This has been my favorite race to date. I don’t know if it was because I was racing in my home city, Chicago, or if it was the hype that surrounded this race, but I had a great time. Initially the Chicago Tri was not in my race plan for this year, but fortunately my friend Daisy signed up so I decided to join her.
Our weekend started off by heading to the city Friday night for a friend’s Golden Birthday. It was a fun night, but we took it easy and were asleep sometime after midnight. Daisy’s brother was kind enough to let us crash at his place in Wrigleyville for the weekend, which I am very thankful for. Once we woke up on Saturday we started to make our way to Michigan Avenue to the Hilton which was were the expo and packet pick-up was. We went in the middle of the day so it was not crowded. We heard though that the busiest times were the first hour and last hour. We picked up our packets and made our way into the expo where we shopped around. I love expos because you can get so many discounted products! I picked up some Clif Shot Blocks and I purchased the Stick! (Best purchase ever!) For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Stick, it is a stick (haha) that you use to roll out your muscles. I have definitely been putting it to good use. Once we grabbed our shirt and cap, we got body marked, walked around a bit more, then headed out for some lunch.
The later part of Saturday consisted of a quick run down Lake Shore followed by stretching and rolling out our muscles. I also hopped in an ice bath for 10 minutes to further recover my muscles. We then met up with some friends at the Cheesecake Factory for dinner. I ordered pasta with shrimp, it was very scrumptious, but I only ate a small portion because the Cheesecake Factory is notorious for HUGE portions. We then headed back and watched some TV before we passed out.
4:00AM rolled around and it was race day! I swear I woke up every hour freaking out, looking at my phone to make sure it was not past 4. Oh how I love a good nights rest, ha! For breakfast I just had a bowl of cereal, nothing special. We quickly got ready, I made sure I had everything, we grabbed our bikes and headed out on Lake Shore at 4:30AM. This ride on the path next to the lake might have been my favorite part of the day. It was dark and quiet and it was neat to see all the triathletes on bikes converging together, everyone was excited and in a good mood, despite how early it was. I couldn’t help, but smile.
I am not sure when we arrived, but the ride to transition was around 6 miles, a good warm up! We were early enough to find a good spot on the rack, but I felt like I was in a rush. Since we were the third wave, we were scheduled to be in the water at 6:14AM. Because of this I should have been walking to the swim start well before I actually did. Before I made my way there I had to set up my transition, get my tires pumped, since I forgot my pump, and use the bathroom.
This is where things got hectic. Daisy and I had a little bit of miscommunication and I headed down to the swim start while she waited for me by our bikes. Once I got closer to the start I noticed my wave already lined up and I thought I was going to miss my start! I started running to the gear check, dropped my bag and ran back to get in line with my wave. My heart rate was up and I was looking for Daisy thinking she was going to miss it, but thankfully she was not far behind me and we were just in time. Yikes, that was a close one.
We were in right on schedule, just as the sun was coming over the water. Such a beautiful setting! The swim start was an in water start and the sprint course was a a 750m swim straight up Lake Michigan in Monroe Harbor. Our wave, 20-24 men and women, jumped in the water and were quickly sent on our way. I decided to start in the middle, up front. I did not want to be on the inside because that is where the waves are the worst, due to the wall there. This swim was tough. I battled with the waves as well as two other swimmers that I was caught between. I felt like a pinball between these two, haha. I exited maybe fourth or fifth for the women in my age group, but not far behind. The run from the swim exit to transition was not fun, plus the hill I had to run up to get to my bike was not friendly either.
First transition was great, my time was greatly improved from my last triathlon. I was out on the bike in no time.
The bike portion was a ride up Lake Shore Drive then back down, my computer clocked it at 13.8. There were no big hills, a mostly flat course. I enjoyed the views and tried to take it all in, while keeping a good 18.6 mph pace.
Second transition, nothing exciting here.
Out into the run I go. I think I mentally psych myself out during this leg. I cannot seem to push myself to perform at my best, which is frustrating, but with more practice I will get better. I went into the run in third place for my division and just ran my own race. Daisy passed me a little over a mile into it and I gave her some words of encouragement and then just waited until I saw the finish line! Once it was in sight, I sprinted and was in at 1:32:42.
I came in 6th in my division and overall I was very happy with my race. I keep improving, which is all I can ask for.
Post race was fun. Daisy and I went back down to where the swim was to grab my bag, change clothes, and to find out when we could go back in transition to get our bikes. We watched some of the international distance racers and fortunately we were able to get into transition pretty early. We sat and watched people heading out on their bikes, cheering them on. We decided to head back up to the finish to get our free food! The burgers were good and hit the spot for me. At this point it was getting hot and even though we wanted to watch the professionals race we headed back up to Wrigleyville, exhausted.
Thoughts on the event, awesome. Everything was extremely organized, the biggest plus…no wait on bathrooms! Hahah I will do this race next year and every year as long as I am still living in the Chicago area. I hope everyone else who raced in this had a great time and really enjoyed themselves!
Bikes on bikes on bikes
Post Race Shot Ha!