Chicago Triathlon - International Course - Triathlon

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Chicago, Illinois
United States
Life Time Fitness
65F / 18C
Total Time = 2h 54m 50s
Overall Rank = 1092/3043
Age Group = 30-34
Age Group Rank = 156/306
Pre-race routine:

Another year, another sign up for the Olympic Tri! Similar to last year, I made sure that nutrition and gear check was taken care of the week prior to the race. Did my course briefing on the Friday prior to the race, so for Saturday I had enough time to lounge around, ride my bike down to the transition area for bike drop off, another round of window (and actual!) shopping around the tri expo area, and finally get a much needed deep tissue massage at my favorite massage spot in the city! Arrived home around 7 pm to cook some pasta for the last carb load of the night before I started to gather up all my nutrition and gear into my good ole trusty TYR bag. Ended up going to bed around 11 pm that night.

The following morning I consumed 2 eggs, and some waffles for breakfast around 4 am. My friend who was doing the race with me had his girlfriend drive us to the southern entrance of the Transition area. Great, I'm finally here and ready to rock!! Except not really..this is where things started going wrong. When I was checking into the area, I realized that I had forgot to apply my race tattoo the night before! No biggie, I would just tell the person to mark my age group and also mark my shoulders with my bib. Having taken care of this, I wandered to my bike, and started setting up my towel along with my gear. My friend who was doing the race with me was a few waves south of me (I was in wave 10) and we planned to walk to the swim start together. I had just bought a new smartwatch this past season and I was dying to use it to record the full triathlon experience. Between that and generally being excited and somewhat nervous, I walked out of the transition area in sandals with my gear check bag that included my phone, the 2017 triathlon shirt that was provided as part of package pickup (to put on after the race if it gets cold), a GU gel that I was going to consume 15 minutes before swim start, and my wetsuit and goggles in tow. I was already nearing the swim start, after having used the potty when I realized that "oh crap, I forgot my swim cap!" At this point I started freaking out, because I knew that not having the swim cap meant automatic DQ. At this point I still had about 30 minutes to swim start, and I was thinking about turning back and walking all the way back to the transition area to retrieve my cap when I ran into another friend who was doing race who told me that there was swim solutions near the swim start and they should have extras! Lightning couldn't strike twice right ?! As such, I rushed to the swim start and luckily they had spare caps for my age group. Now it was time to do my gear check, so I went there and checked in my bag, completely forgetting that I was still wearing sandals at this time..anyhow, I realized this within moments of checking in the bag so I asked them whether I could still check in my sandals in the same bag. They just told me to place those in a separate bag and mark my bib number and name. Finally I was free of everything except my swim gear! I was able to put my wetsuit on in less than 5 minutes, and went to the swim start, joining wave 10 with about 20 minutes to spare. Finally after all this, I realized that I had forgotten to take out the gel from the gear pack!! Sigh. I guess I'll start this race without my nutrition. This whole incidence which I've dubbed "comedy of errors" left my mind at unrest, so I had to calm myself down before the actual start of the race.
Event warmup:

Did some light stretching of my shoulders before and after putting on the wetsuit.
  • 42m 7s
  • 1500 meters
  • 02m 49s / 100 meters

Terrible, terrible swim. I had taken swim lessons this winter with hopes of doing a better swim than last year's 36 min leg. From all accounts, my swim times in the pool have gone down, and I've been swimming more frequently as well. The water was a lot more choppy, and I think what affected me was both my technique which has devolved into long overgliding strokes which don't work out too well in the choppy waves. I didn't feel like I pushed particularly hard, but gave about the same effort on the swim as last year. I was surprised that I came out of the swim 6 minutes slower, and I knew I had to make time on the bike and the run in order for me to push under 3 hours.
What would you do differently?:

Get back to swim basics. Interval swims mixed with long swim sessions, and more frequent training in choppy lake waters.
Transition 1
  • 05m 40s

I've generally done a very solid T1 in the previous few years, and this one was no exception. I immediately removed my garmin watch which was tied around my wetsuit prior to removing both sleeves of the wetsuit, all of this done while I was hammering it down the red carpet to T1, passing other triathletes along the way. Didn't stop running until I reached my bike, from which point I was very efficient with switching out of my wetsuit, putting my helmet and sunglasses on, and consuming 1 full gel along with a few gel blocks and a few swigs of my gatorade.
  • 1h 12m 18s
  • 40 kms
  • 33.20 km/hr

Started out flying on the bike leg, completing the first 6 miles in a little over 15 minutes (23.5 mph). Realized I was going with a tailwind, so I didn't want to push any harder to exhaust myself before my run. On the way back, I was averaging between 19.5-20 miles against the headwind, not wanting to push too hard. In the end I averaged 20.6 mph, which is my best solo performance so far across that distance.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing. Next year will move to a tri bike.
Transition 2
  • 02m 24s

Since I bike with my running shoes, I generally have a fast T2. Just putting my race belt on that has my bib, and consumed a few more gel blocks and took a few extra swigs of gatorade before heading out for the run.
What would you do differently?:

  • 52m 24s
  • 10 kms
  • 05m 14s  min/km

This is where having my smartwatch came in handy, because I was always measuring my pace and HR efforts. I was surprised that after 2 miles I was still averaging 8:20 miles without feeling like I was pushing extra hard (HR ~150), so I was starting to feel good towards beating not only my PR set last year but also have a shot at 2:55. I slowed down for the middle 2 miles, but then picked it back up for the last 2. As I hit that last hill and came around Columbus drive, I kicked it into full gear and gave it all I had. As I was approaching the banner, I could see that I had beat my goal time by 10 seconds!
What would you do differently?:

Post race
Warm down:

I did it! Immediately after I passed the finishing banners, I accepted one of the towels from the volunteers as well as bottled water which I started immediately consuming.I started walking and saw an ice bath to my left and gave it some thought before continuing to walk where I picked up another gatorade. At this point I was ready for the festivities to start, but was also waiting for my friend to finish his race as well.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

The uncertainties prerace certainly didn't help, but what ultimately did me in is a combination of the water conditions along with my tinkering of my swimming technique recently.

Event comments:

Great race, with top notch course organizers, and countless volunteers spread out across the course and at the finish who make the event run smoothly.

Profile Album

Last updated: 2017-08-29 12:00 AM
00:42:07 | 1500 meters | 02m 49s / 100meters
Age Group: 264/306
Overall: 2397/3043
Performance: Below average
143 HR
Suit: Zoot Z Force 1
Course: Standard course inside Monroe harbor, heading south 1/4 mile before turning around and heading nearly 3/4 mile north.
Start type: Deep Water Plus: Waves
Water temp: 72F / 22C Current: High
200M Perf. Average Remainder: Below average
Breathing: Below average Drafting: Below average
Waves: Bad Navigation: Average
Rounding: Average
Time: 05:40
Performance: Good
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Yes Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: Yes
Getting up to speed: Average
01:12:18 | 40 kms | 33.20 km/hr
Age Group: 98/306
Overall: 630/3043
Performance: Good
143 HR
Wind: Some
Course: Lakeshore drive north until end of drive, then south until hitting lower wacker. Lower wacker for a few miles in the tunnel, then the bus route south before heading back.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence:
Turns: Average Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Good Hills: Average
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 02:24
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike Good
Running with bike Good
Racking bike Average
Shoe and helmet removal Good
00:52:24 | 10 kms | 05m 14s  min/km
Age Group: 154/306
Overall: 1023/3043
Performance: Good
Course: South along lakefront path to 31st, before turning around.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 2
Physical exertion [1-5] 3
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 5