I have now been back in Colorado for a couple days and have been catching up on emails and getting back into my last block of training for the 2008 race season!
I was gone for a full week with traveling to Dallas, racing last Sunday, traveling to Washington D.C. on Monday, traveling to Las Vegas on Tuesday and finally one last plane trip back to the Springs on Wednesday.
My trip began with race preparations for Dallas---checking out the course, working at the Toyota booth in the expo and enjoying time with family who came down to Dallas to watch.
The race began at 7:50AM on Sunday morning with a slightly different agenda than normal (when we start just a few minutes behind the Pro Men). This race, we began 10 minutes after the elite ameature women (12 min behind the Pro men and 20 min behind the elite ameature men).
The water temperature was a nice 76 degrees with minimal chop. The swim was straight out, one right turn and straight back. Unfortunately on the way back in to shore, the sun was glaring down onto the water and I could not see a single thing except sun glare. Kayaks were out on the course, but they were not really leading us, just watching us and making sure everyone was doing okay. After several minutes, I stopped and asked a guy on a kayak where to go----I had started swimming off course and he helped me back into shore. I ended up getting out of the water with a 20-25 second gap on the main pack.
This was a goal of mine, especially considering the first 3 miles of the bike ride were in the park and it was very tight and technical section.
I lead through the bike section until around the half-way mark when I saw Lisa Norden and a group of about 5 women riding with her catch up to me. At that point in the race, I focused on sticking near Lisa and not letting her get too far in front. The bike was tough, but I exited in second about 20 seconds down from Lisa.
I started off the run doing the best I could to make up ground, but Lisa is a very quick runner (she just came off a world cup win in France the weekend prior). I felt good on the run and felt like I had a quick cadence. With about two miles to go, I knew that I was not going to catch Lisa, but kept running hard until the finish because I did not know what was going on behind me. The run was an out and back, so we only got to see where competitors were only once, at the half-way mark.
Although it was my goal to repeat my win from 2007, I can't complain with second place. There were many strong women competing at the Toyota Cup Dallas Triathlon this year and I only expect the race to get more and more competitive.
The day after the race, I got the opportunity to travel to Washington D.C. to visit the White House on Tuesday. All the Olympians and Para-Olympians were invited to meet the President and tour the West Wing. The event began with a dinner at the Baltimore Hilton on Monday night and a very early wake up on Tuesday morning. We left promptly at 6:30AM to head to D.C. and with traffic, the commute took 2 hours!! Once we got to the White House grounds and went through security, all of the athletes stood in front of the White House and waited for the President and First Lady to address the crowd. I have to say, I have never met a President before, so it was very exciting to see President Bush and Laura in person. Surprisingly, President Bush was much taller in person than he looks on T.V.! After his speech, I was able to sneak down and get a picture with him! The West Wing was beautiful with an enormous amount of history. The paintings were beautiful (from George Washington to Hilary Clinton) there were so many original paintings. My tour had to be cut short, because at 12:30PM I had a flight to Las Vegas.
The final part of my trip was attending a dealer meeting in Las Vegas for Toyota. The same group I met a few weeks ago in New York was also in Las Vegas (Dara Torres, Culin Jones, Aron Peirsol and Brenden Hansen). Hunter and I joined the swimmers and we met Toyota dealers, took pictures with them and signed autographs. I was a very easy night of work, but by 8:00PM I started getting sleepy (considering I woke at 1:30AM Pacific Time).
I did end up getting to bed by 10:00, so it was not so bad. We also got to stay at the Four Seasons, which is located on the top four floors of Mandalay Bay. Talk about service....and a spectacular view of Vegas from the room.
I have just about two weeks in Colorado before I leave for Mexico. It will be nice to have two weeks in one place!!!