Lake Zurich Triathlon: Race Report
Yesterday was the Lake Zurich Triathlon (July 14, 2013). Overall, it was a good time and I had a lot of fun. The field was a bit more competitive than last year’s, but that just made it even more fun.
SF and I were able to book a room at the hotel directly across the street, so travel to the bike check-in was quick. We got there at around 5:30 and the parking lot was already starting to fill up. Thankfully we got a spot and started to unpack.
Now, it must have been the morning humidity or *something* because the mosquitos were on the attack. The bugs were EVERYWHERE. I got at least 5 bites while actively trying to swat them away, and SF even got bitten in the middle of his forehead. Jerks. I got bit on my shoulder (twice), arm, leg, and butt! On my butt! Darn mosquitos!
Checkin was uneventful. I was lucky and got the endcap spot — the spot I wanted last year but was taken by this other girl. Everyone seemed friendly. The referee had me get a missing end-cap for my areo bars, but other than that I just set up my stuff and waited. I didn’t want anyone to move my things while I was away.
About 20 minutes to the closing of transition, SF and I made our way to the lake. The water temperature was 78 degrees and wetsuits were (surprisingly) legal, however we did not swim with wetsuits. After a quick warmup we waited on the beach for our respective waves.
It was a running start across the mat — a little strange but whatever, I went with it. The swim was nice and the water was perfect. Aside from the slow people, it seemed to clear out about a third of the way through, and I was on my own. The water was flat and sighting was easy. I caught up to people who were 3 waves ahead of me!
At the beach, I ran to transition and grabbed the bike, and I was off. The bike course was perfect! So smooth and lovely. I was in areo nearly the entire time (aside from a few sharp turns here and there). I was really feeling it and was pushing some power at around 200 watts. Too bad for me my bike computer was not fastened in the cradle all too well and it kept disconnecting and turning off, but from what I could see, after realized it was loose, I was outputting at around 200 watts. Its a bit lower than I wanted but, whatever. Next time I can do better.
There were times where I was pedaling air, as I like to say, meaning that I should have switched to a higher gear but failed to do so. I just never went into my third chain ring. Oh well. I should have in retrospect, but lack of bike training has relegated me to just coasting when I am going too fast. Had I shifted up, I’d have gotten my average past 20 mph, but alas it was a mere 19.8. My bike split was 1:15. Meh.
However, the bike was still nice and I was ready to run. I threw on my shoes and was off (:57 transition). I felt good coming out of the gate — the legs were still fresh and I was feeling good, but soon after (like around mile 2) the humidity started to affect me. I could *really* feel the humidity and I had to slow down. I slowed to about an 8min/mile and was kicking myself for not staying in the 7s like I usually do. I was just overheating. I drank at every water station (which they were sparsely placed along the trail) and was just pushing through. On occasion, I slowed to an 8:30 min/mile, and dug deep to stay around 8 mins. It was tough, especially that last 1.2 miles.
The run was where I went from second place to fourth in my age group. First I remember a 25 year old girl zooming past me at around mile 2 or 3. It seemed like the humidity wasn’t bothering her at all! I attempted to pace off of her for a while but only managed 30 seconds. She was clipping along at 7:30 min/mile pace. Good for her! I thought she was going to win.
Then at around mile 4 I was passed by a 27 year old. She wasn’t moving overly fast, but just slightly faster than me. At mile 4 I was dying, so I didn’t try to pass her — though had the weather been nicer or had I been cooler I might have tried. At this point I figured I was at least third place, but maybe fourth, because I never assume I am first for anything.
In the end I finished 4th in my age group with a time of 2:39. Not overly bad, but not my greatest. I have lots of room for improvement. I have 9 more minutes to chop off for an awesome race. One day I will get below 2:30.
After the crossed the finish line I went to the showers immediately. Lake Zurich Paulus Park has showers and they were awesome. This is one minor reason why I love this race! They have showers. I stood in the cold shower for at least 10 minutes — and still, I was sweating. However, it felt great to get out of my nasty triathlon clothes.
I really like the Lake Zurich Triathlon — it is one of my favorite races. The race is run very well and there is lots of crowd support. It is also a smaller race — maybe 500 participants, which I truly appreciate. It makes the race so much more fun as you’re not battling it out with slow pokes (nothing against slow people, it just deters from *my* own race experience). Paulus Park and the surrounding area are beautiful — smooth bike course, fresh and clean lake, and a lovely run course around the lake. Lovely. As long as I stay in Chicago I will be doing the Lake Zurich Triathlon.
Next year, I am in the 30-34 age group — one of the most competitive! This is great! Competition will drive me towards excellence.