USA Triathlon National Championships

This weekend I went to Milwaukee to watch my friend Allison compete in the
USA Olympic Distance Triathlon National Championships. She raced a Sprint Triathlon (shorter) in the past year, got a time good enough to qualify for the national competition, and thought why not.

Friday night the enormity of the situation hit her as she frantically re-watched the webinar to know where to put stickers, what time to get there, and what not to do. Stuff that’s okay in other races, like drafting behind other cyclists or throwing used Gu packets on the ground, will get you penalized or disqualified. It’s a lot to remember.IMG_3739

We got up at 5:30am Saturday to make sure we got her checked in by 7:30am, which was required. Unfortunately her age group didn’t start until 9:50am, so we did a lot of waiting around.

The pride of Waterloo, Iowa.

We watched a lot of the early waves from this hill.

It was pretty exciting to watch each wave, wearing different colored swim caps and released every seven minutes. But for those of us racing in the triathon, it was a bit stressful. Allison had nothing to do but develop anticipation anxiety for over three hours.

I wanted to take advantage of the beautiful location so I took off on a run a little after 8am. I ran along the waterfront, which just so happened to be the beginning of the cycling route. So I got to run next to the early wave cyclists.IMG_3759

And I got to look at views of Lake Michigan like this.IMG_3760

I ran to the cycling turn around (a little over three miles away), then ran back.IMG_3763

When I got closer to the triathlon I noticed some athletes had already started the run, and they were running right where I had run out.IMG_3765

I crossed the street so I could run next to them, which was pretty thrilling. These were the first people in their age groups and they were fast.IMG_3766

I got back to the triathlon start just after 9:50am, so I was worried I’d missed Allison’s start, but thankfully for me (not for her), her group’s start was delayed.IMG_3767

The yellow hat 30-34 females were sitting there until around 10am, when they finally got the okay to jump in and prepare to start.IMG_3769

At 10:04am they were off!IMG_3770

Allison is somewhere in here; everyone looked the same to me–wet suits and yellow hats.IMG_3771


While I was watching our friend Katie and Allison’s cousin Libby and her husband Jeff joined me on the hill. Jeff was awesome at spotting Allison, and we cheered for her getting out of water after about a 30 minute swim.IMG_3779


We tried to see her as she transitioned and biked away, but she was too fast. We did see her again after about 6 miles of biking, although I wasn’t quick enough with my camera to get more than her in the distance.IMG_3783

We walked around a bit then set up near the end of the bike route, not really sure how long it would take her to bike 25 miles. While we waited I saw a lot of cyclists with really fancy equipment who were really fast.IMG_3784

This woman must have gotten a flat or had some other problem with her bike, because she ran with it, barefoot. She got a big cheer from the crowd. How inspiring.IMG_3785

Our spot at the corner didn’t allow us a lot of warning time, but again, we spotted Allison!IMG_3786




And then we hurried to the transition area to get a good spot to see her leave for her 6.2 mile run. And again, we were able to spot her. I had no idea we’d be able to see her so much. Our friend Bob joined us for the bike and run viewings (he’s on the left in the first pic), so having five of us on the lookout was really helpful.IMG_3789



We guessed she’d finish the 10k in around 50 minutes, so we set up near the finish accordingly. She killed the run, her best event, and finished in just over 49 minutes, faster than 8 minutes per mile. She sprinted the very end, so I could only get pictures of her flying past us. She’s on the left in the black.IMG_3792


And then she could relax with her bling.IMG_3797

Here’s team Alibaby! Me, Katie, Allison, Jeff, Bob, and Libby.IMG_3804

I’ve never been to a triathlon, so for my first one to be one of this caliber was incredible. The fastest athletes become part of Team USA and compete in the world championships. I saw a bunch of athletes in USA spandex tri suits. I loved spectating this event!


3 responses to “USA Triathlon National Championships

  1. Wow! What a cool event! Good job, Allison!

  2. Sounds like a lot of fun, and it looks like you had good weather! Great photos, Nora 🙂 Aunt Aline

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