Overall, i would like to say that this race made things really easy and I will be back.Pre-Race:
The race had a few options for packet pickup including same day if needed. I really have come to appreciate races that offer this as it can be such a time suck to travel X amount of miles round trip just to spend 3 minutes getting your packet. The store that offered week of pickup wasn't too far from work though so was able to swing and get my packet before picking up josh.
|Pedicured toes .. only way to go|
Easy drive up to Lake Zurich and parking was a breeze. They had a huge lot literally across the street from transition that we were able to park in. It was a big lot for a store that wasn't there anymore (like the size of a Target) so easy peasy! Walked over to transition and got set up with about 40 minutes till the first wave. Went to the bathroom (twice) and then got in the water for a bit. I had two friends racing so we linked up at the beach.
|Jen and I|
I was in the second wave and was delighted that I had NO issues in the water. No hyperventalating and/or freakouts. (Sadly, this shouldn't be something I am proud of considering I am going into my 5th years of tris, but it is) Got in a groove nicely. We were swimming right into the sun for the first part and sighting was marginal. However, I managed to stay fairly close to the pack but always on the left side (since i breath on the right, i have a tendency to pull to fast on the left. As much as i try to fix this, it always happens). Got to the first turn buoy when the fast people from the wave behind us started catching up. After the turn, a person literally pushed my head in the water while they were pulling down from a stroke. (think palming a ball and pushing it down). It was ridiculous but again, small victory b/c i didn't freak out! They needed more buoys on the other two lengths of the swim but plugged away and did my thing.
The home stretch of a swim always lags for me.. I totally get the "so close but so far away" feeling. Landed on the beach and ran up the small hill to transition. T1 was fast for me and onto the bike.
The bike was a series of rollers and turns. Originally, I was a bit nervous how complicated the course when we got a pre-race email from the RD and was quite convinced I would get lost. Here is a snippet of the email:
The right lane and wide shoulder of Rt. 12 will be closed for your safety and convenience. After the two right turns you will be on Ivanhoe Rd for approximately 2.0 miles. This road is open to traffic but not heavily travelled as it passes through a forest preserve. You will then make another right hand turn on to Fairfield Rd. Southbound Fairfield Rd will be closed for the 3+ miles you are on it. There are side streets that cars can sneak out on, but we will have volunteers at as many spots as possible to limit this. At the end of Fairfield Rd you will turn right on Old McHenry Rd which also will be closed to traffic. You will take this to Echo Lake Rd which is just over 10 miles into the ride.
You will turn left onto Echo Lake Rd which is slightly downhill for a 1/4 mile and leads into a right turn at Miller Rd. Please slow down and use caution. Once on Miller Rd, it becomes rolling and a little winding. After about 3/4 of a mile on Miller there is a hard left followed by a hard right which leads to a straightaway and the split between loop one and loop two of the course. As you head West on Miller after the two hard turns, there will be volunteers letting you know to go straight if you are needing to start the second loop of the bike OR to prepare to turn left if you are now completing the second loop and need to head towards the finish.
For a lemming like me, i was concerned about the complexity but there was no need to worry as the course was marked great and there were SO MANY volunteers out on the course directly traffic and us. The course was a scenic two loop course but for a slower biker like me, i totally fluctuated with my speed. I felt like it was difficult to get my momentum going b/c the turns slowed me down so much. I did however help an individual change his tire which i was proud of. He did not re-pass though so I probably should have had him sign a waiver that I couldn't guarantee my work :) Saw Jen a bunch of times on the bike course and we were in T2 together. I knew she would easily catch up so I took off before her.
Man, my legs felt like bricks! The run course was again, a two looper and once we exited the park, we were joined with the runners completing their second loop. Everyone was laboring out there and the temps were definitely hot with the sun beating down. Tried my best to shake off the bricks and got through the first mile ok. Jen caught up with me before mile 2 and we ended up running the rest of the run with her. This is the first time i have ever done this and it was so.much.fun.
|Wish i looked that graceful|
After that, being with Jen was definitely a help b/c I didn't want to run anymore. The sun was beating down and I was spent and sore and had a tiara on my head. Jen was awesome and we kept trucking through. Came through the shoot together and Scott/Josh was there at the finish line! We got a finishers certificate and I grabbed a ton of water. Drank two bottles right at the finish and then made our way to the food where I had some oranges. Took a few more pics near the misting tent and then headed home. Conveniently, there was a Sonic in the parking lot where I parked my car... so we had to take advantage. Grabbed a burger and was home and showered within an hour.
Well executed race and definitely will be back. Perfect way to celebrate my bday!