Instead of writing a typical race report where we blab about how we felt on the swim, bike and run, we thought it’d be fun to do a different type of race recap of our latest race, The Lifetime Chicago Olympic Triathlon. Davey and I are both going to share 5 things that we thought were awesome about the race or what we learned as a result of competing in this triathlon.
1. When You’re Flexible and Go With The Flow, Things Work Out
As much as you plan, things don’t always go the way you want them to go on race day. We had quite a few surprises waiting for us once we arrived in Chicago.
We were greeted with gridlock traffic and a severe thunderstorm with 40mph gusts of wind. Although we stayed in the host hotel, the transition area was a 2-mile walk away. All the restaurants close to our hotel had over hour-long waits and didn’t take reservations and Davey’s tri tat got ruined and the end result looked like this:
But we can’t control the weather so we waited out the storm and ended up getting a beautiful sunset… and a very muddy transition area. The walk to transition was a good warm-up and we were glad we found out it was so far ahead of time. We ordered a pizza to-go instead of waiting for a table and we had our trusty Sharpie with us so fixing Davey’s number was a breeze.
2. We Got To Meet Andy Potts!
I mean, how much more awesome could the day before our race get?! Andy Potts was so encouraging and inspiring and it just made us all the more excited to race the next day. He even gave us some great swim advice.
3. Don’t Let Your Fears Stop You From Having A Great Race
Davey and I have trained hard for this triathlon and we both felt confident that we’d have a great race… at least until the mandatory pre-race meeting. The guy leading the meeting was really funny and entertaining and it’d give him 9.5/10 on the pre-race meeting scale, but I was scared stiff of the bike ride as a result of the meeting.
In this particular race, we’d be riding on the left and passing on the right, there would be “bumps and potholes that would rattle your bike so hard that your water bottles would fall out”, there were 5 really sharp turns that we’d have to navigate, and it would be crowded with 9,000+ other triathletes out on the course.
I worried that I’d get a flat tire and I was sure that I’d be dehydrated because my water bottles would probably fall off my bike after going over that bump he was talking about. I was scared to make the sharp turns because cornering on m bike is one my weaknesses, and I prayed that I, and everyone else, would remember to pass on the right and avoid crashing.
The whole scenario reminded me of nursing school right before we’d take a test and everyone would try to ask each other questions and stump you and it always make me feel more nervous and like I studied the wrong things and by the time the test was in front of me, I was convinced I’d get a big fat F.
But in the end, I always passed.
Guess what? Just like nursing school, none of my fears happened. NOT ONE. I nailed every one of those 5 hairpin turns and the bike was my favorite part of the race! The point is, trust your training, be positive, have confidence and don’t freak out or make stuff up in your head that most likely won’t even happen.
4. Early Start Times Rock
Chicago in August has a reputation for being hot and humid. And as the day goes on, the hotter it gets. In the past, the Sprint racers would start first, followed by the Olympic racers, leaving them to do the majority of their longer course in the heat.
Well, this year, the Olympic distance triathletes started first and by the time we were running, it was hot, but not as hot as it could’ve been. It sucked waking up at 4 am, and setting up our transition area in the dark, but it was worth it to not roast out there on the run.
Because I work till midnight at the hospital, I’m not used to working out early in the morning, so Davey and I tried to get in a few earlier workouts the week before the race, just to acclimate to swimming, biking and running before 9 am.
5. Fuel Is Important
Some people argue that fueling isn’t important when it comes to shorter distance races. I think that’s stupid. Whether you’re doing a sprint triathlon or an Ironman, fueling is absolutely necessary. Regardless of the distance, a triathlon is a TRIATHLON and if you don’t fuel properly, you’ll become dehydrated and fatigued– especially if the weather is hot and humid.
Drink water and an electrolyte sports drink, my fav is CocoHydro Sport, throughout the race and you’ll not only stay hydrated, but are more likely to avoid cramps and fatigue.
I’m still not 100% confident to drink while biking, but I made myself take a sip of water or CocoHydro every 15 minutes. When it came time for the run, I was really glad I stayed on top of my fueling during the bike and thanks to a Huma Gel and a margarita Shot Block, I was able to finish strong.