Chicago Triathlon - Sprint Course - TriathlonSprint

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Chicago, Illinois
United States
Life Time Fitness
64F / 18C
Total Time = 1h 53m 45s
Overall Rank = 921/2015
Age Group = F30-34
Age Group Rank = 49/143
Pre-race routine:

The week before I was drinking Pedialyte to the point I was about to puke. Oatmeal with fruits and nuts for breakfast every day. Buckwheat with chicken and veggies for dinner for the last few days before the race (and, well, nice hamburger & beer on the day before... well deserved!). 90% dark chocolate every day too.
After extremely hot summer, just two weeks before the race the temperatures dropped form 90+ to 60, and water temp was below 57 degrees. Wetsuite was not an option for me (not enough time to practice with it, plus I swim breaststroke, which does not go along with wetsuite). My only option was to gather as much information about preparing for cold water, as I could. I was doing cold baths every day (20 minutes), sauna + cold shower as well. I did "cold water practice" on Saturday to see how my body would respond to the cold and the 60 degrees water actually seemed super warm. I had two caps and earplugs as well.
Also, I had toe warmers placed in my shoes to warm them up a bit after swim part.

Race day breakfast:
Oatmeal with banana, blueberries, nuts, coconut oil, protein powder, milk, honey. I took hard boiled egg and banana to have about an hour before the race (on my previous race I was suuuper hungry before I even started swim part.) Pedialyte and dark chocolate on the way to the race.

Event warmup:

Well, walking from the parking lot to the transition and then swim part was part of the warmup, really.
Jumping jacks, high knees, and 20 push-ups to increase heart rate 10 minutes before the swim part.
Dynamic stretching - arms and legs.
  • 24m 2s
  • 750 meters
  • 03m 12s / 100 meters

107/143 in age, 642/903 gender, 1,519/2015 overall

Ahhh it was great! The water did not feel cold at all - I think cold baths helped a lot, because it truly felt like nice jacuzzi bath. In my wave I was the only one (or maybe there was one/two more) without the wetsuite.
I swam breaststroke and my biggest concern was not to hurt anyone. The initial plan was to stay to the side and let the aggressive swimmers take the middle. But then the weaker ones kept swimming to the side, to the boats, for rescue and rest (I guess?) and disturbing my nice path. The middle route was clear and I took advantage of it - I felt like this whole passage was just for me, and the only thing missing were red carpet and angel music playing. Until the aggressive swimmers from the following wave came and I kicked maybe three folks (it was not strong - once I got a sense they were coming, I decided to lower the power of my kicks and kind of observe what was going on). I always said "I'm sorry", although, I am not sure they heard me.
I drunk A LOT of lake water. It was so bad I had to stop and cough it out for a moment. It happened twice, when long-arms freestylers made a huge waves passing me. I decided to pay more attention to what was going on around me, and once I saw freestyler coming, I made sure I "jumped" a little higher to catch a breath (and not water) and to focus and be careful. It worked.
Another advantage of swimming breaststroke (in addition to seeing everything and everyone around you) was that I saw everything underneath - and it was WOW! I loved the view under the water! The seaweed and whatever else was there. I decided to enjoy every aspect of the race.
It was a great swim - I did not feel tired, I enjoyed the water, it was very smooth, I truly had fun. It was more relaxing than competing.
What would you do differently?:

Well, learn front crawl. That's for sure if I want to do longer distance and improve my time. But that's a goal for next year.
Although, I truly love the breaststroke. I did not hurt anyone, which was my biggest fear. But I have the desire of better time/rank, and, therefore, front crawl has to be it.
Other than that - I don't think there's anything that would have made this part smoother.
Transition 1
  • 07m 13s

50/143 in age, 264/903 gender, 746/2015 overall

This was a crazy transition where we had to run almost 500 meters from the swim exit to the actual T1. I saw people walking it, but I run (knowing how far this is).
I only dried my feet a bit, but sock and shoes on (running shoes), and helmet, and ready to go. I rode in swimsuite.
What would you do differently?:

Maybe run faster?
  • 51m 3s
  • 24.5 kms
  • 28.80 km/hr

28/143 in age, 158/903 gender, 726/2015 overall

Ohhh the hills! There was one after another... But I managed. Passing was fine. No matter what direction I went, I had strong winds straight onto my face. That was not helping.
I did not have any water bottles with me, nor snacks. It was just biking all the way.
It felt smooth. I was, again, debating if I should ride faster/stronger, or save legs for running. And the verdict was: no matter what I do, I will hate running anyway, and I will complain at run anyway, so how about I take advantage of this great biking part, where I don't really feel my legs being tired. So I just put as much power as I could have.
I was in my swimsuite and I worried about chaffing, but nothing happened. No discomfort at all.
What would you do differently?:

