First and foremost, the biggest thing I learned from this race was why I do triathlon... because it's fun! Yes, winning is great, beating personal best times is great, but all in all doing a triathlon really is one of the most fun things to do! So even if I sucked royally and never won any awards I would still race, just because it's so fun! The atmosphere at a triathlon, or any endurance event really, is amazing. I guess you have to be a little crazy to do what we do, and to be surrounded by people that have the same passion as you is just awesome! When I'm at a race I feel like I fit in, like I'm where I'm supposed to be and around the right crowd of people. It's like that cheesy song we used to sing in chorus in middle school, "Place in this World."
So Saturday was my 24th birthday. I really am not that excited about turning 24, but oh well, life goes on! Brian bought me a new aero helmet for my birthday, its pretty awesome - pink, black and white - totally Michellie Jones style. I love it! I've spent the past three weekends training up in Prescott, which is about 2 hours north of Phoenix, and spent my birthday up there too. In the morning I went for a 3 hour bike ride down to Skull Valley. It was a VERY challenging 3,000 ft climb and hot on top of it! A nice 30 min run topped off the day and I was spent! Dinner at Olive Garden was yummy as always and I watched Deep Impact (I know kind of lame but its one of my favorites) before bed!
Sunday was the morning of Chino Valley Sprint Triathlon. Chino Valley is about 20 minutes from Prescott. Getting up at 4:30 was a little hard, but I managed to roll out at 4:40 to eat my usual cereal and almond milk breakfast. This was only my second tri of the year and man was I nervous! I honestly don't remember being that nervous since before Ironman in November! The only thing on my mind was don't crash, don't crash, don't crash over and over and over! I almost drove myself crazy! Since the crash on the ride to Tucson I've been a little obsessive about crashing on the bike and it's been hurting my mentality pretty bad! To top it off, as soon as I racked my bike I went to pump up my tires and broke off the knob on the stem of the tube on the rear tire. Oh great, I thought, and I started freaking out a little. I think Brian noticed because he changed my tire without complaing at all (very rare) and I was really, REALLY thankful for that. The swim was a time trial start in a 25 yard pool. I was about the 120th person to start, and there was 20 seconds between each person, so I had a while to continue my anxiety about the bike course while everyone else started swimming in front of me. When it was my turn I kicked off the wall and swam pretty well (for me). I had good luck there wasn't many slow swimmers in front of me to crawl over in the pool, but I was so nervous it was a little hard to breathe. After the 300 yard pool swim I ran out to the transition area to grab my bike. Shoes on, sun glasses on, helmet on...... helmet on...... come on you stupid helmet!!!! I couldn't get the strap of my new helmet down over my ear to clip!!! Nerves, nerves nerves!!! Finally I got it on and grabbed my bike, ran to the bike mounting area, but had trouble getting my foot clipped in to get started because I was so shaky. I just couldn't calm down! When I got through all the turns in transition and finally out to the HILLY bike course, it felt like all my worries were flying away. I felt really great flying down the hills and pushing back up them. I started having fun and remembering why triathlon is so fun! I was still a little hesitant around corners and down huge hills, but much better then I anticipated. I started telling people "good job" as I blew by them on the bike and a smile started to form across my face! After finishing the two-loop 15 mile bike course I put my shoes on as quickly as possible, I grabbed my viser and race belt and ran out of transition while putting them both on. The run course was tough.. my legs felt heavy and I still felt the little extra weight I still have from being injured. I feel like I could have pushed myself a little harder on the run, but with being 5 lbs over my race weight on my head, I just couldn't give it max effort. I finished in 1 hour and 13 minutes. Second place overall, and 7 minutes faster then my time in 2007! I'm happy with my performance, especially since it's only my second race this year since my injury, but losing first place by 3o seconds still sucks when I knew I could have gone faster on the run, and the bike if I wasn't such a spaz!!!!!!!
Well, the fire is lit inside of me to train and race fast! I'm just more motivated to get out there in the heat and train, and am also excited to get out there and race Barb's race on August 1 all out! I'm going to work on my bike fear by biking more and hopefully be ready to let it all out at the race!