The Chicago Triathlon was my first triathlon back in 2004. Since then quite a bit has changed (no longer a paralegal, don't live in Chicago, race professionally, etc.). It was good to get back and race a course that I know like the back of my hand. Plus, we had some family obligations so it was good reason to combine a family visit with a race. However, this meant a lot of running around, in Chicago traffic no less, so I felt a bit pulled in different directions which caused some stress in addition to my normal pre race anxiety. This in no way means I did not enjoy the family time but I think I enjoyed seeing people more after the race because I was totally relaxed. To that end, my attitude is under my control and I should have done a better job of handling what was really no big deal.
|Late night dinner after arrival for us. However, because of the time change I was not in a complete "low blood sugar crabby mood."|
I did all the pre race workouts, saw Andy's family and my parents and got ready to race at the very civilized time of 11:30 am on Sunday. The hotel even had a 20 yard lap pool so I had a "wake up swim" which reminded me of my swimming days. The weather was predictably humid for August in Chicago but a front was bringing in some cooler air and along with that came rain---lots and lots of rain.
|This is what Lake Shore Drive (bike course) looked like later that evening....|
In an effort to be succinct I will deviate from my normal play by play and just give you the good and bad from all aspects of the race.
*good-I did not freak out during the start when I got jostled around and hit by a few people. Unfortunately those people swam away from me a bit too quickly (see bad).
*bad-I got dropped, quickly. I tried to rally by changing my stroke tempo (kicking, not kicking, turnover faster, stronger pulls) to no avail. Andy loves the Chicago swim because he can walk alongside me the whole way. After the race I was told me arms were moving slowly---wonderful.
*good-I successfully performed a flying mount after my debacle at Rev3 Portland. It was like I "lost" my feel on that maneuver the last two races. I found my groove again with some practice.
*bad-the transition was not quite as fast as I had hoped because I decided to take my sunglasses (???) and had to get rain drops off of them. This will come into play on the bike...
*good-I pushed more watts on an Olympic distance than I ever have. It felt like crap but it should. And, I survived riding in a torrential downpour with cars whizzing by me on my right side. That was a little unsettling but I am a wimp.
*bad-Of course, I did not need the sunglasses since it was pouring. I went to put them down the front of my suit, went over a pothole and they flew into the road and were crushed. I liked those glasses.
*good-tied for the fastest T2 of the day in a field that contained a lot of ITU chicks. Do they have ITU races where they just do transitions?
*bad-I apparently left my run legs in T2 when I bolted out.
|Out of T2...I am looking at Andy, my parents and my friend Mike and saying "OMG...the rain."|
*good-I toughed it out and tried to rally to catch the woman in front of me.
*bad-I came up :30 short of catching her. When I ran out of T2 I heard someone yell that I was "still in the race." At the moment I really did not believe them. My legs felt dead. They always feel that way but there is usually a pop in my step and I feel I can push. Not last Sunday. They were just so heavy. I wish I would have believed that random person. Maybe I could have pushed just a bit more and caught her before the line. My belief was wavering at that moment.
Overall it was solid, but not great. I just did not have it physically and I think I let it affect me a little bit mentally--especially on the run. I was faster than I have ever been on the course and in pretty bad conditions. It is not where I want to be but a step in the right direction.