Sunday, March 24, 2013

A BIG Weekend!

This past week was a big week for me. I competed in my first two professional races AND I came back to Colorado Springs with a ring on my finger and Brad Miller as my fiance! In accordance with saving the best for last, I'll let you know how the race went first.

The start!
Coming out of the water in 4th!
Sarasota was an Olympic distance race, so it was double what Clermont was the week before. The swim started off great with me coming out of the water in 4th place. I hopped on the bike and somehow missed being with the lead pack. So there were about 4 athletes on the bike ahead of me and then about ten athletes in a pack behind me. After doing two of the eight 5k bike laps by myself I was pretty tired. The wind on the way out on the bike was relentless and if there is one thing I have learned about draft legal races in my first race, it is that being part of the pack is much more fun than being by yourself. Then around the turn I noticed there were now only three girls ahead of me! When what to my wondering eyes should appear but McLarty moving up from the rear! Unfortunately she had gotten a flat, but fortunate for me she was now stuck with me!
McLarty and I working together on the bike.
 So we worked hard together trading off the leads to maintain our distance from the lead pack while also trying to hold off the pack behind us. It was tough work, but we ended up getting off the bike about a minute back from the leaders and a minute up from the next group. On the run I was quite tired. I came off the bike in 5th and ended up getting 7th and in the money woot woot!
A hard lonely run
 Once again I know there are plenty of places to improve, but being only my first two races I've got to say I'm pretty darn happy with my standings. My next race I do is going to be WTS San Diego, which is the most competitive of the ITU draft legal triathlons. I'll be going up against some of the best in the world, and my goal will be to enjoy the ride and use this race as yet another learning experience to help me prepare to be the best in the future.

Now on to the more important stuff...

 After the race Brad, my mom and I all went out to dinner in Siesta Key at The Cottage, which I would highly recommend if you ever find yourself in the area. Having planned in my head that my perfect proposal would be on the beach I was wearing the outfit that I had picked out just in case it actually happened. Then I noticed during dinner he had something extra in his pocket, and when my mom hung back on the beach while Brad and I went for a walk after dinner I was pretty sure I had put all the pieces together correctly ;). As much as I love surprises I tend to ruin them through good detective work.
This is actually the night before, at the moment my mom's camera is hoarding the real post-engagement photos.

We continued on the walk with Brad holding my hand tighter than ever, and seeing Brad nervous is not a common sight. So we continued to walk until we were alone on the beach and then I got the most perfect proposal I could have ever planned. Oh right and I said YES! Brad is my best friend, my biggest supporter, the person who is there for me no matter what emotion I am going through and the best travel buddy and playmate a person could have. I couldn't feel more blessed and excited to be the future Mrs. Katie Miller and spend the rest of my life with him!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

First Race!

On Saturday was the Clermont Sprint Pan-Am Cup. It was my first race as a professional as well as my first draft legal race. Leading up to the race I was so nervous. (If you'd like to read more about the lead up to the race I have a blog on USA Triathlon about that...USA Triathlon: A Time for Firsts Blog). However, the great thing about triathlons is that the swim is first and I find as soon as the gun goes off I am completely calm. I raced out into the water and after being pummeled for a bit I found myself off to the left of the mass of athletes but somehow in solitude and still on target for the first buoy. Rather than get back into the mess I decided I would rather swim alongside the group. Going around the first buoy was difficult and physical, but after that swimming felt smooth and I just tried to keep picking off swimmers ahead!
Coming out of the water I was right on the back end of the lead swim pack. I ran up the beach and had a great transition (fastest of the field woo hoo!) and got on the bike. Going out on the bike I was a bit behind the group and in my head two subconsciouses were working against one another going back and forth with "I can't catch them"..."I can catch them"...but I'm happy because the "I can catch them" side won, and I latched onto the group!
I'm pretty new at the whole group riding thing and considering we averaged 24.6 m/h for the race I had never gone around turns at that speed and wasn't so comfortable in the group. I struggled with staying with the group around the turns and would sling shot off the back. Then I would catch up and the nice thing about catching up is it gets so much easier once you're back with your group. The other athletes in the group were athletes that have pretty awesome athletic resumes and it was great to be up with them. They were fantastic at communicating and telling me what I needed to do/not do in a nice way and I tried my best to work with the group and take my turn at pulling.
Yep that's Sarah Groft's butt in front of me, she got 4th at the London Olympics.
So after 4 laps of fartleking the bike it was time for the run! And I was tanked. I didn't do much on the run, but I also didn't lose my position. I ended my race in 7th against a competitive field and was so happy! There were five Olympians in my race: Sarah Groff (USA), Vendula Frintova (CZE), Radka Vodickova (CZE), Paula Findlay (CAN) and Helle Frederiksen (DEN) as well as a few other well known respected triathletes that I also look up to. Even though I didn't really set many expectations for this race other than to finish and not get last in the race, I definitely exceeded them! It was a great start to the season and I am excited to compete in my next professional race...Saturday at the Sarasota ITU Triathlon Pan-Am Cup!


Monday, March 4, 2013

Harlem Shaking It

Who knew: We can swim, bike, run AND dance (well at least attempt it)
USAT Collegiate Recruits and Elite Triathlon Academy
and in case one wasn't enough....
Here is one with even more OTC residents and staff!