The Chicago Triathlon!?
WOW! I can’t believe how long it’s been since my last post when I said I had two more triathlons to do in the next six weeks. I’ve been in the midst of my last ten-week term of grad school, changing jobs and training at work, and training for a longer-distance triathlon. I guess sometimes it’s hard to write about being fit and busy when you’re living it.
But, since tomorrow is the Litchfield Triathlou, my first Olympic-distance tri, i figured I’d better post a recap of the Chicago Triathlon I did two weeks ago.
First of all, let me just say that it was an amazing experience. There was a LOT of walking. On race day, Stacy and I had over 20k steps not including the actual race. And the transitions were really far apart, which added to the overall race time. I mean, when you got out of the swim, you had to go .5 mile to get to your bike! But the energy in Chicago was palpable. I felt so privileged just to be a part of it, let alone to finish middle of the pack in just about everything. The end result was a resounding success, but one part of the race has me scared to death for tomorrow.
Yep, that picture about sums it up. Now, let me preface this by saying that the swim is my strongest event in training. I could swim forever if I didn’t run out of time, and my times don’t seem to change much, even when I add distance. For example, I can swim .5-miles in the pool in about 16 minutes. Two days ago I swam a mile in 36 minutes. But when I get into the cold, open water, I freeze up.
This is a real thing. My body is warm because of my wetsuit, but when I put my face in the water, everything clenches and I can’t exhale. It throws off all my rhythm and, after a few strokes, I end up treading water just to catch my breath. People who deal with this all say that it takes about 15-20 minutes to get acclimated. Well, that’s fine if you’re in an Ironman race and expecting to be in the water for 90 minutes, but not in a sprint that should only take 15 minutes! I guess you can tell where this is going. In this race, the .5-mile swim took my 38 minutes! That’s just not okay. And the rest of the day I was focused on the triathlon I am doing tomorrow and wondering how I’ll make it through double the distance in what will likely be colder water.
So I did some research and gathered some ideas and made some plans. In the end, there’s not much I can do unless I want to stick my face in a bucket of ice water before I get in the water. Don’t think I’m not considering it!
The bike was awesome. I had such a wonderful time out there on Lake Shore Drive. I tried to keep reminding myself of where I was and to enjoy the energy of the city (I love the city in short bursts!). Coming back around for mile 14 and 15, facing the skyline, I felt like I could take on the world. One thing was resoundingly clear, though. I need a new bike. Trust me when I tell you that of the 9,000 people racing, there might have been 100 mountain bikes, maybe even fewer than that. It really makes it so much harder. It does make me proud to be at an almost 16mph average on a hybrid bike, but wouldn’t it be cool to hit 20 mph???
Well, everyone who has been following me knows it’s my least favorite of the events. But on this day, running along the lakefront, beside the Shedd Aquarium, I had a blast. It wasn’t my fastest time, but I didn’t care. People were so encouraging and impressive–I wanted to put them all in my pocket and take them home with me.
It was a hot and humid day, and it really did take a lot out of us. In fact, remembering back to that moment, I find myself even more terrified about tomorrow. EEK!