Well, it appears as though September came and went without a single blog post. I don’t want to sound cliché (and I hate being cliché by apologizing for being cliché) but this summer seriously flew by. Exhibit A: I was only able to check three things off my 35-item summer bucket list. Now that’s pathetic.
Even though the rest of the northern hemisphere checked out of summer mode a long time ago, I’m still kind of in it, mainly because I’m still in racing mode. My triathlon season is drawing to a close, with just one more race—the big one in New Zealand—ahead of me. And what a season it’s been.
Before I recap the last couple months, I must preface it with a little anecdote. A few weeks ago, I was in the car with some of my friends from camp, passing around an article in The Onion entitled “I’m Truly Sorry For This, But You’re About To Hear All About The Last Marathon I Ran.” It was basically making fun of the hour-long story that every marathoner loves to tell, complete with mile-by mile updates on one’s hydration levels and cramping status, topped off with “the point around mile 17 when I considered stopping but then decided to keep going.” It was actually a pretty funny piece, especially given the fact I’ve heard this story about 714 times. These days, the number of my Facebook friends who are doing/have done marathons rivals the number of friends who have had a baby in the last year. Between the two of them, my news feed has become an oddly entertaining combination of pictures of infants wearing buttons that say “I’m three months old today!” and statuses claiming the day’s mileage and total time, thanks to Nike Plus. But I digress.
As I was reading said article, I had a great conversation with my friends in the car. The conversation went something like this:
Me: I really hope that the things in my blog don’t come across like this. I don’t want people to think that it’s just one boring recap of race stats that no one cares about.
Friends: (7-second silence)
Me: Are you kidding me? You’re supposed to say, “No, Hailey, of course it doesn’t sound like that!”
Friends: (awkward laughter, followed by more silence)
Me: You guys suck.
This conversation proved to be kind of enlightening for me, as I realized that people probably don’t care about my every emotion during every mile of every race. If you disagree, please let me know and I’ll be happy to give you the play-by-plays. Otherwise, just remain silent and I will interpret your silence in the same way I did theirs.
So here’s the watered down version: I’ve done a lot of races since my last post. Some of them were really fast. Some of them were not that fast. But in all of them, I learned something that made me a smarter, stronger racer. Honestly, just being in a race environment week after week has made me improve, simply because I’m becoming more comfortable with it. My transitions are smoother, my pacing is better, and I’ve got my pre-race rituals down to the point that I rarely feel nerves leading into a race.
In addition to triathlons done quite a few 5K races, finally breaking the long-anticipated 30-minute mark, and then shaving off another couple minutes. It’s been pretty cool to watch my times drop and see all of the training pay off. I also got the chance to guide one of my favorite dare2tri athletes in two kids’ races over the summer. For me, the coolest way to give back to the sport is to be help another kid complete a race. I seriously can’t wait to watch this kid grow up and become a total stud athlete.
In other news, last month I moved from my apartment in Evanston (northern suburb) to a new place in Chicago. The move has been great for several reasons. First off, for the last year or so I’ve been a city snob that lived in the suburbs; so it’s nice to now be able to talk the talk AND walk the walk. Secondly, it has drastically decreased the amount of time I spend in the car driving from school to work to all my other random activities. I wish I could say that I’ve spent the extra time doing something productive like learning a second language or baking a lot of pies, but unfortunately/intriguingly I have no idea where said time has gone.
Last week, school (finally) started back up again for the year. I was starting to get a little stir crazy towards the end of summer, and since I thrive on structure, it’s nice to have a little more regularity to my week. It’ll be a busy quarter trying to stay up-to-date on my classes while being in New Zealand for two weeks, but busy tends to bring out the best in me, so I’m confident that everything will be fine.
Speaking of New Zealand: I am leaving 2 weeks from today, and race day is 3 weeks from today. Right now we’re finalizing all our travel plans for after the race (any suggestions for things to do in NZ are encouraged).
That’s all for now. Stay tuned in the next couple weeks for updates on pre/during/post-Worlds adventures. Thanks for checking in!