To be honest I was lucky to be racing, this was my season to step up a distance from Olympic and 12 weeks into my training plan my ITB started to give me some severe trouble. That was six weeks ago, all I can say is thanks to Aaron at Athletico in Chicago, because without him I wouldn’t have been waking up at 4 AM on Saturday morning with the all too familiar butterflies in my stomach and the question ‘how the hell am I going to finish the run, considering since i started therapy my 'long run' has only been 6 miles?’
Transition was a few hundred yards back from the beach in the dunes, a mixture of grass and sand. This race has grown significantly in the last few years from 1500 last year to a reported 2700 people this year (although I saw a lot of no shows on the bike racks). I sat and stretched for 30 minutes as the sun came up - clouds greeted me and I couldn’t be happier for the broken coverage.
The line of people down to the swim start was an ominous 1.2 mile long snake (point to point); I was wave 13 into the water. For those who know me I’m not the strongest swimmer so I let the pack get well ahead of me and then set off. The swim was great, I found some space as well as my rhythm and before I knew it I turned past the last buoy and headed for the beach. Exited the water in 40’20”, but with the 300 yard run to the beach my official split was in the 42’00” region.
T1 took a while, but I wanted to make sure I had everything for the bike leg, nutrition, electrolytes (+ibuprofen). I set off on the bike and within 3 miles threw my chain (second time this season). Cut my forearm, but got it back on with no problems and then got going. Tried to keep my heart rate in the 145-155 BPM zone and kept the cadence just around 100 RPM. I went through 3 bottles of water, 6 electrolyte caps, one Clifbar and two hammer gels with no problems. I pushed the big ring for the whole way as well as staying in my aero bars for the full 56miles (which I’ve never done before). About six miles out from the end I tried to ease off a little and save something for the run. Came in with a bike split of 2:43’22” which I was really happy with.
T2 was nice and slow and relaxing, I had to head for a bathroom break, downed some more electrolytes and some ibuprofen and headed out (under overcast skies now – hooray). I was happy with fast walking the aid stations and running in between. All was going well until mile 8 when my ITB began telling me it wasn’t happy, I had to stop every half mile for 3 miles to stretch it out and then I hit the wall (I’d forgotten to take my last gel and literally ran out of steam). Ended up crossing the finish line with a run split of 2:10’55”, not bad considering.
Overall time 5:45’35” finished 859 out of 1800 finishers (where were those over 900 people?)
I had a blast and can’t wait to race again at this distance, maybe 5:30’00” is in reach???
Thanks for all the support and advice from the forums, you guys helped me diagnose the ITB issue (my physician just told me to rest up and not run so much – great )