It's going to be a tough weekend for me. This weekend is the USAT Nationals in Milwaukee, and I was supposed to be competing in both the Olympic and Sprint races. I actually qualified in October of last year and registered soon thereafter. My main goal all offseason and this coming season was to compete in Nationals and earn a coveted spot on Team USA. I just missed out 2 years ago on a spot, but that was when I didn't know any better. For those who don't know about how that works, essentially the top 25 athletes in each Age Group earn a sport on Team USA and get to compete in the World Championships, this year being held in Chicago. Last year, World's were in London.. Pretty cool right?
So I thought all season that I was going to be gunning for one of those spots. However, life takes over and things get in the way. I learned a lot this year so far about training and what I need to do to be successful, but that came at a cost. The cost being not performing at my best at any race this season. I learned my lesson about training for hills at the Rev3 Nationals, I learned my lesson about training and being able to push the pace during TriRock Philly, and I learned what I need to do to be successful in future races. The problem with all of this is that I learned it too late. For me to go out and compete in Nationals, I felt I needed to be competitive and be able to hold my own. And truth be told, I haven't been all year. This has been a very wasted year for me and one that I look forward to putting behind me. Knowing that I wasn't going to be as competitive as I needed to be to get a spot on Team USA, I pulled out of Nationals. For me to spend over $1000 for flights, hotels, bike travel, etc, it wasn't worth me getting my butt handed to me by the best in the country. I had a chance to make the team in the Sprint division but I made the fiscal decision to not chance it.
When last season finished, I knew this was what my goal was. I even thought about printing out a picture of the Team USA logo and putting it on my bike so every workout I had I knew I had to push myself. I wanted every workout structure to get me better, stronger, and faster. But I fell into a bad rut this year and didn't do that.
My decision was the right decision, but that still doesn't mean it makes it any less painful. When I see friends of mine traveling to Milwaukee this weekend to race, I am definitely jealous and wish I could be there. I wish I would be in better shape to compete with the best in the country. But right now, I am not. That will change next year, as I vow to get back to Nationals and vow to make the team and represent USA the following year.
This is my fault and my fault alone. I was the one who didn't put the work in, who didn't push themselves harder, who didn't work on my swim to get better. I am the only one who I can blame. But I know that since I did this, I can learn from it and that is exactly what I intend to do.
For everyone who is competing this weekend, good luck. It will be a very hard weekend for me knowing that you are out there with the best of the best. But be afraid, be very afraid, I'll be there next year with you.