Wednesday, February 28, 2018

More racing

I've sat down and begun writing an "update" probably 7-8 times since April when I last wrote something on here. Each time, though, I think "honestly, who cares" and end up letting something sit in the Drafts folder while I think "well, I'll make it more entertaining with other witty anecdotes and photos shortly." But I continue to not do that, as my fear of worsening the self-aggrandization that is triathlon social media sets in. Plus, I figure people who read this likely know me, or are at least familiar enough via Facewittagram to have a pretty general idea what's going on. There's a small subset of people who accidentally stumble across a random years-old post about Escape From Alcatraz (by FAR my most popular post all-time, especially from search engine referrals), and in that case, the reader probably isn't as interested in a linear story of my "triathlon journey" (a phrase which makes me green-face-emoji just to type out).

As far as the 2017 racing season goes, it was a bit lackluster, but it certainly had its major highlights that stick out:
I led out of the water at XTERRA Oak Mountain in a fairly deep field, but man, was that stupid. 0/10 would not recommend.
I raced my fifth Armed Forces Triathlon Championship. Team Navy won for the first time since I stopped getting outrun by most of the women, but I came up one position shy of an automatic berth to the CISM Military World Championships by coming 7th. One slot quickly rolled down, though, and off I went to Germany in August.
A relatively last minute change to make Worlds a non-draft race meant I was left scrambling for a TT bike. The race went OK, not my best work but not disappointing, finishing well behind a field with a handful of 2012 and 2016 Olympians.
I was supposed to race ITU Cross Triathlon Worlds a few weeks later, but a crash on my very last training ride at home sent me to the ER for some stitches with a doctor saying "you absolutely should not swim in a lake in 4 days." So, I tried doubling down on XTERRA Pan American Championships in Utah, hoping to avenge my flat tire last year in what was otherwise some of the best fitness I think I've ever had. Unfortunately, that was not to be and race day was remarkably disappointing.
I closed out the season with some low-stress smaller, collegiate racing (more on that below). I wasn't in particularly good form for either, especially Pumpkinman that came at the heels of a 5-week block of nearly zero structured training.

As for my non-racing life...I finally left Virginia Beach! This might merit its own post because I lived there for a rather formative 5+ years immediately following college, but that's honestly not going to happen. I had something of a love-hate relationship with the beach, but it had really gotten to the point where most parts of my life (beyond just triathlon) had gotten "stale," for lack of a better term. Plus my tour of duty in Norfolk ended, so I was due to at least change jobs. I moved to Fort Collins, Colorado in July and am now pursuing a Master's of Computer Information Systems at Colorado State University. For those following along very closely, that degree has nothing to do with my previous job of ship inspections and port management, but I am still in the Coast Guard and will return to "the fleet" in December 2018/January 2019 to work in IT (or something closely related) for the Coast Guard.

Considering that I'm covering about 10 months' worth of material here, I've inevitably forgotten a thing or five. And there's a strong possibility that it will be another year or more before I update this again (though I may change the layout as I get a bit more familiar with HTML in one of my classes...just because I can) However, because of the addictive nature of smartphones, I'm substantially more inclined to keep things updated on the folder of apps on my phone titled "Time Wasters." (@idking90 on both Instagram and Twitter, though the latter is less and less frequently used)

In rough chronological order, here are some pictures:
Team Navy: so good we don't even wear shoes.

I broke the rule and shared a Snapchat post elsewhere. But this was one of my very last days of work, one of my first times visiting Norfolk Waterside version 643. Fortunately the Chipotle only opened up about a week before I left, or else I'd be fat and broke spending $16 a day because it's impossible not to get chips and guac with my burrito that obviously I want extra guac on as well.

I lived in four different places in Virginia Beach/Norfolk over the five years I was there. Old Beach was the one that felt most like "home."

Farewell, little half-street. I will not miss every delivery or Uber driver taking an extra 10 minutes to circle around the block six times because they missed you. (Update: in my large condo complex, my building is basically out of order in the numbering scheme. So I basically have the same problem 😂😂😂)

Officially, day 1 of driving was Va Beach to New Jersey. But more (less?) officially, I called my Columbus, NJ to Cleveland, OH (ish) as day 1. I thought this day would be the roughest for some reason???
Day 2. "Oh, are you going to take your time driving across the country?"
"No, I'm driving through the 2/3 of the country that you skip over. Nobody needs to see southern Indiana at a speed slower than 85 mph."

Day 3. Everybody talked up Kansas, but I figured it couldn't be that much worse than the day before through Indiana and Missouri. But in Indiana and Missouri, I-70 never disappeared as a straight line on the horizon. Woof. And then there's the stretch where "I'm in Colorado??? No, this is like worse than Kansas" for a solid couple hours.

I had a transcendental experience in Kansas with Europe '72 on repeat for about 7 hours.

Everybody was taking service-contingent photos before the opening ceremony for Military Worlds. Naturally, I was alone. At least per capita by service, I'm guessing that 1/40,000ish is better than the ratios of the other branches? Maybe?

Yea but them quads.
Welcome to Colorado! Here's your daily summer hail storm!
Tried to send it. Insufficient postage.

Chicks dig scars, so I hear. The PA doing my stitches, however, did not dig my 8 year old girl level of screaming.
On the bright side (pun alert!) of missing ITU Cross Worlds, I was able to see 100% coverage of the eclipse by driving about 2 hours north to Wyoming. Here is where I stopped, at an I-25 onramp with nothing but a dirt road leading to a private ranch that, by the time of the eclipse, probably had a thousand people of it.

(But re: my prior caption, look how many more cars there are during the eclipse itself!)
Growing up, Mom always used to take a picture of us right next to a lamp post in the driveway on the first day of school. No lamp post, but here I am on my first day of 17th grade.

This is a borrowed throwback jersey, but yes, I'm wearing green and gold now. But blue and orange still hold a very, very special place in my heart and always will.

Fun fact: ask me about what happened 10 minutes after this picture was taken.

Fortunately I won't be wearing my throwback jersey any more, as much as I like the Michelin Man look.

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