Last Sunday I got a bug up my ass and decided I had to get in one last triathlon of the season. While I should have been doing my homework I began a Google search for a USAT sprint triathlon and messaged the first person I thought of for a road trip buddy.
Sunday, September 22, 4:45pm…
Saturday, September 28, 4:55am…
En route to Mount Sterling, Ohio!
Before I recap anything, I need to give a giant shout out to Amy. The courage she had to say, “yes, I’m in, let’s go”, and then race with a more competitive mindset than she ever has before was really cool to witness. She is a bundle of joy and can find a positive spin on literally everything. Our hotel didn’t have a microwave and she ate dry oatmeal for her pre-race breakfast without one complaint. She giggled the entire time. Who does this? What I learned from Amy over the weekend is to pull my head out of my ass and see gratitude in every moment.
We drove 8 hours to Mount Sterling, Ohio to race a sprint triathlon, a race that would take less than 90 minutes to complete. The reason for this madness was that I missed out on an invite to Age Group Nationals because I went out in the Elite wave at High Cliff in June. I wanted an invite, so we went on a “dam” adventure.
My swim plan was to follow Amy’s feet. She’s a blazing fast swimmer and if I could hang onto her I’d have a good chance at being one of the first out of the water. What actually happened is when we got into the water together I pulled ahead. What? Amy? It was bizarre but I kept thrashing ahead as best as I could as my left goggle filled with water. When I rounded the second turn buoy into the sun my goggles had completely fogged up and I was swimming blind. I could not see a damn thing or person, but a blur of a yellow and red turn buoy in the distance. Somehow I made it out in a decent time of 13:41 for 750 meters. Later I found out that Amy’s tri top had ballooned with water and she was fighting unexpected drag.
The bike was a blink of an eye. There was an unexpected big hill, for Ohio that had my heart racing. Once I was at the top of that I tucked into aero and picked off as many people as possible. It was fast and furious. Twenty kilometers in 37:02, 20.1mph.
The run was too may blinks of an eye. My legs did not have it in them. It is the splits that blow my mind, like the 7:09 and 7:37 I pulled off in the duathlon just a week ago. I couldn’t pull my head out of my ass and run as my alter ego. It was just me, well aware of how many times I was getting passed, hanging on, wondering where the hell is the turnaround? Five kilometers in 25:06, 8:05 pace.
I had two goals going into this race. The first one was a reasonable goal, the second one was a greedy goal:
Finish in the top three of my age group, female 35-39 – Accomplished!
Finish in the top three overall female finishers – Eighth!
Slightly disappointing but I’m going to keep showing up. I’ll get there!
Another beautiful piece of wisdom I got from Amy from the weekend is the symbolism of deer. She shared with me that before every race, she by chance she sees a deer. It’s significant because they remind her of her father who has passed away. It’s like a message from the heavens, a loving hello from her dad. It gave me chills when we saw a deer twice over the weekend!
Out of curiosity I looked up the symbolism behind deer and here is what I found:
“In general, deer symbolism is often a sign not to be too hard on yourself. Calm the voice of the self-critic and treat yourself with gentleness and understanding. Be yourself and continue along your path. Seek out your inner treasures and use them generously to help those around you.
Deer are constantly on the move, being on the look out for the next opportunity. When you have the deer as spirit animal, you are able to bring gentleness and grace in every aspects of your life, even in the most challenging moments. By inspiration from the deer’s qualities, you can achieve ambitious goals and tackle difficult situation smoothly with a touch of gentleness and grace.”
Though this was a very short distance race for me, I gained some incredible wisdom out of the weekend. Wisdom and appreciation for this friendship I’ve made with Amy, who I met through the triathlon community. I can’t express how fortunate I am for not only this friendship but the support from my spouse who didn’t even flinch when I presented this spontaneous road trip idea to him. He gets it. I’m inspired to train and race with more grace.