Breaking Through at USAT Nationals

Breaking Through at USAT Nationals

USAT Nationals 2013 30by Kristin B.

USAT National Championship in Milwaukee.  My A race of the year.  I could write about so many great things related to this race, but to keep all those interested, here is a brief re-cap.  Milwaukee summer USAT nationals, A+ venue, extremely organized race, quick car ride from Chicago. Would I do it again?  In a second.

Race day had finally arrived.  I woke up at 6:00am and was in transition setting up my bike by 6:30am.  Unfortunately, my wave start was third from last, and after a race delay my take off was at 10:05am.  I carefully ate choice foods to keep my calories up and drank plenty of water in the hours leading up the race.  I spectated, cheered on teammates, and mentally walked through my event multiple times.  Before I knew it, it was time to get in the water.

Swim:  I knew many of the girls in my wave. In fact, many of them I had trained with before.  The atmosphere was very friendly for being a national race, and I was calm and collected.  After wading in the water for five minutes, the race was on.  I am a strong swimmer and normally in the first few minutes of the race I can pull ahead.  Not this race.  The swim was extremely aggressive and of the 22 minutes and 45 seconds I was in the water, it was not until the last 100 yards I was able to pull out ahead of the group and sprint to the finish.

T1:  I came out of the water 11th in my age group and ran to where I thought my bike was – or was not.  A wave of panic and frustration set in as I reached the end of the rack.  Other people in my wave flew by me.  Refocus. Refocus. I had walked through the transition three times the day before, and at least twice race day morning.  I re-checked the rack letters, visualized my walk through and was able to find my bike.  I grabbed my bike, but unfortunately lost about 30-40 seconds with my rookie mistake.

Bike: I started off on my bike frustrated.  For those who know me, biking is my hardest component of triathlon both mentally and physically.  I have great races, and then races where I may as well have not trained.  And unfortunately there is no in-between.  What I have found is 99% of bike for me is mental.  The first six miles of the race I was riding, not racing, fighting mental demons, and watching people in my wave pass me.   At mile six I saw a group of friends and my husband and it clicked.  This was nationals.  This race was what I had worked for since Oct 2012.  Time to get the show on the road.   There were many race officials on the course and for most of the race I was carefully passing/ jockeying positions with two other girls.  Around mile fifteen I realized my legs still felt great and it was time to really kick it into gear.  I picked up my pace and tried to keep my MPH over 23 mph.  Before I knew it I was cruising in to the finish.

T2: Uneventful.  Shoes, shot blocks, and race belt go, one minute quicker than my swim transition. 🙂

Run: By the time I hit the ground running I was not sure what place I was in.  My goal for the 2013 tri season was to qualify for worlds (top 18 in age group).  I forgot to start my watch so the first mile I ran without knowing my pace.  I have found sometimes those are my best runs- no watch, no stress.   At mile three a spectator told me “position 18.”  Just at that moment someone passed me and my excitement was temporarily deflated.  But the race then became a mission.  Hunt down calf numbers that start with a 3.  By mile 5 I had passed many others, but no 30-somethings.  Another person spectating told me “position 18, position 18.”  At the time I thought I was 19 so I just did whatever I could to kick it in.   On my way in I passed two women in the age group.  As I approached the finish I saw the Experience Triathlon Cheer Crew and I picked up my pace and sprinted in.

After the race, I grabbed a cold towel and a drink, found my husband, good luck charm (my dog Mackenzie), and then found Coach Joe.  Together we went to the results tent to get my results and it had happened.  I was 18/157.  I had locked in a place to Worlds!

Last week I received the official email.  I qualified for a spot on Team USA at the World Triathlon Championships.  Edmonton, Canada, here I come!!! Well, next September that is.  🙂

Enjoy all the USAT Nationals photos on the ET Photo Gallery!

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