When I was about to make a U-turn I did not realize how fast I was going. I started slowing down and it felt like I was slowing down, but apparently - I was pretty fast, because I'm on the curve and I don't know if I would be able to make it... And then decision: should I press my brakes (which is a no-no on the corner) or risk falling, and - eventually - put other riders at risk. I decided one brake on my the curve will not damage my bike, and mine and others' performance is more important. With that being said - for the next time I need to practice corners, and slow down harder and sooner. Which I did for the second turn, right at the end.
Transition 2
  • 02m 18s

14/143 in age, 80/903 gender, 252/2015 overall

I was surprised my legs felt like... legs. After my first Tri last month my legs felt like iron or wood pieces. So heavy and not able to move. This time they were absolutely normal and ready for the run. Even though the bike was much longer than before.
I was not changing clothing, I only left my helmet, grab my cell phone and shirt, which I put on while running out of transition.
What would you do differently?:

Maybe try faster. I was in a really good shape.
  • 29m 12s
  • 5 kms
  • 05m 50s  min/km

54/143 in age, 271/903 gender, 845/2015 overall

I HATE running. I hate, hate, hate running... But I enjoy getting better in running and this is my love-hate relationship with the runs.
I am shocked that my triathlon 5k's are better than my "regular" 5k's. I have steady pace all the race, and it's been pretty good - first two miles I was at 9:03 minute per mile.
It was hard at the end and I actually started to feel miserable. usually, the very last tiny piece of running (the 0.1) I enter super-speed mode and I just sprint it. This time I though I would puke or fall if I change anything with my pace. So once I saw the finish line, I was still doing the same. But I was happy it was already there. And the moment they called my name I actually sprint it up haha but that was just at the finish line crossing.
I loved kids, families, and volunteers cheering us up. It helped a lot.
What would you do differently?:

I decided to never drink Gatorade that is offered at water stations. In the middle of the run I was about to puke that Gatorade taste. Water only.
Nothing else. Just keep it up. And suck it up.
Have I mentioned I HATE running...?
Post race
Warm down:

I put the cold towel on my head. And grabbed banana. And all that I wanted was that goddamn medal!
I was just walking around waiting for my friend. I have a habit of not doing post-race exercises, which I should probably change.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Hmm... I think I did my best in every single piece. My unrealistic (the very maximum of my abilities) goals were still very, very close to what I achieved: 21 swim (I did 24 because I drunk water), 49 bike (I did 51, which is super close and I truly couldn't estimate biking more precisely), and 29 for running (ha! On target). Transitions - there was nothing to be done better, because the area was huge. And then the running part after the swim. So I still think I did awesome.
Best part is - I felt great after completing it, so no regrets :)

Event comments:

I think I wrote enough about this race above haha
I am extremely proud of myself, especially the swimming part - after being scared of super cold water, and also limited by "the slowest stroke" I enjoyed it a lot.

Last updated: 2015-07-27 12:00 AM
00:24:02 | 750 meters | 03m 12s / 100meters
Age Group: 107/143
Overall: 1519/2015
Performance: Good
Suit: Sport female swimsuite, nothing fancy.
Course: Northside along the Lake, in the closed harbor, so no waves, no interruptions, no curves, not even birds.
Start type: Wade Plus: Waves
Water temp: 62F / 17C Current: Medium
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Average
Waves: Good Navigation: Good
Rounding: Good
Time: 07:13
Performance: Good
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Good
00:51:03 | 24.5 kms | 28.80 km/hr
Age Group: 28/143
Overall: 726/2015
Performance: Good
Wind: Strong
Course: Lake Shore Drive northbound and then back southbound. Nice route, although, I've never thought there was so many hills on LSD...
Road: Potholes Dry Cadence:
Turns: Average Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 02:18
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes Good
Jumping off bike Good
Running with bike Good
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal Good
00:29:12 | 05 kms | 05m 50s  min/km
Age Group: 54/143
Overall: 845/2015
Performance: Good
Course: Similar course to all other 5 and 10k's in Chicago. When I saw it I thought "oh gosh, this route againnnn..." But it was fun. Part of it was on the grass. Only one hill, but nothing spectacular.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 5
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