The race this weekend was by far the most challenging race I have competed in both mentally and physically. The Elite course was different than the Age Group course. Two days before the race I rode a lap of the bike course and immediately called our coach ,Greg, after to complain about how hard the hill was that I had to climb eight times on race day. Greg told me just to take the race second by second and I would be fine. Draft legal racing is so much different than non drafting. If you are mentally out of the race for just a few seconds the bike pack can drop you and your race is over. We raced at noon on Saturday. The day of the race everyone was complaining about how hot it was outside and how bad the run was going to be in the sun. I tried to stay positive and continue to chug water. The swim felt really fast. The pace was a lot faster than it was at worlds but thankfully I came out of the water with the girls I thought I would come out with. The bike was very hard for me. After the second lap I knew my legs were already trashed but somehow I still had to ride six more laps and run a 10k. Well, I made it to the run....I felt like death the first lap. I was thinking how nice it would be to pass out so I did not have to keep running. I had the cold lips and dehydration chill bumps...it was crazy! A U23 athlete passed me on the run on the first lap and mentally I really did not think I would be able to catch back up. However, I wanted to win the U23 National Title..for myself of course, but especially for my coach. We have worked so hard this past month to get me ready to race the best in the nation and I needed to win this for him. The second lap felt the same as the first...hot, miserable, and painful. As I began the third lap I actually started feeling good. How? I do not really know. It must have been from all of my awesome friends yelling at me "DON'T YOU DARE SETTLE (thanks Brian)". My immediate goal was to get top ten, which meant I would have to pass two more girls. The U23 athlete was three girls ahead of me...29 seconds. I had 2.5k to make up 30 seconds. I passed two and then I sprinted up and passed the third to see her reaction. She did not sprint back, so I just carried my speed right into the finish line and became the 2010 U23 National Champion! This is a huge accomplishment for me. A year ago I just started toying with local sprint triathlons and now I am racing as a pro and won the U23 race. It is so awesome to see how much hard work pays off. Thanks to all my friends, my coach, and my mom for supporting me! Next up is Puerto Vallarta Pan Am Champs in Mexico. Too bad the race is on Sunday...no margaritas for this chick.