It started to hit me this past weekend that the season was starting to come to an end. The morning was a little bit cooler and there was a breeze in the air that reminded me that fall is right around the corner. For now I’m just going to try to hold on to the last moments of the tri season and summer.
This past weekend I was able to compete at Young-Life Triathlon in Detroit Lakes, MN. It was the type of race that brought in fantastic volunteers, (175 to be exact) a great venue, and a group of athletes that were excited to be there. The race completely filled up, which is always exciting to see, and the race directors got to show 300 plus people how wonderful young life is and why they should come back next year.
When I first walked into the registration area to get body markings I heard my favorite song playing called Oh Come to the Altar. This calmed my nerves significantly and I knew that it would be a good race from that point on. Before race start I got to reunite with some friends that I hadn’t seen in a while and just enjoy my time talking to the fellow athletes beside me. I loved meeting all the new faces and seeing just how many people were there to race and enjoy themselves throughout the day.
A warm up swim was necessary considering that the lake felt much colder than the races in July. When I was “warming up” for my swim I realized that the markers in the water were directly in the sun, but I tried to be optimistic and think that it wouldn’t be that much of a problem during the race itself. I was sadly mistaken.
As the swim got started and I went to the first buoy and turned the corner only to see that the majority of the swim was directly in the sun. The second marker in the water almost seemed non-existent with the sun in my eyes, but I did my best to try to follow a group of swimmers and hope that they were doing a better job spotting than me. Luckily the swim was shorter than other races I had done in the past and I was able to make the final turn and swim to the beach without the sun shining in my eyes.
Coming out of the swim and onto the bike was an exciting feeling for me. I was racing on a disc wheel for the first time and I wanted to see if I could improve my bike speed and push myself to a new level. I could instantly feel a difference with the new wheel once I started on the bike. Although it was amazing to use new equipment I didn’t want it to be something that would make biking easier, but instead I wanted it to be something that I could use as motivation to work even harder on the bike to see what I could accomplish.
With that new mindset I pushed through the bike and enjoyed every second of it. I loved how much my legs were burning, but I loved to see the mph average in return. When it was time to get off of my bike, (or just attempt to not tip over) I was nervous for the run. I knew I was in a good position going into it, but I also knew that I was being chased down by fantastic athletes. I tried to not let my mind take over and instead just do my best with what I had left in my legs.
When I was running I felt stronger than I had expected. I tried to focus on having good form and not allowing myself to go into autopilot especially near the end of the race. It’s always difficult for me to stayed focused on the little things when I just want to be done and cross the finish line, but I also know that paying attention to details can be beneficial in the end. Focusing on my form and breathing was a fantastic distraction because the run went by quickly and I was getting ready to finish. It was a cool feeling having people yell, “first women to come in” as I was crossing the finish line because it’s sometimes just the small things that make all of the training and hard work worth it.
I was able to pull out a win this year and I was thrilled. I didn’t want to just be satisfied with my race but instead I wanted to be proud of what I had accomplished and when I crossed the finish line I was finally proud of my performance. Young Life will always have a special spot in my heart. Maybe it was because this was my first race I had ever won the previous year. Maybe it’s the kind people and volunteers that are always present, or maybe it’s just simply the time I get to spend with family and friends while competing but whatever it is there’s a reason why I’m excited to go back each year. Thank you Young Life for an amazing experience and memories that’ll last for a long time.