This right here

This is what it’s all about.

2013 MD Olympic Du - me, Nicole Sin Quee, Jessica Purcell

2013 MD Olympic Du – me, Nicole Sin Quee, Jessica Purcell

Any time I get a chance to race it’s a wonderful day. Whether the result is good, disappointing, I am left crying or in an ambulance – I still treasure every opportunity I have to get out there and challenge myself. I never look back and say “I really wish I wouldn’t have done that” or “what was I thinking?”. Heck I can even say the same thing about training. What would I do without the ability to push my body to the limit and test my strength? Well, we already know what that does to me, but I digress.

** WARNING: THIS IS ABOUT TO SOUND CLICHE` AND CHEESY
Of all of the amazing benefits of being an athlete – hands down the #1 gift is the friends I’ve made over the years. Sure, getting on the podium is great. Winning feels awesome. But those moments fade. The friendships I’ve forged through racing and the memories we share will last a lifetime. I have made friends all over this country and even the world.

2005 World Championships - Newcastle, Australia - Team Philippines

2005 World Championships – Newcastle, Australia – Team Philippines

There are friends I may not cross paths with again (hopefully this is not the case) but we will forever be connected by the experiences we shared. There is one that, although I’ve only met in person once, we stay in very close contact and I feel like she is a sister to me (ahem, Shari Boyle).

Some I’ve met while traveling far away:

2005 World Championships - Newcastle, Australia - Connie Sullivan, Me, Kerri Robbins

2005 World Championships – Newcastle, Australia – Connie Sullivan, me, Kerri Robbins

2011 World Championships - Gijon, Spain - Jamie Belinne, Yvonne Carter, Me

2011 World Championships – Gijon, Spain – Jamie Belinne, Yvonne Carter, me

2012 World Championships - Nancy, France - Lisa Taylor, Julia Purrington, me, Kim Mtgatt, Gail Kattouf

2012 World Championships – Nancy, France – Lisa Taylor, Julia Purrington, me, Kim Mygatt, Gail Kattouf

And others at local races:

2009 Boilermaker - me and Becky Bader

2009 Boilermaker – me with Becky Bader

2008 Mountain Goat - Kristin White, me, Marybeth Romagnoli

2008 Mountain Goat – Kristin White, me, Marybeth Romagnoli

Some have taken me in like family:

DSC06033

2007 Timberman – me with Tyler Brannen

2013 Cary Classic Duathlon - Marty Stiegmann, me, Dave Tierney

2013 Cary Classic Duathlon – Marty Stiegmann, me, Dave Tierney

And then you have the good ol’ crazy fun crews:

2009 Great Race - Bad Kitty and the Cougars - Tamara Tarbell, Caryle Zipprich, Amy Kneale (aka Bad Kitty), me

2009 Great Race – Bad Kitty and the Cougars – Tamara Tarbell, Caryle Zipprich, Amy Kneale (aka Bad Kitty), me

Now that you’ve joined me on a little walk down memory lane it’s time for the MD Olympic Duathlon race report. I haven’t been focusing on duathlon this year, and although I did this race last year and was happy to come back since RipIt Events does such an awesome job, the real draw for me was the opportunity to see some great friends that I don’t get a chance to see very often. This is what it’s all about – getting to race at a great event with people I love 🙂

As expected the race did not disappoint. The elite female wave started 2 minutes behind the men this year which kept me from going out too hard in the chase. I led the first 2 mile run with Julia Roman-Duval hot on my heels. Heading out on the first loop of the bike was very lonely. I only passed one elite male and then I was on my own. I dodged 2 rabbits, a squirrel, played a little Paperboy with 2 Sunday paper delivery cars, and then had one super-friendly resident yell “f*cking triathletes – you’re all a$$holes.” I just smiled and continued. As unhappy as he must be with his life, I was having a blast 😉

Coming into T2 - still smiling :)

Coming into T2
Photo: Ferrell McCollough

Hilary Cairns caught and passed me on the 1st lap of the bike, and soon after I was able to pass her back. I was thinking (hoping) that she tired herself out chasing me and that I could try to hold and widen my lead on the 2nd loop. Silly me – that girl is strong! She passed me again right before the end of the 1st loop and I was only able to keep her in sight for 1/2 of the 2nd loop. Knowing she is also a phenomenal runner, I’d have to pull something magical out of my hat to regain my lead. Heading out on the 2nd run I was told she had 1 minute on me. By that time the heat and humidity were turned way up so I tried to focus more on NOT getting passed, and moving forward, as I felt like I was wading through waist-high water at the pace I was moving… At the turnaround on the 2nd loop I realized that I could hold 2nd place, and mentally relaxed a bit as I made my way to the finish.

mdolyrun2

Photo: Ferrell McCollough

I crossed the line at 1:59:30, 42 seconds behind the first overall female. I collapsed into a chair, poured a bottle of water over my head, and was satisfied with a hard effort against a talented field of women.

mdolyfinish

Tank = empty
Photo: Ferrell McCollough

I was happy to see everyone cross the line – overheated and exhausted – but we all made it! And now it was time to relax and enjoy the company of the friends we’ve made. And this is what it is all about – celebrating our victories, our defeats, our obstacles – just celebrating the fact that we can all be out there doing what we love. Much love to all my friends with whom I have shared a race course, and to those that I have yet to meet 🙂 And thank you again to RipIt Events for hosting such an awesome race!

Run 1 – 12:05
Bike – 1:16:12
Run 2 – 29:23
Total – 1:59:30

Photo: Ferrell McCollough

Photo: Ferrell McCollough

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