The third weekend of May is always a busy time in Baltimore. There is so much happening with Preakness, Bike Jam, and…the Columbia Triathlon.

We all race for a variety of reasons. Some folks race for the money. Some race for the love of sport. Some of us race to have a reason to keep training…doing a race can be a goal!
For me this particular race has special meaning. I raced the Columbia triathlon this past weekend because I consider this race a home coming. I race this race because I love supporting race directors, Vigorito and George Alterie. I race this race because it gives me a good excuse to visit my family and friends. In fact, 50 of my family members and friends come out to cheer for me. I race this race because it has a challenging bike and run. I love everything about this race.

I arrived in Baltimore Thursday afternoon sans ML so that I could hang with my home girls and do girl stuff. ML arrived Friday night. After picking him up, we did a little meet and greet over at the Sheraton with Chrissie and Terrenzo. It was pretty fun. I had never met Chrissie before. She is really as cool in person as she is in interviews and on TV. Definitely a pleasure meeting her!

Saturday ML and I did our pre race stuff as usual. And as usual we were late for the pre race pro meeting …sorry Vigo! The one thing during the pro meeting that none of us missed, however, was the new wetsuit rule that was put into effect this year. The new rule states that pros will not wear wetsuits in a swim (less than 3k)in which the water temperature is 68 degrees or greater. I guess the fools that voted for this stupid rule didn’t consider that the air temperature could be effing cold (like in the 40′s) making for a miserable (and potentially dangerous) bike ride! Yes, I called you people FOOLS!
Ok…that was my mini rant…

Sunday morning ML and I had our breaky 3 hours prior to the race start. We arrived at the race on Gillam time instead of Lovato time. In fact, I believe that we were the first pros in transition…lol! ML and I did our race warm-up, kissed and entered the effing cold water at 6:40 in the morning. I considered, for a moment, not getting in until the last minute as I was afraid of freezing before the gun went off. I did a few sprints trying to warm my body. It helped a little bit. I believe the water was 71. However, because the lake is so shallow, it was colder in some areas. In any case, 71 is still a bit cold for me…but it could have been colder…(another mini-rant)

The gun went off and the pace was torrid! I found myself with fogged up goggles and leading a group. I thought F-ME. Not only was I leading a group, but I couldn’t see. F-F-F!!!! Thankfully, Jacqui got sick of my weaving and swerving and took the lead. I was happy for that and just sat on her feet until the stupid swim was over…grrr again! (Thank you to the age groupers in wetsuits that started behind us for not running us over…seriously, much appreciated!)

I got on my bike and I was completely amped from all of the caffeine that I took in that morning. I was tired coming into this race. And I needed all of the help that I could get. I rode angry! I was pissed, pissed, pissed…I pushed as hard as I could and still felt flat, flat, flat! The hardest part was that I felt like I was in no-man’s land the whole ride. I passed a few people, but I really had to work to keep myself from getting lazy. I came into t-2 and heard 5 minutes down…I thought…does that mean from first or from the girl ahead of me…? The first three miles I pushed and pushed! I felt a bit deflated as I kept seeing 6:15 pace. There was an age group male that I tried racing. However, once I dropped him, I was looking for my next form of motivation. I started to get a little bummed. I kept thinking that I must be pretty far out of it… The good thing about racing Olympic distance is that negative thoughts can’t last too long because the race is only 2 hours! LOL!

I finished the day in 2:14 and in 5th place. Admittedly, I was bummed at first. It’s hard to be happy when you start off a bit grumpy and tired. However, once I thought about everything and once I saw my splits, my attitude changed. The girls that beat me were solid. As athletes I think it is natural to want to be faster and better. And I think that even if I had been my very best, I may have fighting for fourth…but who knows??? The fact of the matter is that I brought my best effort into that race on that day. And for that, I am happy.

It’s easy for a bad mood to turn good as I had the love and support of about fifty friends and family out there supporting me and cheering for me! In fact, one of those “friends” happens to be the race director, Robert Vigorito. It is so special for me to have developed such a wonderful relationship with a race director. Vigo always welcomes me with a smile and a hug every time that I come to Columbia. I won this race in 2001 as an age grouper. Vigo has always supported me as an athlete. And with my east coast “loyal roots”, I will always support him and all of his races!

On a different note…
The first time that I did this race was in 1997. I was about 30 pounds heavier. And I did not know how to swim. (In fact, I believe that I swam about 34 minutes with a wetsuit…look it up if you don’t believe me :)). I love looking back on that memory and I think about how far I have come in this sport. I am so proud of that.