On Saturday I went into Chicago to meet up with some of my athletes for a swim. Kate arrived first. She was in town with her boyfriend, pro super swimmer John Kenny. Kate is one of the most smiley people I have ever met. It is always a pleasure to see her. And Saturday the pleasure was all mine because I got to swim with her! Understand that Kate is an open water national champion. One of those people whose names you see in the USMS magazine….she’s just that silly fast in the water. Myself swimming in a full wetsuit was nearly as fast as Kate swimming in her swimsuit. And when I say nearly I mean, I could put my head up and nearly see her but I was still back from her feet.
Then I met up with the STL boys. We did some swimming – sadly more than Michael bargained for – but he and Tommy did a great job of staying with me and playing my games (you will follow my feet and I will switch up the pace but not tell you when). They loved that for sure.
All this time Chris was swimming in the lake. Poor guy. Training for Kona. Never can stop swimming, biking or running. Afterwards we headed over to the expo. A mass of triathletes! Standing at the front entrance who walks by – Leslie Curley doing a super secret fly by in Chicago. I made her stop and talk to me. She can’t sneak into my city without me noticing.
JB also stayed at our house for the race. As we drove home from the city we asked JB to take Boss out. Three phone calls later we convinced JB that Boss likes to poop in the field, and yes you need to pick up that poop, and no he shouldn’t eat the garbage food that someone keeps tossing into the field, and yes it’s totally normal for him to pee on the neighbor kid.
Sunday morning I headed back down to the city. For the fourth day in a row. Let me say that I now have a raging case of road rage. So much so that I am off the city for at least a few weeks. I can’t take it anymore. 30 miles becomes over 60 minutes of weaving through construction barricades, lanes ending and praying that you don’t miss the sign and find yourself stuck in the express lane.
But Sunday morning isn’t so bad for traffic. And when you’ve driven nearly 300 miles in 4 days what’s another 30. I walked over to the race to find Michael fired up to catch Tommy. The math was impossible (how do you make up 30 minutes) but I admire his drive nonetheless. Then I cheered on the triathletes. Most of them were sprint competitors but then came the elite amateur wave.
The men came by first. I didn’t recognize many except for Eric who was hauling all living ass with something ridiculous like a 34 minute 10K. Slow down! You’ll hurt yourself! Then the women came by. WOO HOO! I saw so many that I recognized. So many that a woman standing next to me said “Are their names on their bibs?” I said no and she said “Then how do you know all their names?” I used to be an elite amateur and I’d be damned if I didn’t know the names, strengths and weaknesses of everyone I raced against! I know who they are! The only one I didn’t know was the one at mile 5.5 that nearly ran up to me and said “Are you Elizabeth?” I am! I was! Who were you? And how the heck did you have enough air to ask me that as you ran by?
Afterwards I talked with friends. Here is the elite amateur winner – Elizabeth Ott or the force formerly known as Liz Attig. F30-34 at nationals – watch out! Lizzie is on fire right now. We are also with Leslie Curley who tried to fly under my Chicago radar. Again, that is impossible Leslie.
Below you will see Jen Harrison. Not the day she wanted because she decided to ride through – instead of around – the sand trap at mile 18. Just kidding, Jen. Rode in on a flat for over 6 miles and still ran out in the top 20. Look at her run - does anything slow her down?
Now because I love Jennifer and love taking pictures of her eating junk food I snapped this one after the race. That would be a “real” Pepsi and a hamburger on a white bun. The banana peel on her plate - just for looks.
Here is Jen helping first year pro – former age group phenom – new baby mama - Jennifer Garrison getting into her wetsuit. No – Jennifer Harrison is not the same person or misspelling of Jennifer Garrison. Now, ladies, I want to point out that Jenny just had a baby 5 months ago! How many women hop into a professional race 5 months after giving birth!
Here is one of the women that Jenny was up against. Actually she exited the swim right behind her. You might recognize this wonder woman world champion.
All in all it was a great weekend where I got to see the sport from the other side. Coaching kids, being with my athletes, spectating. As I watched the athletes running down the lakefront path I’ve got to admit I got the itch to get out there and run. To get caught up in the race, pushing through the pain, digging deep at the last moment to find something you didn’t know that you had. Perhaps everyone should spend a weekend seeing the sport from the other