Chicago Triathlon 2012

Well, after months and months of training and planning, the Chicago Triathlon is behind us. I completed my first International/Olympic/Full distance, and I am so freaking proud of myself. It was an amazing day--one that I will never forget. Considering that I only started running about 3 years ago, and have had numerous setbacks over the years physically, this was a HUGE accomplishment for me. I feel like I can do anything!

We got up bright and early at 3:30am on Sunday, and picked up Kristen (who decided to do the Sprint the night before--she's amazing!) and Andrea, who has been my trusty training partner for the last several months. We planned for rain, so when setting up my transition area, I made sure to cover all my things with a trash bag. We met Shaun down there, and when the 5 of us were set up, we headed to the starting line. Fuzzy and Shaun were participating in the Triple Challenge (more on that later) so they were in the first wave taking off at 6am. We watched them take off, and ran into our friends Ryan, who was doing the Sprint for the 2nd year, and Erin and Roger Payton (Roger was also doing the Sprint) and chit chatted before Andrea and I took off for Shaun's hotel room for a little downtime. I was really happy that he let us crash there for that hour--having a non-port-o-potty bathroom was a treat. We headed back to the start a little before 8am. I was to take off at 8:18, Andrea at about 9am. We ran into our friend Ever, and chatted with her before I joined my wave group. It's amazing that at an event will SO many participants and spectators, that somehow we managed to see so many friends. I love it. I got into my wave group and was ready for action.

Just as I was about to get into the water, I heard Fuzzy call my name. He had just finished his Sprint distance and was about to prep for the International. Seeing him gave me such a boost! Then we got into the water, which was GLORIOUS, and took off! The swim is by far my favorite of the 3 legs. I get into a zone and really just enjoy it. When we made the turn to go North, the sun was really bright, since I breathe on the right, so I got into a vibe of closing my eyes to breathe, but opening them to sight where I was going. Since I've been a spectator the last 3 years with Fuzzy, I know how easy it is to find your athletes in the water, but I didn't know how easy it would be to hear people. I swim with earplugs, and all I heard in the water was a bunch of blurry things, so I figured that if anyone found me, I would miss them. But then, clear as day, I heard Andrea call my name, so I looked up and saw her waving and waved back! It was so cool! Then a little bit later, I heard sweet Fuzzy calling my name, and there he was, with his wetsuit over his shoulder heading back to the starting line. What a boost! Seeing the finish of the swim was exciting too. Eye on the prize! When I got out of the water, I heard Ever call my name, so I waved, then hopped into the port-o-potty right at the exit. I hope that she got some comedic photos of me coming out. I wish I had taken just a second to do some dorky poses for her at the portopotty. COMEDIAN REGRETS.

Transition 1 went pretty well. The bike part was what I was most nervous about, but all in all, it was ok! I mean, I was slow, and it was tough with all the hills on Lake Shore Drive, but I wasn't miserable. I just kept running songs in my head and counting down the streets as I passed them. On the bike, Fuzzy passed me, Andrea called out to me once, and I called out to Shaun. It was so exciting to see them! Towards the end of the bike, it started to sprinkle, which made me nervous--I'd never biked in the rain, and also, I had neglected to re-cover my running shoes etc with plastic, cause at the start of the bike it was sunny at hot! Then the wind blew in, and things started getting gnarly. I tried to stay focused on the road on the bike, but I think I went to another place in order to get through it. I don't have a lot more to say about the bike leg--it was kind of a blur.  I was on the bike a little less than 2 hours.

