At the age of 10, I started swimming for a local YMCA swim team. As the years went on, through High School and then into College, I continued to swim competitively. As a competitive swimmer, we would travel a lot for swim meets. Sometimes the meets were in exciting locations like DC, Chicago, Indianapolis and Florida, whereas other times, they were in small, quiet towns. Regardless of the swim meet location, I always loved the experience of racing. Traveling to a new location, staying in a hotel and then arriving to a new natatorium. I actually enjoyed the car/bus/van ride to a swim meet because it meant that it was time to compete. When I walked into the natatorium, I loved the smell of chlorine and being surprised by what the pool would look like. The bleachers, the locker rooms, the warm-up/warm-down pool, the team area...it was all so exciting for me. To be honest, sometimes I looked forward to the meet experience more than the meet itself, which helped me remain calm and collected before a race.
To this day, I still love the race experience. I believe this is the main reason why I continue to train and race as a triathlete. Although the training is very challenging on the body and mind and it is never easy to put in the work, day in and day out when there are so many distractions and excuses to "not train today", I always remind myself of the upcoming race experience. Feeling prepared for a race is a great feeling and I find myself enjoying the race experience so much more when I can look back at all the hard work behind me.
Although race-cations are not inexpensive, the race experience brings so much value to my life. The race experience keeps me motivated and excited to train and race. I often ask myself why I continue to train and race after so many years of being a competitive athlete (swimmer, turned runner, turned triathlete) and the "race experience" is what keeps me going. This is the main reason why I choose race-cations. Every race-cation provides me with a unique race experience to see new sights, to experience a new community and to meet new people. The race experience makes me excited to train because come race week, I get to travel to a different location. And even if I have been to the location before, it still get excited to return to a venue that is beautiful and familiar. And unlike my competitive swimming days, now I get to choose the race location where we/I race and I get to share the experience with Karel (and often with my Trimarni athletes/teammates).
In just a few hours, we will be boarding an airplane to Las Vegas (from Charlotte) and then picking up the rental car (mini van) to drive to St. George. Like always, traveling with our bikes is stressful but it will all be worth it. We have traveled by plane with our bikes over a dozen times so we know what to expect. Karel and I have never been to St. George before and we are looking forward to the new sights. This race has been on our bucket list for many years and we feel so lucky that we can finally experience this challenging and beautiful course. When we arrive to St. George this evening, we are staying in a hotel for one night before checking into our rental home on Wed afternoon. I booked two large rental homes to accommodate our 12 Trimarnis that are racing in St. George with us. On Wed, Karel and I will ride on the bike course (as much as we can) and then meet up with our athletes (and my mom). On Thursday, we can pick up our packets, explore the expo and swim in the lake. And then there is dropping off our bikes, attending the athlete meeting and of course, race day! There is so much to look forward to and I can't wait for this upcoming race experience. This race is many years in the making and I can't believe that the time is finally here!
St. George.....here we come!!