Thursday, July 23, 2015

Engelwood Triathlon

July 18, 2015

This was my third year doing this race. Each year, I tell myself I am going to TRAIN for this race and each year, something happens during training, and I don't get in the biking and swimming that I should. This year, I was dealing with pain in my upper back and right shoulder. Biking and swimming irritated the area. I did manage to get out for a few open water swims, so I figured, while I might not have a faster race than before, I should be OK out there. Boy, was I wrong!

Toni, me, Carolyn, Wendy and Kristi before the race.
In the week leading up to the race, the weather had been pretty bad. Storms every day, with storms all day on Thursday and Friday. The water was very churned up. Not just choppy, but washing machine type water. Carolyn and I arrived at Engelwood beach around 6am. With the race to start at just after 7, we had plenty of time to get checked in and get our area set up in transition. I headed to the bathroom, which was located in an elevated building. Since it was still dark out, I held the handle on the stairs on the way up. On the way out, there were people walking on both sides of the stairs, so I went down the middle. Just before the bottom, I missed the last couple of steps and went down hard. Landed on my knees and then fell to my side. OUCH! I got up and walked around a bit. My knees stung, but seemed to be OK. Went back to the car and got my bike and gear, then headed to transition. Set up next to Wendy. Carolyn was in the row behind us. It seemed like transition was smaller than last year. Wendy told us that there were only 200 doing the race, which is less than the previous year. Probably didn't get many last minute signups, with rain in the forecast for this morning, during the race. We got some group photos, then headed out to the beach. I went in up to my knees, but didn't feel like getting a warm up swim in. Maybe I should have. My group was in wave 4, the last to go. I'm fine with that. It would mean fewer people trying to swim over the top of me. We watched the first 3 waves go off, then got lined up to go. The horn blasted and we were off!

Heading in to start the swim.

I started off at the back of the group, but kept up with a lot of the swimmers, until we got out to the first bouy. Took that turn wide, because the rope holding the bouy was so loose, no one wanted their legs to get caught in it. I was doing ok, checking where I was more than normal because if felt like I was getting pushed all over the pace. I must have been expending to much energy, because I couldn't get my breathing under control and started freaking out between the third and 4th buoy. I tried going on to my back, to relax a little. This works in calm water, but not this type of water. I got really scared because I just couldn't calm down. I almost swam to shore, but I stopped and called out to the lifeguard behind me. I yelled three times, but couldn't get his attention. Finally, a volunteer in a kayak came up behind me. I hung on to his board for a while, getting my breathing to calm down. I had never been so scared in my life. I really didn't think I could make it. After calming down, I decided I could finish. The last buoy wasn't that far away, and I would have the waves to push me back to shore, once I turned around the buoy. When I finished, I was so happy!
So happy to be out of the water!
Short run up the beach, then a run through the parking lot, into the transition area. Spent a bit more time in here than normal. Still getting over the swim, I guess. Got my feet cleaned off before putting on shoes and socks. Put on my helmet and sunglasses, reset my watch, then headed out of transition with my bike.

I was pretty fired up on the bike. Really pissed off about the swim, which I put into riding the bike. I passed quite a few people. There are a lot of newbies that do this race. I'm no expert, but if you are new to a sport, you should really read all the rules. There are not a lot for running races, but with triathlon, you can get disqualified or penalized for things. So, I got really frustrated with a few of the riders out there. Thankfully, there was no sign of a race official, because some people would have gotten in trouble for drafting off of me and for riding down the middle of the road. It's kind of hard to pass someone when they are in the middle of the lane! Anyway, I had a pretty good bike. A little faster than last year. The road didn't have any giant puddles, which we were all worried about because of all the rain we had during the week. This is one of my favorite bike courses. Lot's of giant trees on each side of the road provide shade for a good chunk of the course. Pulled into transition, got my helmet off, visor on, pulled on my Skirt Sports cover up skirt (that had my bib on it already) and then headed out for the run.

Finishing the bike ride, heading towards transition.

Thankfully the sky was still overcast, which made for a decent run. The course is all on sidewalk and road, so no sand! I was able to pass quite a few more people during this part of the race. I started out at a fast clip, but gradually slowed the pace, because I knew I couldn't keep it up. My goal was to keep a sub 9 min mile pace going, and that's what I did. Less than a quarter mile from the finish, I saw Carolyn up ahead of me, but didn't have enough in the tank to push it more to catch up to her. Happy with my strong finish though.

Race stats: 1:27:16. Swim: 12:42, T1 2:32, Bike: 43:43, T2: 1:02, Run:27:21

Carolyn, Me and Wendy. Carolyn and I got 4th
in age group and Wendy got 5th!
One week post race: Still not feeling the swim love. I know I'll get back out there, but with the weather still yucky here and the water still very choppy, I'm not getting back in any time soon. I'm not ready for another triathlon. But, I think it's like child birth, I will forget the pain of it eventually and I'll get talked into doing another one. :) For now, I'll focus on training for the Chicago Marathon!