I came out of Clermont with midterm exams less than 48 hours after my arrival in Boulder, thus not allowing for any recovery after racing back to back. 30 minutes upon arrival in Boulder, I rushed to the Engineering School for a review session: half asleep, I tried my best to retain the info. This is how things have felt all semester...quite hectic! I followed this up with Collegiate Regionals in Havasu, Arizona in which we camped in a trailer park for 3 nights after driving for 14 hours, with as many people crammed in a car as possible; this is not the most conducive way in preparing for a race, but the team travel and camping makes for a fun, memorable trip! Following Regionals, came training camp in New Mexico. It was a few days of intense training, and my body wasn't prepared for the load. I dug myself into quite the hole, and found myself on the side of the road crying, while our Coach Dave Sheenin fed me rice crispy treats, trying to calm the five year old on the curb.
I took training very easy for the month leading into nationals as school took priority and my body needed recovery, so I think the break was beneficial to me. Things came together just in time and come race day I was ready.
My heart was pounding, and I felt the energy from the buffaloes that surrounded me, as we chanted our pre-race cheer..."Icky la boomba..." This team is made up of some of the most intrinsically motivated individuals I know, and it pushes us all to be our best. This year out of my three years at nationals, felt the most special. I maybe didn't have the most consistent training the few weeks leading into the race, but I felt mentally prepared.
They called us down to the beach; I was jittery, continuously hopping in place as the sand squished under my feet: it's a tennis thing I think, that inability to stand still. They called my name and I declared a spot to the far right. The gun went off and I had a solid start. I was in the moment, reacting a split second quicker than the rest of the field. I dove into the water first and was ready to compete. I came out of the water in 18th, and was glad to see I had a large group of girls to work with. Halfway through the the second lap (of three laps) we caught the first pack of girls. Molly Supple and I put some good work in to finish off the bike portion, and I knew I was in the race when I exited T2 in fifth place. I gradually worked my way through the first half of the 5k run. I let my legs go on the downhills, feeling relaxed, and I enjoyed the feeling very much. Having such amazing support from my teammates and coaches gave me the strength to push through any doubts I may have had going into the race, and even throughout the race. I was in the moment and taking everything in; it felt surreal. I moved my way up to third, then second (as Molly Supple served a penalty). It was nearing the end of the race and I was closing on Kelly Cosmo, but couldn't quite pull it out on the day. She raced with guts, and deserved the win more than anyone that day. Running through the finishing chute in a podium spot at Collegiate Nationals was something I had visualized time and time again, but getting to actually experience it was like nothing I had seen before. I was pleased with the result but happier to share the success with my teammates, coaches, friends from other teams, and my mom, who flew out to support me.
I feel fortunate to be part of such a close knit team of people who are not only my teammates, but people I consider to be some of my truest friends. I don't know what I would do without the craziness, the laughing, and the fun times I get to spend with my teammates; they consistently remind me why I love this sport, and how much fun training SHOULD be. I was glad to pull through for my Buffaloes, and to have a solid race the following day in the Olympic Distance event, to help the team win it's 6th consecutive national title. Onward to the summer season. It will be my first professional season, and I know the learning curve will be steep, but I'm looking forward to the challenge! Thank you to my coaches, my family, boyfriend, and sponsors for continuing to support me.
|Sean Daugherty eating his pre-race seaweed salad and Timmy Winslow||with his peeps + fried chicken|
|last 1/4 mile of the run|
|me and teammate, Kasia Rasker, relaxing after Draft Legal day 1|
|Lead group finishing the bike|
|Kelly Cosmo, en route to victory|
|teammate, Kaye Sitterly all smiles|
|Proud to be a Buffalo|
|Molly Supple and I at the finish line|
|Surprised to finish 2nd|
|Our amazing Coaches Dave Sheanin, Brad Seng, Leigh Dodd, and Henry Winterbottom|