Second Place is First Loser

Muncie Sprint and 70.3
As I traveled to Muncie, Indiana last October, I noted that maybe I should do a local races so my family could come watch me race without having to invest in a passport and official vacation. So when the Muncie Long Course Triathlon became part of the 70.3 Series, I rallied up a few of my triathletes, rented a camper and road tripped once again to Muncie. Unfortunately I did not get to travel in my ideal transport system – the Town and Country, but made do with a smaller SUV.
After battling 5 hours of road construction and traffic, I finally made it to the camp site where I was to receive the camper (I dare not drive 240 miles through Indiana with one). As I waited time passed by with a visit from the parents, a picnic and finally 5 hours after the scheduled time my portable hotel arrived. The night was falling and so was the rain. I found the entire procedure somewhat amusing as the professional asked one of the local campers to park the camper, while the other summer camper’s found the spectacle part of their evening entertainment as they stood under their awning and watched. Even I got a giggle out of it; as it reminded me of how much I love to watch tourists attempt to Parallel Park their cars in the big city.
Once settled in, I found myself having a quiet evening to myself before the other athletes rolled in and the race prepping began. As the next day’s sun rose into the sky, I headed out for a morning ride on the race course. At this point I still hadn’t signed up for the race; I was waiting to make sure all my athletes were feeling good about race day (this being their first Half Ironman). Late morning the athletes arrived and let Camp NJOY begin! Everyone was arriving to camp, from my triathletes to my family. My brother was the official fire-tender, my mom got the marshmallows roasting, my husband went to get pizza, and us girls got all our race gear together…I was in!
And what a fun little course it was and a fun way to spend my morning! As the gun went off, I raced into the water swimming quite aggressively and emerging from the water in 8th place. As I came out of the water, not only were my athletes there cheering me on, but my moms, dad, brother and husband all there too! I pushed through transition one, passing all but one of the girls who made it out of the water before me. About a half mile down the road on my bike I was told the number one girl was about 45 seconds in front of me.
GAME ON! There are two things that can happen at this point in the race. 1. I crush her and pass her within the next 3 miles, or 2. She is on a time trial bike and I don’t stand a chance on the road bike racing substitute. For 20 kilometers I searched for her and as I got onto the run and was told number one was now 4-5 minutes ahead, I knew I was defeated. All I could do now was try to close the gap in front of me and open it behind me.
Second Place – First Loser
Being a good sport I went to congratulate my first place competitor, but I couldn’t help but ask, “You were on a time trailer, weren’t you?” “Of course I was!” “I knew it.” Disappointed – a little, but I had a great time and enjoyed the course. I enjoyed the support from everyone who was there, visiting with family, playing with my niece and two little nephews. But more than anything, I enjoyed getting to have my triathletes there and watching them complete their first Half Ironman.
As my race came to an end, theirs began. The water was 82 degrees and they had to swim the 1.2 miles without wetsuit. They braved the mini rollers and strong crosswinds. To finish up the day, they took a beating of the sun all over their bodies thus earning their first set of racing stripes. I have never been as proud of any of my athletes as what I was that day. For each and every one of us, that day was filled with firsts; whether it was their very first triathlon or their first at the distance they raced. My first was sharing my love for triathlons and traveling somewhere different and new, my racing experience with the people I coach. I had a lot of fun. Besides, sitting by the campfire making smores by myself would have been no fun at all had I done this race alone…maybe some races are best to have a few travel companions.

The girls at our pre-race workout and following it up with some ice cream
Our camping group and the girls after they completed their first half Ironman!
My little nephew, Ty intensely watching the cycling of the race, while my brother Justin and Dallas play.
My niece and dad came to visit me and have a picnic while I was waiting on delivery of the camper. I also take a moment to reflect on getting second place.
I am teaching my wonderful husband how to roast marshmallows, since he never did it as a kid.

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