Swim. Bike. Run. Remember. The Lakeside Triathlon was established in memory of Rodney Miller, a beloved member of the Decatur community, and has been running for 9 years now. I am extremely passionate about combining margin and mission, so I was honored to be a part of a race that honors Rodney and his commitment to the local community by bringing people together while also offering a pretty nice little prize purse for the elite triathletes who come to toe the line! It’s obviously great to earn money, but much more meaningful to be part of something greater!
As I made my way down I-57 from Chicago to Decatur – the soybean capital of the world! – I could feel butterflies starting to stir. Doesn’t matter what race I’m competing in, I’m always just as nervous as I was before my first tri. I am lucky to have worked with a sports psychologist in high school for skating, which is just as useful in my life as a triathlete! I definitely apply my work with Dr. Jack, not only leading up to and during races, but also on a daily basis in my training.
Being the (over-) thinker that I am, I have found that often the key for me is to keep my mind OFF of racing leading up to the big day, and I had the perfect distraction this weekend: HONEY! I was lucky enough to stay with a friend’s aunt and uncle, who live just minutes from the race course. It turns out that my friend’s uncle raises bees/makes honey in his spare time, and he was in the process of harvesting when I arrived after my pre-race workouts. I got to learn all about the process of honey making and even help “uncap” the frames to prepare them for spinning/honey extraction (for honey-making process, here is a good description). I also learned lots of fun facts about bees! For example, did you know that when bees are searching for a new hive site, long story short, they’ll send “scouts” out who will find potential sites and then come back to the swarm and do a “waggle” dance to indicate the caliber of site that they found (the more fervor of the dance, the better the site)? The bees will choose the site that got the most excited waggle dance from the most scouts!
Anyhow, it was early to bed for me with a 4:20am wake-up on race morning. INSANE thunderstorms on Saturday night cleared the way for perfect weather on race morning. I walked out to my car to hear the rooster crowing and rays of sun peaking out from the horizon. It was a great morning to go fast!
I arrived at transition nice and early, leaving time to set up my equipment and get in a good warm-up: first biking, then running, and last but not least, swimming. Coach and I have been working on a pre-race routine that keeps me primed and ready to kick into gear when the starting horn blows, and we’ve made good progress in that department. However, I didn’t get out quite fast enough and missed the lead pack. As I found my rhythm, I was able to leave the main pack behind and at least hold the initial gap between the lead swimmers and myself.
Looking at the results, I seem to have taken a joy walk through T1, but I got back on it once I was on my bike. While there was a short technical portion to the ride, the majority was an awesome, open out and back on a local highway – corn and soy fields all the way!
Perhaps the highlight of the race for me was the run – I have been working with Kim Whitney on alignment issues and with my Coach to gradually introduce a bit more intensity in my running, and to see that work beginning to pay off in races a bit more each time I go out there is exciting. The many cheering spectators on the sidelines only helped motivate me through the closing miles of the race! It also always helps to have speedy competition, and Jackie Hering, Jennifer Garrison, and Lauren Jensen had me putting the pedal to the medal to finish where I did (2nd overall, see here for full results). I know I have more speed in me in the swim, bike, and run, but Sunday’s effort was a step in the right direction and a great opportunity to gather additional data leading up to Age Group Nationals.
To wrap up, I want to give a huge shout out to Gene Mueller, the Miller Family, and all of the volunteers who made Lakeside an amazing event to race in from start to finish. There were so many smiles and cheers, and on the logistical side, packet pick-up, course signage, and aid stations were incredibly well done. I’m already looking forward to next year!
Thank you also to Coach Greg Mueller, Team IE, and Kim Whitney for getting me race ready, to First Endurance for helping with nutrition leading up to and on race day, to Northeast Site Contractors for supporting my training and race expenses, and to my amazing family, fiancé, and friends who were cheering me on from home. While it’s me racing out there, I am by no means alone!
Next on the agenda, moving to South Bend (the land of Team IE)!