This morning was my second triathlon, only two weeks after my first one, and I am definitely hooked. I couldn’t be happier with how I did either. I placed 65th overall out of 448 and 10th in my age group out of 44. Because the distances were shorter than the last tri, I really can’t do a one-to-one comparison based on time, but all of my transition times and pace times were far better than the last tri.
As for the race itself, this one seemed much less organized than the Tri-Del-Sol. It was, however, the inaugural event, and there is always room for improvement. The race started at 7:00am, an hour earlier than the last one, which I guess was so that they could open the park to the public as soon as possible. Even though we left at 6:00 to get there, I was really pushing it to get parked and setup in the transition area before it close. If it had been my first time, I would have been really stressed out, but I was a bit more confident in how to get everything situated this time around.
For the swim portion, it was a land start rather than a water start so which was different. With the way the lake is at Millennium park, it seemed like a long run before you could actually start swimming because it stays shallow for so long. But when it drops off, it really drops off – top nearly 50ft. The water was very clean and clear and didn’t taste completely awful when I got a mouthful of it – although I wouldn’t make a habit of it. I was in the first wave with about 130 people which seemed like a lot of people for such a short distance – only 500 meters – which made it difficult to get space. It seemed like you where running into someone or getting run into the whole time. Because it was so early, there was still a lot of mist over the water which made it difficult to see and caused my goggles to fog up almost instantly which didn’t help either. My swim pace, though, was better than better than last time with a time of 8:43. I ranked 143 in the swim which was my lowest ranking for any of the legs which makes sense as it is my weakest event.
My first transition went very smoothly. I was in and out in 1:18, over 2 minutes shorter than before. I did forgo socks in this race which I am sure helped shave off a lot of the time because I didn’t have to sit down or completely dry my feet.
As for the bike portion, I felt like I was flying. With a pace of 20.8mph, it was nearly 2mph faster than last time and it sure felt like it. I think part of it was the fact that I was familiar with the course so I knew exactly how much further I had to go (despite the fact that the miles weren’t marked on the bike portion). Portions of the course were fresh asphalt which was very nice to ride on, but other portions could have been prepped better and had the gravel sweep off beforehand. Also, none of the roads were closed which was an issue a couple times where some of the drivers were confused and didn’t yield to the bikers. I finished the bike portion with a time of 42:44 and a rank of 108.
My second transition went even faster than the first. I attribute this to the lack of socks and investing in a pair of speed laces which allowed me to just slip on my shoes and take off. I actually think that I am going to order a few more pairs of them and add them to a few of my other pairs of shoes. I also got a race number belt for this race which was nice because I didn’t have to wear the number for the bike and could just throw it on as I race out of the transition area.
The run portion of the race was an out and back course with about a mile or so of it on the trails of Millennium Park. Other than the sharp turn around at the halfway point, it was a pretty good course – nice and flat. Despite pushing it on the bike portion I still felt pretty good on the run. It only took about a mile to find my legs although my left knee took a little bit longer to get into stride. I immediately started passing people on the run and only got passed by few people – many of whom seemed to be elites. I knew that I was in pretty good shape at this point because I could see how many people were in front of me passed on the number of people going the opposite way on the trail. I ended up finishing the run portion in 21:53 – a 7:04 pace – with an overall rank of 51.
All in all, I couldn’t be happier with my time and place today. The weather was beautiful and the course itself was very good. Hopefully they work out some of the organizational issues worked out by next year. Either way, I will probably be back. Now, I just have to decide on whether or not to do the Reeds Lake Tri in September. With 1200 participants, it will be the largest of the races, so we’ll see how training goes. I should have a decision by the end of the month.