Story Index:

IRONMAN Wisconsin, My Cinderella Story
09/20/2018

IRONMAN Boulder, Coming in Hot
09/20/2018

IRONMAN Texas: Everything's Bigger in Texas (except the Ironman bike course)
05/01/2018

Uphill Both Ways (Oceanside Race Report)
04/16/2018

The Things We Deserve
03/06/2018

When Life Gives You Lemons... IM 70.3 Santa Cruz and IM 70.3 Boulder (sort of)
09/23/2017

The DNF Strikes Back
07/11/2017

Oops, I Did An IM
06/16/2017

IRONMAN 70.3 Santa Rosa
05/22/2017

IRONMAN Oceanside 70.3
05/19/2017

December in the Desert: HITS Palm Springs 70.3
12/07/2016

The Coolest Prize I've Ever Won
10/26/2016

Running With the Big Dogs
07/23/2016

The Inaugural Wisconsin Milkman 70.3 Triathlon
07/04/2016

Early Season Ups & Downs
06/28/2016

XTERRA Real Granite Bay
04/11/2016

Urbanathlon, Where You Been All My Life?!
11/25/2015

The Top 17 Reasons You Should Have Been at Scott Tinley's
10/21/2015

Rock & Roll Half Marathon
10/04/2015

Ironman 70.3 Santa Cruz
09/23/2015

This Seems Like a lot of Work for a Free Banana
09/01/2015

Sometimes the Best Race is the One I Didn't Win
08/03/2015

Tales of a Swim Meet Rookie
08/01/2015

Victory at the California International Triathlon
06/30/2015

Wildflower Will Show You What You're Made Of
05/07/2015

Mama Didn't Raise No Quitter
04/22/2015

HITS Napa Half, 5 (Plus) Hours of Fun
04/17/2015

Off-Roading: My Trail Run Debut
04/04/2015

Lake Tahoe Marathon Weekend
09/16/2014

Farewell to Madison
09/09/2014

Being Comfortable With Discomfort
08/18/2014

Wildflower 2012, Team Goodell
06/09/2012

USA Triathlon National Championships
10/02/2011

How About a Road Race?
08/06/2011

Tri-Ing for Children
07/25/2011

The Women's Sprint Triathlon - Where it All Began
07/12/2011

Defending the Title in Pleasant Prairie
06/27/2011

Capitol View Triathlon
06/13/2011

Tri Club Party in Madison
04/10/2011

Be A Better Runner
03/28/2011

Hello, Felt
03/20/2011

I'm Going With You
01/03/2011

2009 Triathlon World Championships
09/12/2009

Kim completes her first Half-Ironman
06/10/2008

Kim Visits Home for Wildflower Triathlon
05/16/2008

Kim Blazes Chicago Triathlon
08/27/2007

More Triathlons for Kim
06/15/2006

Kim in Chicago Triathlon
08/31/2005

Kim graduates from Willamette
06/17/2002

Kim returns from Europe
02/02/2001

Kim Travels Europe
11/24/2000
USA Triathlon National Championships

At the end of a pretty strong race season locally this year, it was time to raise the stakes and line up against elite athletes from across the country, at the USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships in Burlington, Vermont.

I've competed at Nationals in prior years, so I've gotten past the sheer intimidation of showing up at the kind of race where the average bike is worth about $3,000...
But there's definitely a different vibe at an event where everyone is out to win.

Most of the races I participate in have a surprisingly diverse cross-section of the population. Kids can do it. Grandma can do it. Ex-smokers, former couch potatoes, cancer survivors will all finish victorious. People who loathe running, people who "can't swim," people who flunked high school P.E. will tackle the challenge. People with only one leg will be out there too. Indeed, it's the unconventional candidates that get the most attention…and the longest applause at the finish line. To me this is something essential to the spirit of triathlon – the idea that there's more than one way to "win."
I love the adventurous and celebratory atmosphere, the wacky motivational posters along the course ("Swim, Bike, Run, BEER!"), the herd of friends & family all wearing festive matching shirts that say "Team ANNE!" and the occasional participant galloping by in a leopard print Speedo with "Single" written down his calf in permanent marker.

One might think that throwing together 1500 men and women who've all grown accustomed to being The Winner could get ugly...

But I was grateful to find the same camaraderie and courtesy amongst the women at Nationals that is typical of local races back home (minus some of the goofiness). The atmosphere in the Transition Area early in the morning was neighborly and buzzing with excitement. The women sharing my rack swapped transition tips, complimented one other's bikes (which is akin to being complimented on the cuteness of your puppy or the brilliance of your toddler), and wished each other luck on the way out. I was thrilled to see so many friends and familiar faces from Chicago and Madison. As my wave gathered at the start together, splashing and bobbing next to the boat dock waiting for the final countdown, I heard laughter and joking, a few women calling out, "sorry in advance if I accidentally kick anyone!"

The bike course was very crowded, but I was so focused that I barely remember any of the Burlington scenery swirling past and I was a little surprised to find myself back downtown so soon! I could tell my race was going well when I reached T2 and found the Transition Area mostly empty. A solitary bike dangled from the rack here or there, but the rest of them were still behind me.

The run started with what the race organizers referred to as "a significant hill," a phrase obviously meant to let us down gently - don't expect any 10K PRs on this course! Within that context, I suppose I can consider it "a significant achievement" that my 10K time was only one second behind my fastest-ever 10K (which was on a flat course, naturally).
I ran hard. I ran like it was my last race of the season, and even though it hurts to run your fastest, I felt lucky just to have the ability to run fast - painful but exhilarating.
It was impossible to know how many women were ahead of me, but with the goal of breaking my own 10K record (hill or no hill!) I had my own motivation to keep digging in.

Halfway through the run, I was passed by someone in my division, a local from Madison! She slipped me a few words of encouragement, and then pushed ahead. Instead of feeling frustrated at being outrun, I was grateful to have such close competition at this race. It makes the race more meaningful, and gives clarity to the goals still to come.

I finished strong and ended up with 5th place in my age group, which earned me a spot on the Nationals podium during the awards ceremony! When I talked to my coach after the race, she said, "5th place! Did you bring a dress?"

Why yes, yes I did. Obviously, my podium dress and my acceptance speech were ready... *just in case*

Well, Ok. There wasn't actually a speech. But my finish also qualified me for the 2012 World Championships in New Zealand, so there will certainly be more adventures to come!


Posted by kim 10/02/2011, revised 10/02/2011 by kim
FreeStyle Journal 19.03.21
©2003-2011 by Dan Goodell

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