Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A Summer Well Spent.

3.5 months, right on track.  It’s been a busy three months, perhaps some of the busiest, if that’s possible. Here I’ll attempt to keep this as short as possible and highlight the exciting, never dull summer months that have somehow passed us by.

Many of my summer days were filled with racing. Whether a triathlon, a running race, a race to get to work on time…it was a record year. I think the grand triathlon total is 10 and running races could be up that high as well. Aside from nationals, the biggest one was the Door County ½ Ironman in July. This one was extra special because Brian and I raced together and he became an official ½ Ironman. The race ended up much better than expected, with much of if due to the fact that Brian and I ended up coming into T2 together (I started 20 min ahead of him on the swim) and were able to run the whole ½ marathon together. He probably could have gotten in many minutes faster but at that point it was about finishing it together. We ran, we talked, we complained about the heat, the hills..and at the end we were THAT couple that crossed the finish line hand in hand and even had enough energy to do a little Fred Flinstone type jump. Cheesy, perhaps. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. And it lead to an hour + PR for me and my studly boyfriend as an official finisher. How studly you may ask? Studly enough to drive the 4 hours back to Chicago and go skate in his hockey game.  But perhaps that’s just crazy. And it seems fitting to throw in that we’ve now been dating 15 months. Woot! I love him, there I said it.

Another exciting race was the NYC Olympic distance triathlon, my 3rd time at the race. Exciting because I was extremely happy with my time of a 3:06. I’m gunning for that sub- 3 hour next year.

Dare2tri Elite Team!
There have been many races that have been in conjunction with dare2tri, the ever flourishing Paratriathlon club. Our second year has grown just as much as the first and we have the best athletes and volunteers around. The 4 of us that competed at Nationals this past May qualified for Paratriathlon World Championships that take place in less than a month from now in New Zealand! As the dare2tri elite team we’ve raised enough money to send all of us athletes and coaches down under. (Yes, I know that’s Australian) Training has been going well and as I write this I’m on a plane to Colorado Springs for a triathlon camp at the OTC for all of us going to Worlds. This year there will again be 3 athletes in my division and a record number of US athletes in all divisions. It will be the first World Championship for the other 2 ladies in my group and I am so excited to be competing with them, working on my 3rd Championship There really is nothing more exciting that wearing the USA uniform, on an international athletic stage with others you can call your teammates and friends. Race day is Oct 22, so the countdown has begun!

I was once again honored to be nominated for an ESPY for female athlete with a disability and Brian and I got to take the coveted trip to LA and walk the red carpet. No, I didn’t win, but the experience was just as thrilling as the last. Think celebrities, parties, gift bags, first class accommodations and a handsome man by my side. Good times.

I had the opportunity to go to London for the Paralympics. No, not to compete, although everyone I saw asked what I was competing in. It’s quite different being on the other side as a spectator instead of an athlete. I got to go over as an ambassador with the US Olympic Committee and we got prime seats to the opening ceremonies and the sports venues. To say it was inspiring is an understatement. I was only there 4 days but the electric atmosphere and the athlete drive made a lasting impression on me. I got to see a friend win silver in the velodrome, I got to see many of my old swimming teammates, the Olympic Village, the passion behind the sports. It was incredible and I left with a renewed quest to return to the Paralympics as an athlete. Paratriathlon debuts as a Paralympic sport in Rio in 2016 and even though it’s 4 long and short years away, it’s on the radar. But year-by-year we’ll go. It is after all, all about the love of the sport.

From London I got to see my family for a long Labor Day weekend. My parents, my sisters family, it’s always a good time. For those that know my sister, she is due with #5! in a month. I’m tired just thinking about it and she should be nominated for mom of the year. Every year. Along with my mom of course!

In between the racing and the training, there’s been some motivational speaking and yes, I still work. I get that question often. But Scheck and Siress continues to be supportive, allowing me to continue what I’m passionate about. I couldn’t be more thankful.

In ultra importance, Jake turned 5 last week. For his birthday we celebrated by leaving the door open to the treats and he got 30 milkbones, the cardboard box they came in and a packet of hot chocolate for his birthday. It was his best birthday ever. Until the next day. But he, of course, continues to be the best, most loving, spoiled service dog that ever lived. Too bad I can’t add his frequent flier miles to mine. And yes, he can still bring me my crutches!

The next big event is Paratriathlon Worlds and I’ll try (don’t hold your breath) to write about the race and the results soon after. Most of us are staying for a week after to travel and I can’t wait to see the beauty of New Zealand and find the Shire of course!

So there we are, the adventures I feel lucky enough to call life. And a summer well spent.

Until next time, stay cool (or warm), keep loving America, and PEACE OUT!