My bestie, Ansley (Sweet Red), and I hit the road early Saturday morning for another stop on the 2014 Race Tour.
This stop we were hitting Epic Races’ event, Tri Goddess Tri, which is a fabulous gals-only event near Ann Arbor, Michigan.
The day before, I told Sweet Red that I we needed to rent a car. She said, “We should get a convertible.”
I said, “We should. Thelma and Louise style.”
She texted me back, “Done. Convertible secured.”
We arrived at the airport and had a fabulous flight (except for the almost hour long delay which immediately put us behind schedule!).
At the car rental place, the convertible was nowhere to be found. Which was tragic because we had taken time to secure scarves to protect our hair.
“I’m sorry, but we don’t have a convertible for you.”
A pregnant Sweet Red was distraught.
Sweet Red and I just stared at the man.
“We have Buick for you,” he said.
We stared some more.
So much for the wind in our hair! Pfffft!
We ended up in a Buick Lacrosse, which was fabulous, except that I could not figure out how to lower the seat and my head was smashed against the roof of the car interior for about 5 minutes. A very tiny person had clearly rented this car before.
45 minutes later and after missing our exit and having to backtrack, we arrived at the Comfort Inn in Chelsea, and cracked up when we realized that we clearly had the honeymoon “suite” of sorts. Giant hot tub in the middle of the room. Giant king bed for us to share.
We were already running late for the race expo, so we scurried and got everything together and were headed out of the room by 3:00. The race director for Epic Races had arranged for us to have some booth space, meet-and-greet and do some book signings — oh, and for me to give a pep talk.
And I had a mild panic attack right before we left.
“What if no one comes to our booth,” I said, “And what if no one wants to me sign their book… And what if I can’t stop coughing long enough to give my pep talk?”
I was giving Sweet Red a fit. “You are making ME nervous,” she said.
“Oh lawd…” I said.
Sweet Red rolled her eyes at me. “Shut up, Mere! People will be there! People are probably outside the hotel now, waiting for you!”
“You shut up,” I said as we were walking towards the hotel lobby, “No one is waiting for me in the—–”
Just then, someone to my right shouted, “Meredith???? Swim Bike Mom?”
So that’s when we got to meet Kristin, Aimee, and Jodi… we spent a lot of time with them over the weekend, and they are awesome gals.
We headed over to the race expo where I met Eva, the race director, and other fabulous ladies from Epic Races. Immediately, we had a great time. Lots of folks came by the booth. Lots of laughs. Lots of silliness.
So it was a small world too – Kristin, who we met at the hotel, is good friends with Becca – the awesome talented woman who designed my book cover. How cool is that?
Oh, and Sweet Red had a nice shelf for the iPad.
And then around 5:00, I was “up” for my little pep talk.
Signed a few more books and then we had to head on out.
Sweet Red and I headed to downtown Chelsea after the Expo to talk shop and feed our faces at The Common Grill... awesome food! We were SO hungry. I think I had a fruit cup and a roast beef sandwich all day. The food was totally worth the wait. And we were dressed like twinsies in our stinky-been-at-the-expo-all-day-gear… and no one seemed to mind.
The food was amazing. Did I say that already??
Sweet Red and I were like this:
Anyway, race morning RISE AND SHINE at 5am!
Time to get a move on! Sweet Red manned Day 2 of “selling our wares” – yes, this is her. She looks that great 6 months pregnant.
Michigan is seriously beautiful – and the weather was PERFECT! Wowzers.
I was borrowing a bike for the race, so I was getting the chance to ride a P2 Cervelo for the first time. Really liked the bike a lot… and so generous for someone to let me ride their P2.
Set up my transition area and did lots of hugging and chatting before the swim start.
Met lots of cool ladies, including Jen–who is tackling her first 140.6 this year— and one of my athletes, Becky—who I finally got to meet in person. I hugged her like 100 times during the day. She was probably tired of me before the end of the day 🙂
The gorgeous woman with the megaphone below, is Eva, the race director. She’s amazing and put on an amazing race.
Lots of Swim Bike Mom Army representatives!
And how awesome to be in a group of almost 500 women— 300 of whom were FIRST TIMERS!
Tri Goddess Tri has options for Sprint, Mini-Sprint, and Duathlon as well. So it truly is a great first race.
The swim was the longest “sprint” distance swim I have ever done. It was about 800 meters. We had the choice to do a mass swim start (and call ourselves part of the “elite” group), or go single file, rolling swim start.
Well, I take a chance for a mass start wherever I can get it, even though I was totally left in the dust after about 100 meters.
The sun was quite bright and I don’t know what in the world I was doing all swim — I must have been sight-seeing, because I was taking my sweet time getting to the swim exit. Lots and lots of ladies exited the water ahead of me.
I consider myself a good swimmer, but on that day—I was swimming with some super GREAT ones. Wow.
Out of the water and into T1. I had an amazing T1 time – 1:06, baby! I “podium’d” in my AG for transition! Woooohoo!
Out on the bike, and I was huffing and puffing like a freight train.
I was impressed at how comfortable I was on the borrowed bike. I was sort of nervous about that, but it seemed to be great.
I was putting the hammer down on the bike, and really pushing. The course was great. Not too many climbs, but enough to make it interesting. My legs were pretty jello-y considering that I had been sick the week prior and hadn’t done any training for 5 days. Still, the 10 mile course went quickly and I was back in T2 before I knew it.
I ended up 7th place in my AG for the bike with a 18.5 MPH average.
Then it was time to run!
“Here’s Meredith Atwood, Swim BIke Mom, coming out of T2!” I heard over the loudspeaker.
I said, “Don’t blink! You might miss me! I’m so fast!” and I heard several chuckles from the specators.
My legs were DEAD.
I’m not sure that I’ve ever run out of transition feeling so crappy in the legs.
It took me a solid 1/2 mile before I thought I could go on— after the first mile, the course dipped into the woods for the final 2 miles on trails. Swim Bike Klutz! On a trail run. Sheesh!
But it was a great trail, and I really took my time, wanting to make sure I didn’t turn an ankle or do anything stupid. Ended up pacing 10:57 during the 5k, and I was good with that.
Overall, I had a great race and it was barrels of fun.
Spent the next hour or so hugging finishers, meeting awesome ladies and feeling the Tri Goddess love.
This wonderful woman, Nikita, below… had so many sweet things to say to me… she started crying and I started crying, and we’re standing at the finish line just a’ hugging and crying like crazy women.
I LOVE THIS SPORT. When else would that happen? She rocked her first tri – and is forever changed by the sport. I love it.
I went to Michigan with a pretty full cup —but I left Michigan, and I swear my cup was just spilling over with love and butterflies and rainbows.
Sweet Red and I were immeasurably blessed to get to meet so many fantastic women. I was inspired so many times during the day, I can’t think about it without crying.
I am constantly reminded of the wonders of triathlon and the amazing people in the sports—but this trip really just made me stop, stand in awe and thank God that I wandered into the sport a handful of years ago.
Love and hugs to all of our new Tri Goddess friends.
Hope we’ll see you again next year!
Age Group: 27 of 57
Swim: 21:27 (18th AG)
T1: 106 (2nd AG – Totally podium’d my T1!)
Bike: 32:56 (18.6 MPH; 7th place AG)
Run: 32:50 (10:57 pace; 48th place AG)