Here I sit in Sarasota, FL days away from my Rio qualifying race and CAMTRI. Last I wrote I had over 3 months to prepare for this race and boy have they gone fast. But here I sit feeling calm, confident and ready that I can do this. Choosing to trust the process to get here and that everything else will follow.
I get a similar reaction when I tell people I am a triathlete and live in Chicago. The first response is always, ‘in the winter too?’ Well, yes, I even train in Chicago in the winter. It’s hard enough to pack up and leave my family for a week of training away and I can’t imagine leaving them for the whole winter to train in a warmer climate. And yes, you are correct that a winter in Chicago means lots of time inside on the bike trainer, lots of time on a treadmill and lots of time spent in the pool at the gym. But as a triathlete who spends their winter in Chicago, I feel as fit as I’ve ever been.
Over the last few months my focus has been on training and preparing for the race this Sunday. I mentioned my new coaches Jen and Liz in my last blog, and there has been a new level of intensity in my workouts and my 2-3 hours of workouts a day generally leave me exhausted when I finally get into bed every night. But at the same time, I go to sleep anxious and ready to get up and do it all again the next day. I guess that’s how you know that you really love what you do. Pair that with my ever-supportive husband and the cutest little boy running around and I’d say it’s a pretty good life.
Speaking of the cutest little boy, Dallas is a thriving 15 month old. He is cruising along on his feet. A silly boy who loves to be chased and tickled with a laugh that can make any day better. He learns something new everyday and, I’ll just start with the motherly bragging now, that he knows about 15 different animal sounds. We are currently working on having him say ‘USA’ when we point to the eagle in his animal book. I guarantee that when I see him along the race course on Sunday with his GO MOM GO onsie on, I’ll forget about any pain I’m feeling and move just a little faster.
There’s been a good amount of travel these past few months as I continue to speak around the country. I gave a TEDx talk in Vail in early January and loved the challenge of it. You can see it at Melissa Stockwell, TEDx. I am also very fortunate to have some sponsors that believe in me as an athlete and I often travel for various media and sponsor obligations. I am a lucky girl and not a day goes by where I don’t feel incredibly thankful to be alive and live this life I do. Brian, Dallas and I made a visit up to Trek bikes a few weeks ago and I got a bike I've only dreamed about until now. Check it out below and see for yourself what a beauty it is. It's safe to say no one will mistake what country I am from as I ride by! Thank you Trek!
The race on Sunday is my last chance to earn my spot for Rio later this year. I am going up against a field of 8 athletes in my class and need to be near the top to claim my spot. My good friends and teammates, Hailey and Allysa will also be racing. Hailey has already earned her spot on the team but it’s Allysa and I who will be racing each other for that final spot. Later this year, there will be invite slots granted to a few athletes and the hope is that all three of us end up in Rio. But it’s no secret that both Allysa and I want to beat each other and earn our respective slots on Sunday. We’ve both been training hard, our times are all incredibly close and we will both give it our best shot to get to that finish line first.
I truly feel the most prepared I’ve ever felt going into a race. My training has been spot on and I have a team behind me that supports me both on and off the race course. Many of them will be on the sidelines cheering me on this weekend. And last, an article by Team USA that came out today about my journey to this point and one that I am very proud of. Melissa Stockwell Aims For Her Own Rio Paratriathlon Spot
I am calm. I am confident and I am ready. I can do this.