Transitions opened at 5:30 am and the race was at 7 am. We left our house at 5:30 hoping to get there by 6:15 am. The commute was beautiful down Lake Shore Drive however we noticed the waves were crashing into the walls really hard and that definitely got my heart racing. As open water swimming totally scares me, i definitely was freaking out at this point. Last year, i participated in my first tri however because of high levels of e.coli it ended up being a dualathon with run/bike/run.
After setting up my transition area, we walked over to the lake to find that the waves had really picked up. We started late as the officials kept changing the swimming route. The guy that was assigned to swim the elements before the horn said it wasn't going to be pretty.
SWIM: We made our way to waist high water and when we were in there, I could tell the waves were going to be over my head. The water was quite warm so that was a plus. Once the horn sounded, we headed out towards the buoys and the waves were right at my face. At this point, I was totally freaking out and every time i went to touch the ground, it was too deep. I also had a few of those freak out moments where where i told myself "i can't do this!.. and " the rescue squad is going to have to save me." Swimming in a pool with clear water and lines at the bottom is a lot different than this. To top it off, i got nailed in the face by this girl and then a few seconds later, she pushed off of me like i was the side of the pool.... SERIOUSLY! Well, the swim wasn't very long and i was pretty pathetic but finished. I really didn't get into any type of rhythm but i was ok with that.
BIKE: We had to run ~200 yards to the transition area. The transition went fine. I left a lot of sand on my feet but it didn't seem to be an issue. I chose to slide on a running skirt over my tri suit with a tshirt. (I was really happy with that choice). Once i got going, the bike ride was awesome. I definitely got into a grove and passed a lot of people. They had our route go down the Midway Plaisance after passing Mary and ending with a loop around the Science and Industry Museum. Last night, i read through a great picture book about the Columbian Exposition of 1893 and it was really cool to imagine what that same street would have been like over 100 years ago, with all the visiting country's buildings lining the streets. Click here for a great little uptick on the fair courtesy of my friend. (thanks josh, hope you don't mind). Anyways, I shaved 7 minutes off of the bike leg from last year and LOVED the scenery. Also, the older guys that started 4 minutes behind us didn't start passing me until i was at mile 4, so i was really happy about that. Oh, i do want to add that i did get really mad at this one girl who kept passing me and then would slow down for water right after passing. This was so frustrating but she was dead after the bike and i passed her in the beginning of the run leg.
RUN: As I don't clip into bike shoes, the second transition was really easy. I threw on a hat as my hair was a mess. The run was uneventful. Of course, my legs were jello but was able to push through and only walk once. The volunteers for the race were amazing. During the one time i "tried" to walk, this cute volunteer starting yelling my number telling me that 'if i wanted to walk, i should walk the malls.' A little harsh but it got me laughing and i picked up the pace. LESSONS LEARNED: I really need to hydrate more post race! I drank so much gatorade the night before but didn't after the race and got a huge migrane later today. NOT FUN! also, i think pigging out on mcdonald's breakfast sandwicheS after isn't the best idea either. Although very tasty, my body disagreed. I also much confess, i had a coke with my breakfast sandwicheS. It was a miserable afternoon.
OVERALL: I loved my tri-suit and the outfit i picked for the bike and run. The swimming was highly stressful and I hope for NO winds at my next triathlon. I truly enjoyed the experience and love the sport. The rush of doing something that you once thought was impossible is exhilarating and seeing your family at the finish line is icing on the cake.