As race day approached I went through countless packing lists, check lists and re-packing of all the bags I was bringing with me to DC. I was so nervous and anxious about getting all of my gear there safely. I kept thinking.... what if something didn't make it through security and didn't have it for race day? What if they lost my luggage? I decided I had to pack EVERYTHING I needed for race day in my carry on but this way I knew it would make it there and if anything was lost through security I knew what I needed to get before time to race. So now I had a plan and had most everything packed but couldn't sleep so I ran a few last minute errands to keep me busy and keep my mind from worrying more. Finally, it was time to sleep. My alarm went off EARLY as usual for anything race related. I slept on the flight there which was good as I was able to let my mind rest as well and catch up since I only really got a nap the night before. Once we arrived, it was time to get settled into the hotel and start enjoying race weekend. This was the weekend I had been looking forward to all summer. I set out to explore DC with the team and enjoyed the day of relaxing! Saturday we had the morning free so I had breakfast with my roomie, Dana, and then relaxed until it was time to go transition and get set up for race day. We arrived at transition and got out bikes and started putting the pedals, race numbers and more on the bike for the next day. The transition area was huge and a little overwhelming but that feeling passed as I walked over to the Potomac River to look at the swim route. The route was long, very long (for me) but watching the waves and the choppy water made me super nervous for the race. I know swimming is my weak point and I know my training for the swim portion suffered. We finished up at transition and headed back to the hotel to go to the expo, rest and get ready for the inspiration dinner. After a power nap and some more roomie time; Dana and I headed down to the inspiration dinner. We enjoyed spaghetti and chicken for our pre-race meal and listened to Dave Scott share stories with us and Team in Training leaders speak about the effects and things that have been made possible through fundraising from this season and seasons past. At least, it was time for last minute preparations for the 3:30am wake up call. All of my things were laid out for the morning and my bag packed and ready to go as well; now it was time for sleep. This was not an easy task as my mind was racing and the excitement for the race was building. FINALLY, it was race day and the alarm went off at 3:30am to get the day started. I started with my bagel and peanut butter which was hard to get down so early. All dressed and ready, Dana and I headed downstairs to meet the team. Dana, who it seems is a morning person, was SO excited and hilarious and I was more awake and chatty as usual. We meet our teammates and coach and headed off to the park to get ready to race! I anxiously set up my transition area and checked it again and again. I waited for time to put on my wetsuit and get ready to race, which felt like forever due to the wet suit wave being at the end. We sat down by the water and watched as wave after wave went into the river. Surprisingly, this didn't make me nervous at all. It was actually kind of relieving. IT was our turn. It was actually here! The moment I had been training for and waiting for was ACTUALLY here! The six of us lined up on the pier and off we jumped. The race had officially begun. I started swimming and kept thinking to myself, 'All I have to do is get through the water...one stroke at a time.' As I swam I kept looking at my nails, green and then purple...green and then purple. It helped me to stay calm and swim on. When I got tired I would backstroke a little to rest as long as I didn't use the kayaks I did want I set out to do. As I rounded the last corner headed for the swim exit, I felt relieved, accomplished and excited! I had done it. The hard part was over.. I had swam 1500meters with the help of God and my Dad. I ran up the path to transition and quickly hopped on the bike to be sure I made the cut off at the 7 mile mark. I didn't know how long I had been swimming but it felt like forever so I knew I had to hustle. I pedaled as fast as I could to make sure I was there by the time cut off, which I made 20 mins early. After that point I decided I would relax and enjoy the scenery and the race. Coach said to enjoy the race and take it all in because I didn't have a previous time to beat so I did just that. I talked to my dad, God, sang and just enjoyed every bit of my ride. I was now at transition and getting ready for the last leg of my race. I was almost there, almost to the finish line! I started out running along and talking to other Team in Training runners. I met so many people from so many different places. I again, just ran along and enjoyed the scenery and would pick up a runner that was walking and try to help motivate them and get them to their goal as well. Known as the 'Happy Runner' I was just that, pleased to be part of such a great event, with a great organization for a great cause, all in memory of the BEST DAD EVER! As I was getting close to the last 1/2 mile I could hear the crowd and knew I would be seeing my team soon! As I approached the finish line, Coach Randy came running along side of me to cheer me on and keep me moving. I was there I was at the finish line. I had accomplished my goal and completed my first olympic triathlon, Nation's Triathlon. Thank you to all of those who have supported me throughout the summer in my training, fundraising and throughout everything. Thank you to my coaches, my teammates, my dad and God for helping survive my first big triathlon. Truly blessed!
A Portion of the NTX Team in Training!