Lake Zurich Triathlon – 7.13.14

17 Jul

Gracelyn and I woke up at 5:00 and were on the road by 5:30 am for the Lake Zurich triathlon. I’ve never been to a tri that did morning-of packet pickup, but this one, we would learn, is pretty small and not too intense so it was not a big deal to arrive by 6:00 and get our gear. Plus, you couldn’t get your timing strap until day-of, so why bother?


Our stickerts for our helmets and bikes looked like they were printed on Office Max labels on someone’s home printer if that gives you any indication of the professionalism of the race. Actually, I take that back. Everything detail-wise was perfect and up to par with a big company putting it on, so I was happy to have a smaller, cheaper race without skimping on safety or quality.


Oh, and another thing. People here were WAY more serious than people at my other races. My first indication (of what will be many) was the fact that despite the 76 degree water temperature (can we say bath water?) 99% of the racers were wearing full wet suits. It wasn’t because they were cold, it was because they wanted that competitive advantage. Fast-forward to my final indication that this was pre-pro racing. 90% of the bikes were tri bikes. The expensive, $2,000 minimum kind. I was using my $400 Craigslist road bike.


Did I mention I haven’t done a race of this distance?


I thought I trained decently. I knew I probably should have trained more, but I was totally unprepared for the ass-whooping I was about to get.


I finished the almost-mile (0.93) swim in 44 minutes. It was hard, but nothing compared to my swim in Lake M on Thursday. I noticed my entire wave had passed me and most of the wave behind me. This was my first inclination that I am going to finish at the end of pack.


Ran to transition and had a decent time. Maybe because I was one of the few people not taking off a wetsuit. Jumped on the bike and I was tired. Really tired. I had some patches of 14 mph and I knew it wasn’t fast enough to keep up (but hey! I did go 21+ mph down the hills!!). My average speed was just under 16 mph. Again, I noticed I was getting passed by almost everyone and I only passed one person ever. The bike is my strongest leg so this was concerning. It should be noted that the bike portion was shortened by about 5 miles the week before the race because of some unannounced road work. That was kind of a relief to me, but then again, the bike is my best part. Why couldn’t they take some miles off the run!?
The scenery on the bike leg was notable. A couple of horse stables and some nice nature patches. Plus, it was blocked off almost completely from cars, which was nice.


Oh, and then the run. The run. My tummy was growling come run time so I had one of those goo packets. Gross.


I feel like I was least prepared for the run. This is my own fault, it’s the easiest to train for – no equipment necessary! For some reason, my legs didn’t feel quite like Jell-o as soon as I started running. I kinda feel like I might not have pushed it enough on the bike, which is sad for me, but the overall race was hard so I don’t regret that – I don’t think.


The first lap of the run was fine, lots of walking breaks for the hills, but whatever. Then, the weirdest thing happened. I saw my mom right before the second lap and noticed I was the only person continuing the loop, not going to the finish. I actually thought something was wrong, but the course was so well marked I knew I was just on the lonely trail to finishing this race by myself. That was pretty hard, mentally. Luckily the race staff were still there and supportive but it was pretty lonely. I had a lot of chats with God about how grateful I am for an able body and I asked Him to help me push through.

Melissa Run

I finally finished that second set of 3.1 miles.
Gracelyn got third in our age group – she rocks. Sadly, we don’t have a photo together. Also, there are no race photos for me to steal because this was a pretty low budget race.


Now the biggest question for myself is – do I want to strive to do another Olympic distance and really, really train? Or, should I train harder for the sprint distances?


I’ll get back to you on that, but in the meantime I’m getting excited for Beach Day on Sunday and Gavin DeGraw and Matt Nathanson at Ravinia on Monday! Stay tuned for posts on those!


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