Dateline: Sunday, Aug 28, 2011.
Scott completed the Chicago International Distance Triathlon.
I had a great time with my family downtown. We walked a bit more than I’d like. We got down to the Hilton Hotel (the Chicago Tri sponsored hotel) right before lunch. We checked in, and then walked to Macy’s for lunch. I’m a big fan of the Seven on State quick serve restaurants especially Rick Bayless’s Frontera Fresco. MMM… Tacos. Probably not the best idea for a pre-race meal, but so worth it. Then, we walked back to the Chicago Multisport Expo to pick up my race packet, get marked, and attend the course talk. I skipped about 1/2 of the course talk due to off-timing of the my lunch and the schedule. Luckily, the course didn’t change from last year, and I was able to revisit my notes from last year which calmed the pre-race jitters. Speaking of pre-race jitters. They started a week before the race. I could sense the tenseness, and I’m sure my family could sense my distracted mind. I was focused on the race. I had difficulty even meditating to calm myself down. After attending, the expo. we walked to Millenium Park, had a great dinner at Harry Caray’s, and then visited Chicago Summer Dance.
My main Triathlon Goal is to break 3 hours and be above the average. That hasn’t changed. However, I took note of my last year’s time and incorporated my training times, and came up with these goals:
Swim: 35 min (my 2010 swim time)
Tran 1: 7 min (my 2010 time)
Bike: 85 min (17.5 mph my 2010 bike avg)
Tran 2: 5 min (my 2010 time)
Run: 56 min (9 min miles. pace run during 2011 training pace)
Total: 188 min
Obviously, this is above 3 hours. So, I created a stretch goal to finish under 3 hours:
Swim: 32 min ( quick swim)
T1: 5 min
Bike: 83 min (18 mph)
T2: 3 min
Run: 55 min (8:40 min miles)
How did I do?
In order to get a good spot for transition, I woke up at 3:40am to get out the door about 4:10am and make my way over to transition which opens at 4:15am. Before transition set-up, I like to shower to wake-up. I also want fresh ice for my water bottles, and I like to eat a pre-race breakfast of a banana and a cliff bar. I always bring too much stuff with me, just in case, to transition. My suggestion is only bring what you need. I don’t need an extra set of running clothes. Although, I don’t know if I will listen to this advice in the future. I like to be prepared in the event of rain or just some odd occurrence. It was a windy morning, and there was a rip-tide warning for the beach. So, I was starting to get mentally prepared to be battered during the swim.
My wave for the race wasn’t until 9:06am. So, instead of watching the sunrise and the first heats, I met my brother in the transition set-up and we walked back for a little pre-race Bagel. Next year, if I have a late start again, I think peanut butter on a bagel will be an awesome breakfast choice. I then went back to the room, and tried to sleep. That didn’t happen, but I did walk through the race twice using visualization techniques to help prepare myself. That was very helpful.
The 1.5 KM Swim:
It always takes me a while to get my wet-suit on. So, I like to get to the swim-start about an hour before my race time. This gives me some time to relax. It gives me some time to put on my wet-suit which takes me about 20 to 30 minutes to do. Then, I get some time for photos and then off to the chute. Waiting in line is fun and exciting, but still stressful. Both last year and this year, I experienced an unexpected swim-shock. Its really difficult to see in Lake Michigan especially when its choppy and wavy. I’d categorize myself as a strong swimmer. Yet, when swimming with a big group of other guys all starting to swim, there’s no room. I don’t position myself in the front. I position myself in the middle. Maybe I should change that next year. By being in the middle, you have wait for the front of the line to start. So, the first 100 yards or more, I swim freestyle with my head above water so I can see where I’m going. Its similar swimming style when you try to swim freestyle without goggles.
Combine the crowded swim, with not being able to see, with a changed swimming style, and the adrenaline of a competitive race, and you get my heart rate racing super high and consequently my breathing was uncharacteristically hard. In fact, my thoughts in the first 1/4 of the race, are Why the heck am I doing this to myself again? What’s the benefit of doing this triathlon thing again? So, I can scare myself and swim in a lake with a bunch of other people, Why?
After I get to the buoy turn-around, I know that I’m 1/4 of the way done with the swim. so, I usually settle down. For some reason, I didn’t settle down as much. It took me unbelievably long to get into a rhythm. I am normally a breath every 3rd stroke swimmer in the pool. However, in the lake, I turn into a breath every other stroke. In addition, I know my form was off. I was not feeling the water. It felt foreign. I know I was not stroking the way I can. I think more practice in the wet suit is required. As I’m going along, I’m thinking I have to get my stroke back, and I’d break into a little bit of a sprint, then I’d have to stop and do a little breast stroke to see where I’m going, then do the whole sequence over again. One part, I’m glad I practice is cleaning my goggles while in