator support was also very inspiring. Despite the weather not being able to make up its mind (it's either cold or misting and cold) the crowd was very large.
And so here I am...it's almost like Christmas Eve...hopefully I can sleep. My trip thus far has been full of great and hilarious events. Somehow, my travel companion packed two rear wheels...but luckily the guys at Specialized helped her out with a front wheel and a "triathlon for dummies" book. It's hard to believe that there has been so much preparation for just one event, but that's what makes what I do amazing. It gives a greater purpose to traveling and brings everyone together in healthy competition. I LOVED having a front row seat , 20 feet from the water, watching the elite women fly by...too bad I was numb since I had just swam myself. Finally...let me just say...I'm SO thankful there is a Whole Foods nearby!!
Tomorrow's projected conditions:
Air Temp....probably around mid 50's
Wather Temp....Mid 60's
Rain: It's ALWAYS misting or just recently misted....so the course will be slick
Smell: Fish n Chips with Ale....and Goose poop.