Making it a habit of posting race reports months later, but better late than never.

The race was good even though there was some serious shenanigans the night before.

SO…… Saturday drove to Chicago early afternoon just in time for the massive rain storm to come through…….naturally, I don’t have proper rain gear with me and get soaked on the walk to the hotel.  Get all checked in, rain finally stops a few hours later, drop the bike off in transition, eat food.  After dinner I was back at the hotel watching tv and about to go to sleep just before 9pm……. when for some reason I remember I FORGOT not only my wetsuit, but also my goggles, and back up goggles and swim skin. (never packing the back-up swim gear with the for real swim gear again)  Freak out for about 5 min and then decide sleep can wait, jump back in the jeep and drive almost an hour home, quick hand off of the forgotten items at the toll road exit and directly back to Chicago.  Holy hell….. going to bed at midnight, but it could be worse right?  The morning was uneventful, and I end up having way more time than I need.  I was glad didn’t turn in my hotel room key, because being able to go back to the hotel and lounge for a few hours was great.  Watched a little tv, stretched, and avoided the general craziness of pre-race port-o-potty lines.  I should have thought things through a bit more and took full advantage of having the hotel.  In hind sight I could have got a decent warm up in at the hotel fitness center instead of just the walk to the start and a few running drills in the grass.  The amount of people and traffic made a proper warm-up not really an option.  It was also really humid so any running would cause massive sweating and a massive struggle to get the wetsuit on.  But on to the swim.

OOOOHHHHHH the swim.  Water was……. rough.  Think middle of the ocean in a storm rough.  At least 2 foot rolling waves that came in hit the wall and then came back at you from the other side.  It was crazy, swimming up waves, down waves, taking a breath and inhaling waves.  The actual start was not very good, lots of people in a small space so it took a while to find a hole.  After the turn around I wasn’t seeing a lot of orange swim caps that I started with and kept catching other waves ahead of me so I figured I was either in between the fast and slow pack from my wave or it was just going really well.  At this point I was also pretty sure that driving 2 hours round trip for the wetsuit and goggles was the best idea ever, especially when I got to the really rough water and massive clumps of sea weed.

After the swim there was a 1/4 mile run to transition.  That time was included in my swim time.  My watch said about 29 min when I got out of the water and the results have me at 32 for the swim.  Transition was a little slow with a nice run up hill to my rack and through the mud pit from all the rain the day before, but I was pretty happy to see the majority of the bikes from my wave still sitting in transition.   The bike went really well, although along with forgetting my wetsuit I forgot my drink mix as well.  Luckily in the race bag they gave a sample of gatorade endurance formula mix.  I used it before so just tried not to make it too concentrated and I went with that.  It worked pretty well.  There were really fast parts on the bike and some slow sections from the headwind.  But given I was going into this race with a big question mark about how the run was going to go due to a hamstring issue, the goal on the bike was just ride as fast as possible.  Results have me riding 1:14 and avg 20mph.
Started the run out easy.  Didn’t really pay attention to the watch at all, I felt good, but didn’t want to over do it early on, so I ran a bit more than a jog.  Just before the turn around I was still feeling pretty good.  My hamstring issue was not making an appearance so far, so I decided to pick it up on the way back.  I started to get some little cramps in my side so it got a little slow for a few min while I ate some salt and water.  After that I felt good again and ran hard.  It was pretty warm on the second half of the run when the sun came out, and I was surprised that I didn’t die like usual.  I ran 55:55 9min/mile so that was pretty good for not expecting to be able to do more than jog.
Total time was 2:48:07, I was 12 out of 156 in my age group, 53 out of 781 women, and 553 out of 2708 overall.  So pretty good.  Glad I went and did the race.  The race in general has gotten a lot better with the changes they made, especially since there were 9,000 people racing that day so pleasantly surprised that it wasn’t a complete disaster like the first time I ran that race.