There are a few triathlon legends swimming in the Dynamo pool. Check out Lane 8 and you might catch a glimpse of Betty Janelle, the 1996 Women’s Overall Age Group National Champion. And that guy one lane down? That’s Jason Schott; he took the men’s title in 2008.
So when I traveled to Burlington, Vermont last weekend for the 2012 USAT Age Group National Championship, I had one thought in mind:
I want in that club!
A couple weeks ago Coach Diablo suggested I race an Olympic Distance triathlon to clear out some of the cobwebs prior to Vegas and Hawaii. I did not take this news well.
Thinking I had Diablo beat, I told him I’d sign up for the USAT Age Group Nationals wait list. The race had sold out months before and I just knew there was no way I was getting in.
WRONG! Within 24 hours I was officially registered to race in Burlington. Blasted you Diablo! Why do you ALWAYS WIN?!??!
Things started falling into place and I actually started getting excited. Maybe the Olympics were to blame, but a short course race actually sounded kind of fun! And by the time race day came around, I couldn’t wait to see what kind of 1500 meter swim, 40k bike, and 10k run I could string together.
Burlington was also a surprisingly cool city! The town is right on a lake, has a really nice downtown marketplace, and there were people on bikes EVERYWHERE! My kind of place!
It was also my kind of race. Nice choppy swim, windy bike, and one GIANT hill on the run. Heaven in 51.5 kilometers.
My day was made before the gun even went off. Somehow blog reader Erin from DC recognized me while we were treading water before the start. (Maybe I really do look like a mongoose?!) She even said she liked my drawings! What a nice start to the day! Thanks Erin!
I enjoyed the swim even more than usual. The course was choppy with lots of turns that really forced me to focus on sighting and making sure my breathing was perfectly timed. Definitely not a typical lake swim.
The bike course was gorgeous rolling hills. Not having done an Olympic Distance race in nearly two years, I was a little unsure of my pacing, but I just figured harder was better and the new Blue rode like a dream.
My friend Al had warned me about the “beast” of a hill at the start of the run. Running uphill kind of reminds me of swimming a 400 IM – occasionally I can pull it off. And lucky for me, Saturday was one of those days. The beast felt like a speed bump and it was all downhill (literally) after that!
Once across the finish line I was greeted by none other than one of those Dynamo legends – Betty Janelle! Betty, her husband Ernie, and nephew Noah were racing the Sprint tri on Sunday but still came out to cheer for us Olympic Distance people. How cool is that? Noah even got this shot of me crossing the finish line! No photoshop here folks – that knee lift is REAL!
Because of the wave start we weren’t sure how I’d placed, but we knew I’d had a race worth celebrating. And once my 2:05:40 was declared official, it was a really great feeling to know I had done it!
National Champs that swim at Dynamo: Betty Janelle, Jason Schott, Haley Chura
I’m in the club! And likely not the last. Come on GREEN, who’s next?!