I wasn’t all that excited about doing this event. I had just wanted to be done with all events a week ago and be solidly on the taper, worrying about far fewer logistical details.
Day dawned and I wasn’t that jazzed. I was feeling “eh.”
I was also feeling like I was cheating. I got up at 7 am for a race. When can you get up that late for a race??! Left the house by 7:30am on my bike and headed down the lakefront path. Would I find transition easily??
YES! So simple! You bike right on down the path and smack into transition. Got set up, chatted with others, then I went to the other side of transition and watched the Olympic distance athletes coming on and off the bike course. I called and chatted with my husband telling him I was now getting pretty excited about doing this event.
I hung up, hung out a little longer and then started heading back toward my bike setup.
A volunteer hurried up. “Miss, transition is closed! You need to hustle.” Well shoot. I thought we had to get in between 6:30 and 8:30, not that we had to get out! Yowzers. Grabbed my goggles, swim cap and wet suit and hustled out. (Well, not exactly, I couldn’t get out one end, “you better exit the other end”.) Walked over, couldn’t get out the other end and volunteer walked me back again and busted me out!
Then start the 20ish minute walk to the swim start. Shoot I was going to eat something else – oh well. Now the sun is coming out dang it, I don’t have sunscreen on and now I’ll burn in the next hour. I started looking for solutions. Saw a Dad putting sunscreen on his kids. “Can I use a few sprays?” Sure! “Is Mom racing?” Good for her! Thanks so much! People are great. Ah, now, now longer worried about being scorched before the race even starts.
Then I saw the “clubs” area. I walked past. Oh, Chicago Tri Club is in there! I headed on in, introduced myself, talked some AND helped myself to one of the Kind bars they had on hand! Nice! Being part of the CTC is great!
But no water. Where could I find water? Another CTC person saw a tent awhile back. He’d walk me there. He wanted water too. It’s all working out!
Got back in plenty of time to get in line and start putting on that HOT wet suit. Good gravy it was warm waiting for the start.
Glad to get in the COLD water! I set myself up smack dab in the middle of my wave.
When we took off, there was some frey. I dealt with it fine. Breathed to one side for awhile, as I jockeyed for position. There were actually a couple times when I got a little aggressive to move between the 2 ladies in front of me. At one point a gal kept swiping me down my right thigh – just petting me.
Once there was a ka-boom (kick) right in front of my face. That jarred me a little. And, I kept going. Pushed myself to start bilateral breathing pretty early on. Couldn’t settle into it as soon as I wanted. Yet did eventually.
I also just had to accept that it continually felt a bit chaotic, it’s hard to get into a flow or rhythm as you’re sighting from time to time or getting bumped! We could also hear the spectators lined up lakefront just a few feet away. As we approached the end it got busier again. I needed to find my way through and found it helpful and calming to switch back to breathing on one side again.
There were steps out of the water and folks there to help us. I felt wobbly on my feet – even after only that short time in the water! Took just about a dozen steps to get my feet under me – then started jogging with my wet suit pulled own to my waist.
Jogging lake side on the red carpet with spectators lined upon my side = feeling badass! I’m a triathlete now!
Felt good running to transition. Flowed through transition as planned: took wetsuit off outside of transition, put on helmet, then did feet (shoes and socks), then gloves and glasses. Another spritz of sunscreen and out.
Run to mount like, clipped in and headed up the ramp to Lake Shore Drive! Ride was fun. Kept a decent clip. Ended up only averaging 16.8 mph. Thought it would’ve been more than that. Oh well. Felt strong. Passed a good number of people. Not that many passed me – yet the few females that did all seemed to be 46! Darn, why are the fast ones probably in ‘my age group’?! Laughing at myself.
Easy bike course, mild hills. Into transition. (I’m not good at running off the bike – so I didn’t much.) Change head gear. (To visor) Change shoes. Another spritz of sunscreen. Start watch. I’m off.
Wow. It’s a lot hotter not on top of that bike! We started off on a stretch on the grass and it felt kind of sauna-ish. Whew. Just ran what felt like a comfortable 3 mile pace! Passed quite a few people here as well. Ran around the Shedd and up the hill. I liked this route. Turn around was more than ½ way through – I love that mentally. Pretty quickly I was to 2.5 miles. Okay, finish strong! Gasp, another hill, OK, pace well. Then finished around corner. I went as fast as I could. Fun!
This went well!
Long walk back to transition. Okay, that’s a good cool down.
Packed up. Biked home. This race exceeded my expectations!
And, even though it was not the swim challenge I will be presented with, I feel ready for the swim.