Thursday, October 9, 2008

Kelly's Triathlon and Portland

In September I went to Portland for the weekend to support a friend as she competed in an amazing test of endurance. Kelly a friend from my grad school days in sunny Florida started competing in triathlons just over two years ago. Actually, I'd like to take the credit for her jumping into a sport that she now loves. I said to her one day, "Kelly one day I'm going to do a triathlon." She says, "Wow, that sounds like fun, I want to try that too." Before I even competed in my first (and only) sprint triathlon, she had completed several and was placing in her age group. And she has kept going and training and traveling all over the US to compete. (And mind you, this is for fun. She trains after work and on the weekends.) So she recently won first place for her age bracket in a Florida triathlon , which qualified her to attend an Age Group National Triathlon which happened to be right outside Portland. So she flew up to the beautiful Pacific Northwest, along with her Mom for support, and I drove down to stay with them and cheer her on.

It was a pretty amazing experience. At the hotel where all the athletes were staying, we ate dinner in the restaurant and at the table next to us were Olympic triathletes. These professional athletes there to support the amateurs on race day and compete in an elite competition to demonstrate what Olympians can do. On race day we woke up before 4:00 am to get to the race site before dawn so Kelly could start setting up and getting prepared. The race itself was amazing. Thousands of athletes competed. The most famous athlete that everyone was talking about was Sister Madonna. Sister Madonna is a 70+ year old nun who has been competing in triathlons for years. It was fun to watch her finish. And Kelly did amazing; she hit all of her expected times for the 1.5K swim, the 40K bike ride, and the 10K run. It was great to watch her and cheer her on, "Kelly, you are a machine!" That evening, after a nap, we went out for sushi and celebrated. The next day I met up with another friend in Portland (also a former Floridian) and she showed me around the city. Angela and I walked around downtown, checked out the Pearl District and Nob Hill, and walked by some beautiful churches. Oh, and luckily in the City of Roses we found a rose garden so I could take a perfect picture to commemorate the day.

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