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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!