I'd been alluding to being away this past weekend, but I couldn't reveal where I was going at the time. Drew and I took the train down to our nation's capital on Saturday morning to spend the weekend there. We were hoping to do some touristy stuff, but we had two real purposes:
1. Meet Kristin on Saturday
2. Surprise Laura as she competed at Nation's Triathlon on Sunday
After checking into our hotel and getting some lunch, we went to the Triathlon Expo to see if we could get any free swag. I actually ended up getting a tri top on a really good sale. Our real mission was to score some free poster board in order to make signs for Laura on Sunday morning. After dropping our swag off at the hotel, we started out on a tourist trip. We walked from our hotel at Dupont Circle down to the White House and Washington Memorial.
From there, we headed to the American History Smithsonian. I really wanted to see Julia Child's kitchen, which has been moved to the museum. After all that walking around, I was exhausted and Drew had some work to do, so we headed back to the hotel to take a nap and Drew did his work.
It turned out that it was a good thing that we rested for a bit because we met up with Kristin and her husband Curtis for dinner.
This is my first time meeting a blogger in real life. Of course I was worried that even though we've been reading each others blogs since March 2009 (read her first comment here), that somehow I'd be wrong and maybe we wouldn't hit it off. Totally turned out the other way around. We ended up staying out after dinner getting a few drinks and just generally having a fun time! Of course, that meant that Drew and I didn't get a lot of sleep before having to get up early on Sunday morning for the triathlon.
However, we did get up early. And we woke up to rain. Ick. We got dressed and got in a cab and headed down to the transition area. I was hoping that we'd get there early enough that we could find Laura before she got in the water. As it turned out, we actually saw a former co-worker of ours there! She was there to cheer her husband on in his first Olympic-distance triathlon. Not long after that, someone called out "Amy?". I turned around and it was Laura, who was standing there with her mouth hanging open in disbelief. Honestly, I think Laura describes it best from her own race report:
"At one point as I was waiting around, I saw this guy from behind who looked exactly like my friend Drew. So much so that I started to call out his name. But I didn't get past "Dr--" before checking myself, because obviously my friend Drew lives in NYC, so that guy couldn't be him. Except that he was standing next to a woman who, from behind, looked like my friend Amy (Drew's girlfriend). But, again, it couldn't be them, because even though Amy is a triathlete too, she wasn't doing this race. But it looked exactly like them from behind...so I finally called out, "Amy?" And they both turned - it was them! They had come all the way down from NYC just to surprise me! I was more than surprised - and SO happy to see them - it was the best surprise I could have asked for!"
I was so glad that we actually pulled off the surprise. We'd been planning on going down to DC since July, so there was a really good chance that one of us would have spilled the beans before we got down there, but Laura had NO idea! Despite the less than ideal weather conditions, Laura managed to have an awesome race and even set a PR!
The other really funny part is that after we had been chatting with Laura and some of her other TNT friends, there was someone there who looked just like our friend Lisa. I asked Drew if it was her and he said that he didn't think that was possible. Except for the fact that she is a triathlete, so it definitely was possible. And, it was her! Very small world in D.C. this weekend!
After chatting for a while more, Drew and I decided that we should walk around and sort-of scope out where we'd watch the race. We ended up getting a really good spot on the bank of the Potomac River about 100 meters from the start of the swim. We watched a few waves before Laura and Lisa (they were in back-to-back waves) went off. It was really hard for me to watch the swim. It was almost excruciating in some cases. I've actually never watched the swim part of a triathlon in real life before.
I actually wanted to close my eyes. Or yell at the kayakers. I'm not sure which. Watching the leaders and the middle-of-the-packers was totally fine. Watching the back-of-the-packers was hard. Cringe inducing. I saw more than one person swimming kayak to kayak, which I did not think was okay. I saw one girl get out of the water (twice) and then get back in again both times to try to keep swimming. I saw people hanging onto the buoys (which were every 100 meters). I know that I'm a good swimmer, so it's hard for me to understand how horrifying it must be for some people, but I was concerned that those people weren't going to make it and probably had no business doing this sort of a swim.
I don't know how you go about fixing that, but I guess you can't underestimate the importance of knowing how to swim and feeling comfortable in the water. It's also a lot different to touch a wall every 25 yards or meters than it is to swim a mile straight without being able to hold on or stand up to rest.
I was able to pick out both Laura and Lisa in the water, which was pretty cool. Lisa was closer to the shore side than Laura was when I saw her, so we yelled out to Lisa while she was swimming. I don't know if she heard us, but we had fun cheering! After Lisa passed us, we went to stake out a spot to see Laura come out of the water and run into T1. Once we saw her do that, we ran across a field and waited for her to pass us as she rode by on her bike.
We actually ended up leaving after Laura headed out for the bike. The weather had sort-of taken a turn for the worst and the race had also started late, so we had to head back to our hotel in order to make sure we could check out on time. We took showers, had brunch and then did some more museum-going before Drew had to buckle down and do some more work. So, before we got on the train to go home to NY, we went to a Starbucks and hung out for a while so Drew could use the Wi-Fi there.
Even though Drew had to work a little bit, it was an awesome weekend! We had a fantastic time in our nation's capital! I always think triathlons are fun to watch and this weekend was no exception. Although I might steer clear of watching the swim in the future! It's too hard for me, I think. I sort-of wanted to jump in and help some of those people!
So, Drew and I debated before we left New York whether or not we should bring workout gear. We ended up not doing it and I'm glad we made that decision. We were on our feet so much as it was that my legs definitely got a workout even without running. That makes last week a really small marathon training week, but I'm okay with that. Just means I've got to make this week a good one!