I made the trek to Chicago solo this past weekend. Initially the family was going to come, we thought the boys would like seeing all the racers and me finishing. But after realistically thinking about it the thought of dragging them there and waiting was too much for them. My family jokes that its crazy that I can function on my own because I tend to not overly plan or check things out before I do something–this event was a good example!
To start, I had an idea of where to park my car vs. where my hotel was but I didn’t do a bunch of research. I also didn’t realize until I was on my way and talking on the phone with my sister that there was a time difference–OOPS! Not a huge deal but was good to know! I wasn’t sure what wave I was in or what time I was starting either.
It was a weekend of many firsts for me starting with me getting an Uber. Yes, I have never used the app, taken a ride or attempted to do anything at all. So I of course goofed it all up. But after my first failed attempt my second attempt I ended up with an awesome and friendly driver. I arrived at the Chicago Hilton and there were a ton of athletes there. It was pretty cool to see so many people there for the race. I settled in and got ready for the Expo the next day.
It was strange (not bad!) to wake up to quiet in my room without little people waking me up and to get to shower without being interrupted!!! I got ready and headed downstairs to the Expo. I went to the mandatory meeting first, it was OK but for a first timer I didn’t feel like I was getting the information that I needed. It almost would have been nice to have a first timer option and a “regular” option. So then I headed to pick up my packet, it was fast, friendly, well staffed and organized. I walked back through the expo, looked at some booths, talked to some people and decided to run up to my room and drop off my stuff, then head back down. When I got to my room I realized I was missing my ID. I had it at packet pick up but had foolishly stuck it in my back pocket with my phone…needless to say I didn’t have an ID for another 2 weeks (it showed up in the mail!!). Below Pic is right after packet pick up.
I did the early bike drop off and not sure how huge of a benefit it was because I still have to go back in the morning. Not sure what the reasoning is for not being able to leave anything but your bike (that is the most expensive item you are leaving) besides things being moved around but if you told people to connect it to your bike and if you don’t thats on you, why can’t you just have one less thing to do in the morning?
Here is one view of all the bikes:
I roamed the city in the afternoon, did some shopping (of course!) and as much as I wanted to check out some amazing Chicago restaurants I decided to play it safe and eat Chipotle for dinner. I wasn’t overly nervous when I went to bed, except that I wouldn’t wake up with the alarm or wake up call (Seinfeld anyone?????)
Well there wasn’t a need to worry I was up fine, dropped everything at my bike, headed back to the hotel and laid down, then got ready and went BACK down. That’s when the nerves started–Why did I want to do this? What if I get knocked in the head and no one sees me sink? Can I change my mind? Will I be cold without a wetsuit??? And on and on and on…
It was finally my groups turn and I wasn’t sure how this was going to happen as the other triathlon I did we started on the beach (and it was madness!!) so I was one of the last ones in and the water actually wasn’t that bad (thank goodness!) and we treaded water for what felt like 30 seconds and we were off!!! It was choppy and I drank some (by accident and tasted like dirt!) but it wasn’t horrible and I felt pretty good when I got out of the water. There were volunteers helping you out and they were amazing!!!
Below is where we came out of the water.
There was a red carpet for us to run to our first transition, I was not prepared for the length—not sure what I was thinking but it was longer than I thought it would be. I got to my bike and took a little too long in transaction but off on my bike I went. I felt good on the bike but I was getting passed like crazy!!! This is definitely not my strength but I finished 15 minutes faster than my goal, so yea me!!!
Second transition went faster and I felt really good getting off the bike and starting the run. I think I started out too fast because I slowly started to loose steam. I walked at the drink stations and ran the rest of the time. I started getting anxious about just being done and was so happy to turn the corner and see the finish!!!
I did it! I finished the Tri, raised money for Save The Children and maneuvered my way around Chicago! Win, win, win 🙂
I then had to go BACK and get my bike and went back to the hotel. I didn’t hang out at the finish line long because I was still wet and felt pretty nasty so I took a nice long shower and got cleaned up. I had prescheduled a massage and facial so I headed to the spa and enjoyed it sooo much!! I was pretty tired so I got some amazing pizza from Lou Malnatis and it was AMAZING!!!
So to sum up this definitely gave me the push I needed to continue to train and look for another race…not sure which I will do but it will be next year. I am now focusing on my China Trip!!!!