- Weather: Unbelievable. Perfect temp (62-65), no humidity and sunny. I normally would argue for clouds, but it was delicious!
- Pre-race: Arrived on site around 5am. Put air in my tires, and walked over to transition. I recognized a few faces, but I found my bike rack station and got a pretty good spot. It was up against a pole in the middle, so I had a bit more room. I did a quick 5-7 min warm up, of which I hardly ever do, but this is the year of the new and any attempt to prevent ankle pain is key! I felt pretty calm, excited, but it was kind of bizarre not to have a ton of friends on site. Of course, I chit chatted with the people around me. I didn't make it into the water, but hey, I hadn't even been in my wetsuit or had an open water practice yet so why start now? I somehow put my wetsuit on, made my way to transition, and got ready for the 6:42am start.
- Swim: 700 m. (To see the sloppy mess that the GPS recorded and more commentary, visit here. When swimming, my wrist GPS incorrectly records route and pace, but it's generally accurate on distance. It's kind of funny to look at though.) I'm so happy I got new goggles! I can't recall the brand, but they fit so snugly on my face, didn't leak, and hardly fogged. My wetsuit was a bit tight although I felt very comfortable in the water. I alternated between 2-3 strokes for every breath. The second half was swimming directly into the sun. Awesome. Thankfully they placed bright orange colored milk gallons so I was able to sight to some degree. Okay, here we go, on to the bike.
- Bike: 14.5 mi. (To see the route and more commentary, visit here.) Yes, yes. I know. It's slow. I decided to enjoy the ride while riding at a moderate pace. You have got to realize that the portion through Inverness, IL is ridiculous. The houses are mansions, and the properties are estates. So I dozed off and enjoyed the scenery. This is around mile 7. You'll note that the course takes us through Harper College, and what the heck is up with all the rumble strips?! Freaked me out! It was somewhat of a quiet course for me, as I was in wave 7 of 8 and the field was small (around 400 participants) so I didn't see many people. Very few aches, and before I knew it I was back at transition.
- Run: 4.5 mi. (To see the route and more commentary, visit here.) Okay, again, I know it's slow. This part was the reason I was or wasn't going to race. I started out feeling spectacular, especially with the post-transition heavy leg syndrome. Pace was around 11:15. Again, didn't want to push it so I could avoid ankle pain. Around mi 1.25 here comes the ankle pain! I knew what it was and other than it being annoying, it didn't stop me. I stopped to stretch twice and walked through the water stations. I pulled my pace back and just did my thing. My iPod failed and again, being towards the end of the race there weren't a lot of people racing near me so it was so damn quiet. It was just me and my mantra (edited to stay G-rated). "You're doing this, you're really doing this. You're kicking ass, this is awesome." I saw the pace on my watch, but it didn't bother me in the least. In fact, it was the easiest 4.5 miles I'd ever run because I was so happy to be there, to be racing, and be in my zone. This was totally crazy considering the longest I'd run in recent weeks was around 2 miles. (Insert R-rated mantras here.) When I hit the longer runs, I usually break it up into multiple segments. The 4.5 mi run was two 2.25 mi runs. After I finished the first segment I was all, "I've totally got this, another 2 miles? Whatever, it's in the bank! I'm so happy I didn't pull out of this race!" My ankle pain didn't go away, but I ignored it and kept on. Finishing was a huge moment for me and strangely enough I was thinking about how glad I was that it was over.
If you made it through this entire post, thanks for reading. Every race teaches me something and this was no different. I can't put my finger on it, but I'm still living off the adrenaline!
Shout out to my friends who helped me play the ping pong match and decide on this race, specifically Dan M. (cubicledad) and Coach Anne, and of course my Kevin for supporting my decision, even when I flip flopped.
I'm No Ironman, but I Still Tri.