Sarah and Court are 5 1/2 and we finally decided to take them to our alma mater, the University of Illinois, to attend a football game. I was really looking forward to the weekend as I knew it would be incredibly nostalgic for me. You see, my dad graduated from here too and starting early on, my parents introduced us (my brother and me) to the fascinating world of tailgating. They would dress us up in orange and blue from head to toe and I loved it. I can even recall being decked out in an orange and blue stripped sweater and socks, with blue corduroy shorts, and penny loafers. Yep, I was cool! 😉 But what I looked forward to most from these weekends was hanging out with the Schmidt’s and Browns. (The patriarchs were fraternity brothers of my dads and Cathryn Schmidt, to this day, remains one of my very dear friends).
Unfortunately, Saturdays game had an 11am start time and we couldn’t leave until that morning, so not much tailgating for us. We arrived around 10:15am so only had time to walk by some cool parties and, of course for the girls, to play in a bouncy house for a few minutes. I’ll wrap this part up quickly and just say the game and experience for the girls was much fun. The results of the game were another story. Regardless, we will always bleed orange and blue.
Game over, more driving ensues, but only to Danville. Not a place with much to do, but Sarah and Court love any place which has a pool. So within minutes of checking into our hotel, they were fully chlorinated. And with Scott there too, I finally had some time to indulge in a book poolside, yay! After oodles of swimming, we had a hankering for some grub and we choose the best restaurant in town, Subway. The place was a bit dicey so we opted to take the food and have a picnic in our hotel room. While cleaning up and getting prepped for the race, my bike called out to me and inquired why I had neglected it that day. Holy cow! I actually forgot to work out!!! AND, my coach was with me all day too so apparently he forgot too! Well, that was a first! Being asleep by 9pm was also a first.
Having only signed up for the Boilermaker tri about a week ago, under the coaches directive, I had no idea what to expect except that it would have a large collegiate contingent. I didn’t even look at the course map until I arrived at the race, which I did about an hour before the gun went off. There was a long line for packet pick-up and by the time I got mine, they were out of caps. I found this odd since the race was small and I was pre-registered. No biggie though as I got to do a little advertising wearing my Bradbury Fitness cap. 😉
I had been dreaming of a race with low temps all season and I certainly got it. Though it surprised me some as the race had a late start time of 9am. It was still cold then, especially for the spectators as the very long, and sharp, grass (it was a field) all around the transition area was wet and cold, so all their shoes and jeans quickly became that way too. It was quite a walk to the race start so many of the athletes were complaining about not just about the cold, but walking on so much prickly grass as well.
The moments prior to the start were refreshing though. Collegiate athletes were doing their team cheers, which was fun to witness. Some of them even became earworms during my ride, which made me feel a bit younger. That was not the case at the race start though! I felt OLD there, thankfully there was a good group of us in the last wave, the 40+ers. Off we went and within 2 minutes I caught someone from the wave 2. After that, I spent the entire swim, which was about 300 yards short, weaving in, out, and around the vast majority, if not all of wave 2, and most of wave 1. Yea!
Up a slippery hill into T1, found my spot, and then fell while attempting to take off my wetsuit. I actually giggled and just kept at it. The bike leg was fun, pretty, and windy. The first girl I passed had an Illinois race kit so I said, ‘ Go Illini,’ as I went by…no response. Oh well. This bike was more fun for me than most races as I was actually picking off a lot of people and only 3 men passed me.
A good dismount into T2 and off I ran. I felt ok, but as usual, it took a good mile+ to get into a groove. Then I felt really good! Have you ever heard me say that about a run??? Yep, it’s pretty rare. (Maybe it’s because I actually forgot to work out Saturday, another first)! Anyway, as usual, I didn’t wear a watch as it messes with my head so I had no clue as to my pace or mileage. Typically I know the latter as most courses have mileage markers every mile. Not here, not one mile marker! So after running in, around, back, and forth in a brand new residential area, I headed back onto the main road and could see the finish line. A volunteer cheered me on and said I was almost done. So as I made my turn to the finish, other volunteers were directing me to run past it, go around the lake, and continue the last 2 miles. What!?! I thought it seemed short to finish, but 2 more miles?!? See what I get for not studying the race course? Bad me! I really wouldn’t have minded it as much except those last 2 were mainly on grass and uneven terrain. I was a bit disheartened as I knew I had a great run in me, one of me best, but I also knew I needed to be a bit cautious and not injure myself with Worlds 3 weeks away. So, the best part about approaching the finish line this time? My awesome sherpa, Sarah, and Court were there cheering me on and once again, the girls got to run with me the last 25 yards or so. I LOVE that!!!
Results: good swim, best bike of the season, and sound run. 1st overall female! There is orange and blue in my blood baby! 😉
Now it’s off to cheer for Scott as he’s running in the Chicago Marathon tomorrow! Go Scott Go!