This year I made the decision early on to sign up for a race on my birthday! Great decision, for sure. My dad and I did the Rage down in Lake Mead. Dad did the Half there a few years ago, so I had some good memories as we headed back. That was back when Mom, Dad, Jenny, and I were a little sub-family with all the others out of the house. We were Dad's cheerleaders for all of his races and had lots of fun times. This particular race, as I remember, was brutal. It was hot, the course was hard, but Jenny and I ran into the finish with Dad!
Anyway, we figured it would be a good prep race for Ironman St. George, and signed up for the Olympic.
Zach was able to get home from a TDY and come down for the race. We headed to Vegas before the parents since they were in school and we had Terran, who we hoped would nap. We ended up stopping in the middle of nowhere and letting him look at the cows to better enjoy the ride.
Race day was great. We got there a little later than we would have liked, so the start of the race was a bit stressful. I lost my timing chip, and after frantically searching for it, I headed to the start without it. (It got stuck to the Velcro of my transition bag, completely camouflaged!) About halfway through the bike, I realized I was probably close to the lead of my age group because no one my age had passed me. Then I remembered my timing strip and realized it didn't matter. Then I decided it still mattered and kept pushing. I felt great. The run started out a bit rough, uphill and in rocks and dirt, but I was having a blast talking to other racers. A few people passed me, but I knew my strength in the run comes a couple miles in and I kept a great pace the whole run. I dug deep in the end and passed several of the people I had hung with for quite a while and finished feeling good. My time was 3:05:08.
Turns out they had a backup system and recorded my start and end time, making my age group 2nd Place official. I was pretty happy about that. Four triathlons and four placings (three firsts, one second).
Wanna know a cool part of the day? I saw my dad several times on the course. His smiling face, encouragement, and "Happy Birthdays" made my day awesome. I have yet to do a tri without him. He always cheers me on and makes me feel like a million bucks. I owe a lot of my success to him.
Even though there was extreme traffic on the way home, and even though I was little more tired from the race than I wanted to be, it was an excellent way to spend a birthday!