When you’re an athlete who does many sports it can be hard to transition from one season to the next. You create a strong bond with your team and when your season ends it is hard to let go of all the fun memories you had. This is what I personally experienced going into Trinona this weekend. Coming right out of track I did not want to let go of the season, but instead I wanted to keep improving and spending time with my teammates. It left me with mixed emotions going into the weekend because I knew that I would have a great time when I started racing, but I also had the fear of what if I did not like triathlons as much as I remembered.
On the two and a half hour drive down to our motel room all the feelings of excitement, nervousness, and determination were all going through my mind knowing that this would be my first race of the season. I tried to sleep on the drive down but, knowing that I had not had proper training due to just coming out of track was another thought that kept racing through my mind. I feel that many athletes might have the same thoughts going into their first competition of the year, wondering if they worked hard enough in the off months and prepared well enough for the kickoff to their season. Although all of these thoughts were keeping me awake, I was motivated to get some sleep knowing that packet pickup closed at six o’clock and that we had gotten to our motel at about 12:30.
Waking up early was discouraging on top of the fact that I still had the feeling of wanting to be with my track team and still have the opportunity to improve in my races. We also had a group of guys who got in a fight right outside our room at 1:30 in the morning so I bet you can imagine how well we slept that night. Like any of the usual race mornings I groggily packed my gear, made sure I wasn’t forgetting anything, and our family headed for the race venue. Arriving and picking up my packet gave me a familiar feeling of excitement knowing that this was the first race for my season. I set up my transition zone like it was an instinct and waited for our wave to go out with the growing feeling of excitement.
When Taylor and I lined up to go out for the swim it hit me that I was about to start my favorite season of the whole year. No more distractions of track crossed my mind, but instead I knew it was go time. The swim started and I couldn’t have been more grateful that the person I started with was my sister Taylor because she was able to keep me in a straight line for the buoys in the swim. The swim was a really nice course with minimum turns and a straight shot to the beach. Getting out of the water and starting the bike was exciting because I was very curious to see what the course would be like.
I shortly learned that it was uphill for the first half and downhill for the second half. Having the bike being my weakest leg can be discouraging when people pass you like you’re standing still, but it is also an opportunity for improvement. I knew that my bike time would not be quite were I wanted it today so I used it as a time to try to improve in things that I am not the best in such as, going around corners fast or going down steep hills at a speed I am not comfortable with. As I was trying to strategize all of those things I took a minute to look around and take in my surroundings. I was on the top of a hill with beautiful scenery around me and it really hit me why I love triathlons so much. I get to spend time with people who enjoy some of the same things I do, push my body to a new level, and compete with amazing and talented athletes.
As I realized that it really started to feel like the triathlon season. Coming off of the bike I couldn’t stop smiling from that happiness, and the excitement of knowing the run was next. The run course was in an amazing spot that was very flat and on a beautiful trail. Although I had drank my whole water bottle on the bike I was so grateful to see the water stop at half way with happy volunteers ready to help out any athlete. Coming into the last home stretch my body was in pain as usual but crossing the line was so exciting knowing I had the first race of my season under my belt. I was so grateful I got to start the season at Trinona because all the courses were amazing, the volunteers were kind and helpful, and everyone just seemed happy to be there. Although my times were not what I wanted this makes me excited to be able to improve and get ready for the next races to come.