During the beginning of my senior year of college I was filled with emotions. Of course because it was my LAST year of school (so I thought) but because I knew I would finish school (Transylvania University, Lexington, KY) with a great liberal arts education and 4-years of competitive swimming. Because I almost didn't swim my senior year because I was so burnt out from swimming, I ran cross country my senior year but didn't feel happy. I had so many amazing memories from swimming and I felt like the swim team was my family. As much as I spent the whole summer before Senior year dreading the upcoming season of jumping into the pool every mwf at 5am and then going back for daily afternoon practices from 3:30-6 and then going to sat. morning swim from 7-10, I knew I wanted to be with my family. I wasn't in a sorority in college but I felt like my team was my combined fraternity and sorority. Luckily, I decided to swim and had an amazing season and I graduated college with a great fulfillment that I stuck it out and swam. Not only stuck it out just to finish the season but I enjoyed every swim practice and never complained.
I remember having many "Last" moments during my senior year.
This is my last first swim practice.
This is my last first meet.
This is my last swim practice.
This is my last race.
This is my last nationals.
This is my last banquet.
This is my only senior banquet.
I think I had a "last" comment for everything but it was a happy, yet sad, time in my life.
Now I am moving on once again. However, triathlons have given me many memories that I will never forget. The best part is that I don't feel like any one time is my last. I know I will see people again, I know we will all train together and I know there are no endings to what we love to do. I guess after 4-competitive years of swimming, a college athlete is ready to say "good-bye". However, I have so many great memories and I am fortunate to have many great friends in my life to share them with. Karel and I have been so lucky to find each other through our sports and the best part is that we have the same friends. Even if some people do only triathlons and some people
do cycling races, we all find joy in training together, socializing and just having fun. Life is just a lot sweeter with good friends and I am really going to miss all the great people that have come in my life during the past couple of years.
Last night Karel and I did the Wed. night ride with the Gearlinkers. Gotta love those crazy fast rides. I think I was barely hanging on around 26-28mph and after 2 loops (3 mile loop, no stopping, all right turns) of warm-up I hung on for 3 more loops (out of 6). My cornering skills are just awful so as I would keep getting dropped I would have a guy or two try to pull me back into the group. I was barely hanging on for all the loops. After I got dropped I rode by myself. This ride is just one of those rides were you just hang on until you get dropped or can't take it anymore (for those who are rotating). I think around 30 people start the ride and the final sprint is around 15-20 people. Tough stuff! I saw Blair Lahaye (PR at Ironman) walking on the sidewalk so I thought chatting with blair as I pedaled around 4mph was a perfect end to my workout. After we talked for about a mile (so it seemed) I headed to the long stretch of road so I could watch the guys (and Celia D.) sprint to the finish. I love watching them and it is unbelievable seeing how fast they go. I guess Karel wasn't going to finish his "last wed ride" without making the guys work a little harder than normal so I see Karel and Spencer Smith (Pro triathlete, you may know him as the one with the Pink Planet X bike) and Frank Lopez (pro cyclist) sprinting together. Oh Karel...going out for the win. I catch up with Karel after a cool-down and the first thing he says "I can't wait for some wings and a beer." Sounds like the Czech boy was ready to celebrate. We had a great group of people (more than we thought) join us for dinner at the Varsity Club. This spot is very special to Karel and I (not because they serve good wings and beer to the cyclists) but this is where Karel and I met after the group ride. We met on May 31st, 2006 (my b-day) 2 years ago so we thought this was an appropriate place to say our "see ya later, until the wedding" to everyone. Because a few of the Gearlinkers decided to hook-up Karel and I , we couldn't be more thankful that we have such great friends in our life.
This morning, another great swim and the last swim of my taper. I practiced in my Zoot speed suit (LOVE IT!!!) and felt amazing. It took me a while to warm-up (again, it was a little cold) but I was ready to work hard and get some good rest in between sets.
2 sets: 4 x 200's. I took around 45 sec - 90 sec rest. I pretty much went when I felt like my HR was down. The first 4 went 50 pace, 100 hard, 50 pace. I also descended each 200. My times were:
2:45, 2:43, 2:41, 2:39.
The next 4 were build within each 200. My times were:
2:41, 2:41, 2:39, 2:36.
Time to take another pic!!!
I am really going to miss my fabulous swim team. Gay, tony, lee, barb, jerry, john, leo, dave, derek, eric, art, jill, tracy....everyone!!! Coach Matt Hess just wants us all to have fun and enjoy swimming. He loves pushing us and I guess it works. Everyone has improved within the past season. There is a lot of sarcasm in the pool and it makes me laugh so hard in between sets. No one complains about the sets...we just laugh cause Matt makes fun of everyone..and we all take it ;)
After the swim I was surprised by a beautiful fruit display in the lobby. Derek...you are awesome!!! Thank you so much. Jerry gave Karel a nice bottle of wine and I guess my friends really do know me....I would much rather prefer fruit than cake, cookies or some kind of sweet for a going-away party in the lobby of the Y.
Thank you all for lots of great early morning swims :) Even if my bed was nice and warm, I wouldn't want to be anywhere else (swimming that is) than with the Swim Fit at Palm Harbor Y at 5:30am on tues/thurs.