I have four race reports in the posting pipeline, starting with the one freshest in my mind, the Life Time Fitness Chicago Triathlon. I split this into 3 parts for ease of reading, concluding with the most important section: gratitude.
1) INTRO: I raced the draft-legal ITU in Kelowna, British Columbia the weekend before Chicago, so it was interesting to see how I would recover and race back-to-back. I was effing sore the entire week after Kelowna from the run. Since the bike ride was a FAR CRY from the effort I've had to put out in my non-drafting races, I felt zippity and ran an unprecedented 35:40 10k... Paula Findlay's presence certainly helped me step up my game. Thusly, the week in Cleveland between races involved molasses-slow swimming, biking and running, with lots of bed rest and family time.
On Friday, my dad dropped me off at megabus which began my journey to the windy city. Unfortunately, I didn't take advantage of any good food offerings in Chicago. By the time I got to my hotel to nap, run and visit the race expo to chat up my favorite Frenchman, Andre of Kiwami triathlon race wear, I only had time to grab a turkey sandwich and a few bananas from Walgreens with a redbox movie.
I met up with my dad and his girlfriend Saturday afternoon when they came into town and was whisked away to Chicago's finest, The Drake Hotel. I love when Marlene comes to races, haha. We waited 1.5 hrs for our room to be ready so my nap and ride went out the window. As a consolation, the Drake gave me my own room on the floor of the Diana suite instead of pegging me with the other two. I reveled in the solitude, leaving my crap all over my room, offending no one.
This was the first time I almost didn't get to eat my pre-race egg bomber and had already poured milk over rice cereal when the waiter planted a bowl of rice in front of me. During this time my dad was canvassing nearby convenience stores for instant rice--never again will I travel without microwaveable rice packets! The other low point of the morning (more from my dad's perspective) took place on my bike ride to the transition area. I got trapped on some pier then lost, which garnered a frantic call to my him. Dad: Ask someone for directions. Me: DIRECTIONS TO WHERE? I'VE ALREADY ASKED. NOBODY'S FROM HERE. I stopped the haranguing and found transition 5 min later... haha
2) THE RACE: The swim was ~400m one direction, then a 180 degree turn the other way and straight on until the swim exit. Intel and common sense suggested I go out hard to get around the turn buoy before the masses. Plus, I wanted to see how long I could stay with the expert swimmers.
Sara McLarty (who just lost her father in a cycling accident--so sad--and told me to love my dad everyday) started on the left side of the field but I resisted her magnetic pull and started on the far right to avoid the onslaught in the water. I went out hard and by the time I cleared the group, I met Alicia Kaye's feet--she was on the heels of the two speedy sara(h)'s. I hung on as long as I could and was gapped by the time I reached the turn buoy and went around it completely alone. At least I got that part right.
I made my way back to Alicia, who had fallen off WRP (world record pace of 2XSARA), as Flora Duffy came by me. Again, I drifted back of them and swam the second half solo--not ideal. Just as I reached the swim exit steps, I felt a touch on my foot which turned out to be Radka, my awesome new Czech friend (country adjacent to my motherland). Moral of the swim: the sara's are FAST. MOG.
See my pretty new Kiwami suit:
There was a long run to our transition area, ~600m. My bike shoes jammed in the grass (time to finally learn that damn rubberband trick) and I realized my chain had fallen off after I hopped on my bike. I had zero momentum and got off to put the chain back on, then fumbled some more while the entire field passed me by.
I felt awful on the bike so my first goal was to hang with the women nearby--I was in 10th position at one point early on. The bike course is 2 loops out and back on Lake Shore Drive. The out section lead into a VERY strong headwind which meant a healthy tailwind heading back toward the transition area. This allowed you to see the whole field and I could see Alicia really going for it which I admired.
On our first loop, our effort eased up slightly when riding with the wind (this was a welcome break), but on the second loop, I decided to keep up the intensity and came into T2 with a tiny gap--5 were already ahead of me on the run course.
Expert photography, compliments of my father:
I extended the margin a bit on the run and passed McLarty and Lavelle around mile 2, then hung dearly onto 4th place. I FELT hunted and was a tired Lindsey out there and very happy to cross the finish.
Chicago was the deepest field I've been in this year and I am happy with my finish place.
3) THANKS: While in Canada I got to spend time with my friend, Andrew McCartney, and his lovely girlfriend. Andrew mentioned that consistency in training leads to consistency in racing. That registered with me and instilled confidence in what I've been doing as I AM consistently progressing in training. It makes sense that it would translate to races, too.
Also worth a mention, I really hit the jackpot in nabbing Margie as my coach. She knows her stuff and is a master at the make or break aspect of sport: cultivating a healthy and strong athlete mind. She teaches me to look at the bigger picture and reminds me that there is more to life than triathlon. As a result, I do not read too much meaning from any single workout--good or bad. I appreciate our brick workouts as much as our Blizzard runs to DQ with her kids.
During my wkd of exhaustion at the end of July when I moved apartments, completed all my training AND attended a friend's wedding, Margie encouraged me to go to the britney spears concert that Sunday night when I brought it up because... it's BRITNEY SPEARS and how often can you see the princess of pop perform for free? Only once in my lifetime, anyway. When I got my schedule for Monday AM it said: Sleep in, recover from Britney. That's empathy.