Thursday, April 3, 2014

Getting in Gear

Wow.  With respect to the weather, this winter has seemed abnormally long.  However, on the other hand I feel like I blinked and the off season had come to a screeching halt.  With my first outdoor triathlons of the season coming up this weekend (yes, multiple...), it's high time for a blog update! 

As the title of the post suggests, I've been spending the past few weeks "getting in gear" both figuratively and literally.  A couple of weeks ago I was fortunate enough to be able to make it down to Manassas, VA for the annual Team Rev3 summit- along with about 45 of the coolest and most inspiring people I know!  It was a blast to bond with both the new and returning team members before the Rev3 season kicks off in Knoxville next month.  We also received our new kits for the season, and as usual the Pearl Izumi custom department outdid themselves with those.  I'm so excited to rock mine this year!  With the addition of a new team visor, a couple of shirts, a Polar bottle, and a wealth of exciting information about where Rev3 is going as a company, I definitely headed home feeling like a very lucky girl to be back with the Rev3 team this year.

But this coming weekend is all about my other team... the Wisconsin Triathlon Team, which has been more like a family to me over my 6 years as a grad student at UW.  I'm back in Tempe for what will be my final Collegiate National Championships.  And just like last year, I'll be racing "the triple":

Friday, 11 a.m.- Individual Draft-legal Sprint
Saturday, 7:30 a.m.- Individual Olympic distance (non-drafting)
Saturday, 4 p.m.- Draft-legal Mixed Team Relay

Of course, I always want to do well and leave the race course with no regrets, no doubts about whether I could have pushed any harder.  But my primary goal this year is just to enjoy the experience, no matter the outcome.  As I had anticipated late last year, my training this spring has been much less consistent than I would've liked due to work/school priorities.  My practice performances haven't been too bad, just (again) a bit inconsistent. My running has probably been, relatively, the best of the three.  However, it is where I am most likely to suffer due to heat.  The women race first in the Olympic distance this year, so hopefully I will be ok and be able to race to my ability level.  But coming from Madison, where 40F still seems like a warm day right now, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't nervous about it. 

To make up for my somewhat shaky confidence in my current fitness, I've been doing the best I can to prepare my equipment well and ready myself for the tactical parts of the races.  I'm absolutely a detail-oriented person, and there are a ton of details involved in executing these races.  Competing in the two draft-legal races requires a road bike and helmet, so I'm traveling with even more equipment than usual.  Taking the time to think through each part of each race, including strategy, possible scenarios I might be in, and each piece of gear I might use is a valuable exercise- I'd recommend a similar process to anyone else who might be facing a bit of pre-race anxiety.  Looking after all of these little details helps to calm me down, help me focus, and help me feel more mentally prepared for the challenge at hand.  Once I'm out on the course, it's time to just be in the moment, enjoy the journey, and let the results follow.

Thanks to a quick tune-up from Pete at Rocket Bicycle Studio, Denali is ready to play!

The Badgers have almost 30 athletes competing this year, and our coach (and my own coach) Bill also made the trip down to help us out.  Since this is a collegiate championship, I'll be racing in Badger red, white, and black all weekend (along with a few Team Rev3 tats and accessories when possible). In addition to on my own social media accounts, you can follow along with our adventures here:

Team twitter: @WisconsinTri
Event twitter: #USATCN14
Team Facebook
USA Triathlon coverage (DL- live blog, Olympic- live stream)

Go Badgers!

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