This past weekend was spent in St. Louis and although I was very busy, I had a great time.
The trip began with getting to spend a little time with family on Thursday night. Friday morning, I was up early to fit in a three hour ride and a 30 minute transition run. Surprisingly, the temperatures were very cool for early September, but I definately won't complain about that!
I got a chance to ride with some friends out in Chesterfield and rode a loop that begins out by the Spirit of St. Louis Airport at the ShowMe Cables office, heads south down to Six Flags and back up through Rockwood Reservations. It is a great loop with lots of steep climbs and quite country roads with very little traffic.
After the ride, I headed over to Bellerive Elementary (Parkway School District) to speak to the school about my experiences in China and how to prepare for tests. I explained to the kids how I prepare for a triathlon is very similar to how they would prepare for a big test (the kids are taking standardized tests this week). My cousin, Jami DeBosch, is the administrative intern for Bellerive and asked me a few weeks ago to speak with the students. I had a great time interacting with the kids and answering their questions. Kids will always put a smile to your face..and have to mention that when Jami told the kids an Olympian was coming to speak with them, some kids assumed it was Michael Phelps! When they found out a women was coming, they then deducted that Micheal Phelp's wife was coming!!
After the school presentation, I headed over to Parkway South for their opening home football game. I was very honored to be presented at half-time with a special recognition and a my uniform retirement. Nate escorted me down onto the field, while the band was playing the Olympic theme song. It was great to see former principals, teachers, coaches and students ( I had coached many of the students at South now while they were participating five years ago in Big Bend Woods swimming and attending Hanna Woods Elementary) Wow--kids sure do change a lot in five years! I really appreciate all the work the district and school put forth in making the night special.
On Saturday, I got in a long run at Quenny Park and then headed down to Saint Louis University's campus for a wedding. My cousin, Brooke, and her husband Ron were married on a gorgeous afternoon and everything went off with a bang. We had a great time at the wedding visiting with family.
On Sunday, the day began with a free breakfest open to the community at the High Ridge Fire Department. We were also holding a silent auction for the charities I support, Jenny's Light and Train for Autism. It was great to see so many people in the community come out to support the charities and enjoy a pancake breakfest. I was able to auction off many items from Beijing and some gear from my sponsors. We were able to end the auction with a generous donation for my charities---thankyou all for your support!
Immediately after the breakfest, we headed over to Busch Stadium for the Cards game. This was a special day at the stadium because it was "Buddy Walk" day at the ballpark. Children with down-syndrome got the opportunity to walk to field prior to the start of the game. A friend of the family, McKensie (age 10), asked me to walk with her on the field. I also got the opportunity to throw out the first pitch of the game! I have never really played baseball before, so I have to say I was a little nervous about my performance!! Fortunately, I made it to the plate; however, not over the plate----the ball hit the dirt, about a foot to the left! All in all, it was a great experience and the day turned out even better since the Cards won!! After the game, I managed to sneak in a swim with Nate at the Lodge in Des Peres.
On Monday, I had one final activity before heading back to Colorado that night. I got the opportunity to speak with another school, but this time out in Jefferson County at Maple Groves Elementary (this is where my brother is currenty student teaching for PE). I got to speak for about an hour to the older students and roughly 45 min to the younger students.
Nate and I were able to train in the afternoon, before catching a flight back to Denver later that evening.
Now I am back in Colorado Springs and training hard for the remainder of the season. I leave in week for Portland, Oregon to compete at Elite Nationals.
Thank you to everyone for your support through the games and beyond!