Last weekend prior to my race (we’ll get to that soon!) I had the pleasure of coaching the UVA Triathlon team at collegiate nationals. I met this great group last fall and I have been so excited as I looked forward to nationals. I’ve written before about what the tri club was for me in college, and I wanted to make sure that if nothing else I was a reliable resource for the team. Whether they just wanted some advice on what races are fun, they actually wanted structured workouts, or they just wanted to chat about life – I wanted to be there for them. Over the past few months I got to know a handful of them pretty well, and they made up the core group of ten athletes headed to Tempe.
On one hand, standing in the hot sun for 2 days prior to my own race was probably not the best idea for setting myself up for success. On the other hand, however, those two days gave me more motivation than a little bit of sun could have ever sucked out of me. On Friday I was witness to the first draft legal college race. I may have even sent coach a text probing to see if she thought I’d ever survive an ITU race…..needless to say, we decided that’s probably not the route for me 🙂 Either way, it looked FUN! One of my rock stars, Lauren, did amazing: swimming with the pack, blowing through T1 to have girls to ride with, then making it a race on the run. And she had a smile on her face this whole time – which is even more amazing when you consider I was asking her to race again in the 90 degree heat a day later!
On Saturday everyone got to shine. It was a full day of racing (7:30 – 5:30 between the men’s, women’s, and relays) and the land around Tempe Lake was packed the whole time. It really doesn’t get much better than watching college kids be excited for something. Costumes and cheers abound, if you are looking for a reason to have fun in this sport I assure you that you need not look further than some of these college teams!
I highly encourage you to reach out to a local college team if you have one in the area and go for a swim or ride with them. These kids are AMAZING and really help keep things in perspective. I am already excited for next year!