A Facebook reminder from 2016 popped up today and reminded me to collect a few thoughts from Steelhead this year. The race was a few weeks ago at this point but still quite fresh in my memory. Without question, this has been and always will be my favorite race of the year and this year was my third time on the course. In 2016 the goal was to lay down a bike ride for my last amateur 70.3. In 2017 the goal was to run better than the year before. This year the goal was much simpler, enjoy the day regardless of the outcome. Race hard, have fun, and see what kind of bike legs existed after several weeks off. Well, the bike ride went just fine but after some time off, my run legs were essentially worthless :-) The third place finish was icing on the cake because the main goal was accomplished this year.
A very short summary of the race itself: the swim was SO rough but that kept some of the quick swimmers close. The bike and I bonded quite nicely which meant the fastest female bike split of the day. And then the run. Well, it happened and it wasn't the prettiest thing ever, but I was fortunate enough to have just enough to finish off the race in a good position. Verdict, time to get that run fitness back. Still, no complaints on the day and it was a great fitness benchmark before starting to put in some work.
Now that we have glassed over the race, on to my favorite parts of Benton Harbor. Dad has been at the race 3 years in a row, and I’m 100% sure that he will be at every race in Benton Harbor in the future (as long as the Pro race stays). He’s had some practice scoping out his favorite cheering spots so I knew exactly where to look for him on the course. He had his partner in crime, Kristy, with him this year and they were exactly where I expected them to be each time. Welcome to the family Kristy, sorry there are no pictures of the three of us!
The equally amazing part of this race, my homestay family. Last year I submitted a request for a homestay, and I was lucky enough to connect with Moose and June. I was told they expected me to return and stay with them again so I followed directions! There were dinners on the patio with live music, lazy mornings, fresh Michigan peaches and cherries, and lots of laughs. And post-race pizza…how could I forget post-race pizza?!?! See the name on that pizza box? It has to be some of the best Pizza in Michigan. A meeting by chance but a friendship that I know will last forever. Thank you for everything!
Now that the pizza eating is out of the way, it’s time to get ready to race this fall! Who am I kidding, pizza eating is never over.