This was the first triathlon I’ve done outside of California. I knew ahead of time it was going to be hot and humid. It didn’t disappointment in that regard either. I don’t even want to look at the official time because of how bad my run was so I’m not. But let’s just say this race was full of surprises from the time I stepped foot outside my hotel to walk to transition.
Race morning went off without a hitch. Woke up got ready and packed my stuff into my transition bag. Now my wave didn’t start till 8:55AM and transition closed at 6AM. So I didn’t bother eating anything now I just finished getting ready and went to transition to get my stuff all setup. First step outside and it’s pouring rain. I don’t mean San Diego rain where it’s small drops and more of a haze of small drops either. I am talking true mid-western drops. In the back of my mind I already knew what was coming.. the rest of my day was going to be rough. So by the time I ended up in transition I was soaked. So wet course, 3 hours to kill, and the heat/humidity was picking up.
The water wasn’t as cold as it was made out to be but then again I swim in the Pacific Ocean. The water didn’t taste bad either… ha ha ha. The horn went off and almost immediately I was passing people and found some nice feet to draft off of. The pace wasn’t fast (for me) and I certainly wasn’t struggling to keep up with him so since this wasn’t a race I was going to place at I just took the swim easy does it and instead I focused on my stroke. Make sure my breathing was done right with my head down. I used it as a training swim… literally. I think I did the catch up drill at one point. I had one other person drafting off me as I felt their hands on my feet a times but it didn’t bother me since I was drafting off someone else. Since it was in the harbor they had this ramp we climbed up on to get out of the water. The guy in front of me could hardly stand upright so I held him up as we got going to transition and he thanked me for it as some other people were laughing. The guy behind me also thanked me for the draft…lol Got to love race day. Little did I know it would be a half mile run through T1!
I felt at home on my tri bike again and we flew through that fast and flat course. I was concerned at this point cause the sun was out in full force. I had some salt sticks along with some NUUN for hydration through the bike. As we approached the river to my delight we went onto lower Wacker Dr. which is completely covered so no sun.. YAY! Of course at this point my GPS on my Garmin didn’t work so I had no concept of speed, just power. I kept my power between 170-220 for most of it with a cadence of 90+. We had 4 loops of the bike course, and man I could have done that bike course ALL DAY LONG. I mean I have never been so happy on the bike just flying with what I thought was very little effort. Sadly though at the last lap all I could think about was the heat at humidity of the run and how am I going to stay hydrated. I had 1 bottle of NUUN left from the bike and some more salt sticks, figured the rest would be from water along the run course.
At this point it was basically 10:30 and the sun was out in full force and the moisture was in the air. My first mile felt pretty good I had a good pace going for my Z2 and then around mile 1.5-1.75 I started to get a bit dizzy and hot so I slowed it down and drank some water and threw some water over me from the aid station. Sadly that’s all they had so no sponges this time around like Oceanside (might have to bring some for Minneapolis). Then it just got progressively worse for me. I just couldn’t muster the energy to move past a walk without my HR jumping and getting a bit more dizzy. I suffered through the next 2 laps which at this point my teammate Forrest caught up with me and he was having some GI issue’s so we finished off the race together which was a good moral booster for me. There was no leg cramping like I had at Bass Lake which I felt was a win.
So even though this was my fastest Olympic distance yet and my 3rd ever it taught me a lot about myself. I raced out of my element and out of my state. I knew it was going to be hard going into the race after having to basically take an entire month off of training due to fatigue and over training. I came to push my limits and I feel I did, it could have been worse. As the day went on I feel they really needed another possible aid station or modify the course so that it could have ran on the sidewalk under the shade of some large tree’s. Might come back next year and do the Chicago Triathlon.