I have a little soft spot for this race. This was my first triathlon ever in 2001. I was a newbie who borrowed a bike, put on bike gloves, fretted over getting lost and just wanted to try something new since graduating from college.
I never thought that this one event would "have me at hello". I remember watching the elite wave, idolizing the winner, and someday wanting to be like them. I made it a goal of mine to one day win this race. I raced elite the following year, and the one after that, and every year until 2008. Each year hoping it would be "the year". I trained on the only hill on the run over and over knowing every crack and rivet on it since it was my weakest portion in the race. I looked up to all those girls that would win and just someday dreamed it would be me.
I cracked the top 10, I had flat tires, I was 3rd, I was 2nd.....
My first race there being a 1:24 (I think) and my fastest being 1:05, but never being the overall winner.
Eventually Lake Stevens 70.3 started falling on the same weekend so I was cheering my heart out for TNM athletes racing there. This year, however, LS moved up a month and my lifelong friend, Rebecca, messaged that she was going to do Danskin as her first triathlon and that sealed the deal for me. I signed up immediately.
I went into this race with a ton of worry. My UC had started flaring up the week prior and I had a doctors appointment on Wednesday and was told if I raced this could be my last race in a long while. I only swam the week leading up, as that has the least amount of stress on my gut and was left resting, A LOT. I chose to race on Saturday morning knowing that this just may be my first and last race ever. Figured if I couldn't race this one I wouldn't be able to race the upcoming ones thereafter, so I went for it! I wanted to fulfill my bucket list goal.
Sunday arrived and I was calm, yet nervous with my gut issues. I prayed it would hold up for a little over an hour...that was all I was asking.
I was excited to have my mom and my in-laws and Mark there to watch. They were able to watch the entire swim, even seeing me stop and "look" for the buoys. It can be tough to site with kayaks in front of them. But needless to say it was a smooth swim. I popped out of the water with a 1:30 lead swimming the half a mile in a little over 10 minutes.
As I mounted the bike (smoother than LS I might add) the motorcyclist was waiting. I had been in this spot many times before and just hoped that the ride would go smoothly. Mark had gotten me a Zipp Disc for my birthday and I was excited to finally have the opportunity to ride the wheel. My specialized Shiv road flawlessly and my Cyclops kept me honest. The goal was to keep the power as high as possible. I sipped on powerbar perform and had a Powergel midway through the ride back into Genesee Park. The course was 11.5 miles (30:52)
The run was flat and fast and 3 miles even. The out and back on Lake Washington Blvd was also lead by a motorcycle. I hit the hill that I had trained on many times over and remembered how to run it and still have my legs for a final push to the chute. It was fun to have an escort and to have it all the way to the finish line. (21:25). Finishing in 1:04.42.
It has taken me 11 years to finally cross that tape in first. I was so relived, so happy, and reminded of just how far I have come since that first race in 2001.
|With 2nd place Maddie Graham, 19 years old, whose mom has won Danskin too! She is going to go very far in this sport!|
There are several girls out there in the same boat as me, doing Danskin for the first time and dreaming big. My friend Rebecca smiled her way into the finish line and it was so great to share this day with her. Keep dreaming and believing!