T2 went ok, too. I changed socks and shoes, which were only a little damp, and I took off. It took me a while to get my legs back--biking really does a number on me--so I started by walking a lot. Running through cheering spectators really was fun, so it motivated me to push it. I ran more than I thought I would be able to, but I did have to take some walk breaks in there to take care of my knee that was starting to twinge. Andrea caught up to me at one point, so we checked in and chatted, and then she took off! The run was around museum campus, and it was so pretty. It rained the entire time, but yet, I didn't seem to notice, with the exception of having drenched wet feet that blistered a ton. After I passed the turnaround point a little past mile 3, I saw Shaun, and we checked in, and a little bit later, there was Fuzzy! We cheered for each other, high fived, and kissed, then I continued North and he South. The people around me were all like "Awww" and one guy behind me said "MY girlfriend is at Starbucks right now..." It was awesome. I love that Fuzzy and I are a powerhouse athletic couple--he really inspires me every day. There is no way I would even consider that I could do a triathlon without him. Once I passed the 6 mile mark, I tried to run the rest of the way to bring it home. There were hardly any spectators at that point, because of the rain, but I did my best victory pose as I crossed the finish line. They sadly, didn't call my name, which was a little disappointing, since it was such a huge accomplishment.

My final time was 4 hours and 20 minutes, so I was right on target with when I thought I would finish! Andrea met me at the finish area--she's amazing and finished in 3:17!! WHAT A MACHINE!  Then the bottom fell out, and it started pouring rain. It was cold! We saw Shaun finish, and then waited for Fuzzy to finish. I am so amazed with him--what a champ!  His last few miles were in that terrible rain.  We took some finishers photos, and then ate a burger and had a beer in the rain, which was the best meal I have ever eaten. I was starving for the last half of the run, so that meal was a huge motivator for me. At some point, after being awake for 9 hours, Gatorade and energy chews just lose their appeal and you just want some REAL food.

Back to the Triple challenge. Only about 87 people completed all 3 triathlons in those 2 days.  Considering that Fuzzy has only been running and athletic for the last 5 years, he is really amazing in that he KILLED that triple challenge. I know it had to have been hard, but man, what a feat! He is my hero in so many ways! Congrats Fuzzy--this was your biggest athletic achievement so far!!  You did so great!!  I am glad that Fuzzy and Shaun have each other to motivate and support and push each other with these events and challenges.

I don't have any photos of us from yesterday, since everyone was competing, but here is a pic of Fuzzy and I before the Super Sprint Saturday:

Chicago Triathlon SuperSprint 2012

Today, I am REALLY sore. My left knee hurts, my back hurts, I can barely move or think straight. I slept a lot, and am going to be easy on myself tonight (and at Apes--that dance is going to be killer). But stronger than the pain is the thrill and happiness and pride I feel for completing this huge goal. Thank you to everyone for your support over the months and for reading all my training posts, as boring as they were.

Big shout-out to Andrea, too, who was the best training partner a girl could ask for. No way do I like waking up at 5:30am, especially to work out, but yet, she got me out of bed and running day after day. If it weren't for her, I would have probably talked myself out of a lot of training, and the Tri would have been a lot harder. Plus, it was great to spend so much time with her! This was her first triathlon in 8 years and 2 kids later. She's amazing!!  Andrea--you ROCK!

Here's my official dealies:

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Also, I finished 194 out of 203 in my gender age group! WOOHOO! I WASN'T LAST!!!! Small victories!

This was the 30th anniversary for the ChiTri, so Andrea asked if we will do it again at the 50th anniversary. I don't see why not, right? Here is our Finishers medal:

Finishers medal

So now is the question, what's next? I feel SO fit and good about myself mentally and physically right now, that I want to keep it going. I am still on the fence about how much more running my body can handle (I would like to keep my knees as long as I can), so we'll see. Fuzzy is flirting with the idea of doing another marathon, and the phrase Iron Man keeps popping up in his conversations. I don't think I could ever do something that intense, but I definitely want to keep it going and stay active. For now, though, I am going to let myself rest and do nothing. Which for me means, tons of dance rehearsals, and another race (the mud run Hell Run) this Saturday...



So proud of you. And you did your first full triathlon faster than I did back in 2009. What a rockstar.

Woot Woot! Congrats, Triathlete. We're so proud of you and Fuzzy!

Hooray! Congrats Erica! I'm totally jazzed that you did it! I'm really going to have to step it up and train so I can do the full thing with you next year!

Thanks guys!
And congrats to you, Ryan!