Yesterday started off with waking up at 4am to pack up our bikes and head off to Naperville. Ryan was working the tri for PowerBar, so we needed to arrive extra early to set up his tent and such too. We stayed at his parents house as it cut our drive time in half, so my normal "race morning routine" was a little different.
Packing the car, I grabbed my bike and the helmet and shoes next to my bike. We climbed into the car, made a pit stop at Dunkin' and arrived in Naperville just before 5am.
Ryan decided we should set up our transition area stuff first and then set up his tent and such to avoid a crowded transition area. It was in that moment that I realized that my bike shoes were at his parents house.
See, I picked up my NEW Cervelo P5 from Sammy's Bike Shop on Monday, but didn't have the chance to ride it outside until Friday when we were at Ryan's parent's house. I put my shoes next to my bike, which was in the garage at the time. Ryan moved my bike inside for safer keeping (between the frame, components and wheels, it's a pretty penny)...but my shoes stayed in the garage. At 4am when I picked up the shoes and helmet next to my bike, it seemed like I had everything I would need to race.
Luckily, the pair of shoes I grabbed were Ryan's old bike shoes, so they were able to clip into my pedals on my bike. Not so lucky was the fact that his shoes are too big for me. I tried them on with socks and my feet didn't move around quite as much, but it was definitely hard to get some real power and "dig deep" with my feet moving around.
We decided I'd just put on socks after the swim, something I only do for 70.3s, but also necessary to at least semi-restrict my feet from sliding as much.
We also decided I'd wear a wetsuit this time. See? I do learn from my mistakes...I just need to stop making so many!
The Naperville Sprint Tri doesn't have the standard "waves" that most triathlons do. Basically, when you register, you predict how many minutes it will take you to complete the 400m swim and you are assigned one of four swim cap colors that way. I was placed in the same wave as Ryan, knowing full well that he would beat me by at least a minute on the swim.
The swim is also not your standard swim. Centennial Beach in Naperville is basically a quarry and you swim an "M" pattern around the buoys.
The course...note the "M" on the swim course map.
We were started 6 swimmers at a time as over 2,000 participants needed to get through this thing. It was one of the more difficult swims I've had in awhile. I was passing people, I was getting passed, my head got clobbered multiple times, I thought I was going to lose my goggles...and I started in the first wave. I can't imagine how crazy it got by the middle of the pack.
7:24. Yes, this was better than my 8:xx at Pewaukee 3 weeks ago, but that was without a wetsuit and in true open water. I truly thought I'd be below 7 minutes on this one.
T1 was not much of a confidence booster. Basically, you run from the quarry and to your bike, but mine was where the "bike out/bike in" was, so I had a lot of running to do...which was actually great since I had this wetsuit thing to take off. I zipped right out of it (those of you who have used a wetsuit know this can be a huge hit or miss part of your day!!)...but had to put on my socks before I could put on Ryan's shoes and then get on my bike.
Normally, Ryan taught me to have my shoes clipped in, which would have been extremely helpful in this case since we had to run around a roundabout before we were able to mount our bikes, and I can run much faster without cycling shoes on! So off I went, "click clack click" with many of the other triathletes. Luckily, I got on my bike pretty quickly and was already feeling like I was flying on the bike.
2:34 T1...this is 100% where I lost time in this race.
When I was in the saddle, I felt awesome on this ride. My new bike was phenomenal and, despite being on the last hard day of week 3 of 3 hard weeks, my legs felt amazing. Unfortunately, there were two hair-pin turns on this double-loop course and every time I'd have to drastically slow down for them, I'd lose quite a bit of time trying to pick my speed back up. I realize everyone else encountered the same obstacle, but I'm also realizing their feet weren't sliding around, causing the power element to decrease a bit.
I didn't let this drop my confidence. I was able to see the two girls (who ended up taking 1, 2 overall) every time we hit a turnaround, and while I counted seconds and felt like I was gaining, I knew it would inevitably come down to my run as per usual with these shorter races.
30:17 (23.8mph) bike split. Tied the winning female's split and was beat by 15 seconds by the 2nd place female. For not having my personal bike shoes, I'd say that's pretty darn good.
Heading into T2
T2. 1:01. Right there with the top girls.
THE RUN. The part of the triathlon that I look forward to the most. This course was nice as I was able to see Ryan right before mile 1. He told me I looked strong and that I was catching the other girls, which of course made me push myself even harder. I would never be able to see them as we did a neighborhood loop, but it was nice to know that I looked strong at least.
Mile 1--5:59. Sweet. This is feeling great!
Mile 2--5:58. Niiiice. Still not seeing any females, but those guys look catchable!
Mile 3--6:00. We went through a woody type area on a path and the guy in front of me took a wrong turn...and I almost did, too!!
18:37 run split. 8th fastest run split overall, 1st fastest female.
1:00:50 overall time. 3rd female by 51 seconds.
As soon as I was approaching the finish line, Ryan was yelling to me to kick it in as he knew it would be a close race between the top three ladies. 2nd place was 17 seconds ahead of me in overall time.
HUGE congrats to my teammate Morgan for rocking her first tri. She's been coming to the Open Water swims at Lake in the Hills with me every Wednesday and did a phenomenal job. Thank you to everyone who came and supported all of the athletes--it was so fun to hear recognizable voices in the crowd cheering for me....kept me going for sure:)
I feel like a broken record saying that I learned another lesson. It's true, I did, but I would love to stop "learning lessons" and just be 100% prepared and know at the end of the race I executed everything as perfectly as I could. Minus the shoe fiasco, I definitely did here...so while the results don't show it, the Naperville Sprint Tri was a HUGE win in my book.
After the tri, Ryan and I stopped and picked up my shoes and then biked from our house to Barrington, rode 4 8ish mile loops and rode back for 56miles (3hours) of riding. And I never felt as good as I did riding for those 3 hours. I followed my nutrition plan flawlessly and felt like I was starting week 1!
This next week is our Recovery Week. I typically hate recovery weeks and don't see that changing, but know that after these past 3 weeks, my body needs it.
Here's to staying sane during these next few days!