Monday, May 07, 2007

Triathlon Camp

What a crazy weekend. It was pretty awesome. I have to get to school, crazy week ahead, but wanted to sneak in a quick update.

We left Friday midday and drove down to White Lake, near Fayetteville, with the Subaru all loaded with gear. We had decided to stay with the team in their "cabin" but weren't sure what that entailed. I scoffed at Trent when he decided to bring sleeping bags, and we had tons of pasta to cook. We arrived around 3 at.. camp. Seriously. The camp you went to as a child. Apparently the FFA started in North Carolina, and this was their campgrounds. Old rickity cabins with bunk beds and big meeting halls. I felt like I should be drinking bug juice and singing campfire songs. But it was great, we were staying right in the middle of the race, surrounded by other triathletes, no need to worry about missing any parts of the race. It was a great bonding experience with our UNC tri team. Check out the pictures here.

Trent's race was Saturday, as was most of our cabin. So everyone was up at 4 am to start eating and drinking. He was doing a half iron man (2km swim, 56mile bike ride, 13mile run) so eating properly was critical. The lake was about 20 meters away from our cabin and he was the last wave to start (since he raced as a novice) so I got lots of great pictures. He was blazing fast on the swim and headed out on the bike no problem. It was perfect weather, a bit overcast and not too hot, but no rain. During the bike, the girlfriends and others left behind showered in the cold camp showers and hung out and and read. He rolled in, feeling great still, and headed out on the run. Which was the killer part. The first 2/3rds were great but I think all the mileage finally caught up with him and the last few miles were a bit rough. But he was a great sport and finished in under 6 hours! Crazy. He ended up taking 3rd place in his division! Great job Bubs.

He was beat but managed to eat the red beans and rice, potato chips and other snacks for the racers. He stood in the lake to cool his hot muscles. We rested up and everyone hobbled around congratulating each other. Later that evening we went out to a Mexican restaurant in the tiny town (not what NC is best for) with our big group and came back to our bunk beds and crashed. Fun to hang out with a bunch of folks with the same motivations. There were about 6 undergraduates, some fun freshman, and then lots of alumni and graduate students. Lots of scientists which was fun for me.

My race started later, so we woke up at 6am the next day. I hadn't raced in a while, and I, unfortunately, have a pretty bad competitive streak. I got all nervous and then realized how silly it was. I am a graduate student, and have been busier than I have ever been. And there were some INTENSE people there, spending all their time and money on this crazy sport. It was great to have a different mindset for the race. I was the 5th wave and all my time in the pool paid off!! I was actually keeping up, and crazily enough, passing people on the swim. The water was much choppier than the previous day, but I think all my days playing around in the ocean prevented any panic that struck some other swimmers in my group. My race was 750m swim, 14mile bike, 5k run. I was really happy with the swim, even passing some men in the wave ahead of me. Then on to the bike, my weakest section. Luckily the roads were really flat and my legs felt great and with Trent's strategy to not go too fast in the beginning, I had a great ride. I averaged 17.6 or more miles per hour. Heck ya! I even managed to do the fancy dismount I learned at UCD. The run is my favorite and it was nice to just be competing with myself. I blazed through the 5k in about 23 minutes and crossed the finish line in about 1 hour, 30 minutes. Had I been racing in the 20-24 category, I would have placed second!! But I got bumped up into the way more competitive 25-29 category and didn't place (I am 24, but this race has rules that use your age at the end of the year). But I could not be happier with the race regardless. It was great to feel so fit and capable. We ate a lot, said our goodbyes and exchanged info with our new friends, and headed out around 11 am. We were supposed to go meet up with some bio grad students who were out at a park, bbq-ing and swimming, but it got canceled due to the cooler weather, so we got to just come home, unload the car, eat lots of mac and cheese, take hot showers, and watch old Star Trek episodes. Perfect!!

Back to work this week. I had a great meeting with my probable future PI on Friday but need to finish up this last rotation and meet with this current PI this week. It is utter madness with everyone trying to find their spot, but I am feeling very happy with my choice and my chances of getting it. Trent had a crazy week last week with tons of interviews and job offers. He has decided to not take a marketing agency job that was offered and I just dropped him off at a temp job at the Alumni Center on campus that could become a permanent position if he likes it. Exciting times!