This years Chicago trip was a blast. We had a great group of people. The weather was perfect for it. Couldn’t ask for much more.
I was on a tight budget but managed to get my mentees goody bags and all my meals to fit into it! (With some left over, woohoo) The expo was a lot of fun; I got several free water bottles! (Too bad I left the nicest two on a shuttle after the race, oh well they were free)
We actually swam Friday afternoon after flying in this year. The water was around 72 degrees. It felt much warmer than last year. Since I was on my own this year I just did my own thing after the swim. I went to the expo, got my race packet, got my shoulders rubbed out by The Stick guys. Dang pinched nerve from Boston came back.
After the expo we headed out for dinner. I think we went to the same restaurant that I got breakfast last year. Dinner and the company were great.
We had to wake up super early Saturday because we were the first to unload bikes. It was a long walk over there but after that we were on bikes so the way back was quick. We rode the 10k run course and checked out transition as a group.
After that we headed back to the hotel. On the way back I practiced getting in and out of my shoes while on the bike. Surprisingly I figured it out and managed to get in and out several times successfully on the way back.
I roomed with N (TNT Staff) and she was forced to book a few rooms as executive so we were allowed on the executive floor. So I went and got free breakfast with D. Lot’s of fresh fruit and bagels!
After breakfast we headed to the expo and listened to the course talk. Only difference this year was that there would be no water exchange on the bike course.
The pasta party this year was great. Our group took up three tables. A had a ton of family come in. I think everyone on the team had at least one person there to cheer them on. V. awesome.
This year the TNT participants for the Chicago Tri raised just over $1 million dollars for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. V. impressive! To date TNT has raised over $600 million. Our Ohio team raised over $46,000!!! Basically for every mile swam, biked, or run the Chicago Triathlon raised $31,000!
My legs had been achy all weekend so after the pasta party I ran (literally) over to Walgreen’s to get some Band-Aids and athletic tape (my blister from the previous track workout was infected and painful!), picked up some Pam for anyone who wanted it the next morning and ran back to the hotel. Did my usual prerace set up. Sat everything out for the next morning then went to bed.
We had to be over to transition really early so I was up at 4:30 and headed that way by 4:45. A was in my same wave so we set up our transitions together. Headed back to the hotel to eat some breakfast and chill until the race.
My wave went off at 8:16 this year, which was nice. Last year I think I went off around 9.
The race this year was great once again. I had a good swim, 25:30 out of the water. The water this year was pancake flat and you could actually see! My transitions went really well, I didn’t crash while getting my shoes on and off on the bike! I only saw a few women pass me on the bike this year, and most of them were on their first lap as I was going into my second. The wind wasn’t too bad this year and the new aerobars made a huge difference I think. I felt really comfortable and was averaging 19.5 mph.
The run was a little warm this year, but I still managed to hold 7:35 pace. My first split was under 7 again, same as last year. Coach K says this means I didn’t go hard enough on the bike. I only saw one girl out on the run, she was in my wave and I passed her around mile 5. Other than that it was just me and a bunch of men. So I guess that is the disadvantage of the early wave start. I actually liked the crowded run course last year.
I was the first one in from our group so after I finished I headed back to cheer everyone on. Everyone did a great job! I was very proud.
This year bikes had to be taken back pretty much right after the race so I didn’t get a nap before the Victory Party and was feeling pretty zombieish. But the music livened me up and I managed to dance the whole evening anyways!
The lady and her daughter’s who had left such and impression on me last year were there again. The mother was actually the motivational speaker this year. Luckily her daughter (Madeline) is doing fine! She is finishing Chemo and has long curly hair now! Her sister danced with me until the party was over announcing “I think they are kicking us out!” kids are so wonderful. I found out they are not actually twins, they just look a lot alike, Madeline is older. I talked with Kariann (Madeline’s mother) and told her that her daughter was the reason I stayed with TNT. She was such a sweet lady, and once again did the tri but managed to find the strength to dance with her daughters, even using them to play “air guitar.” I can’t imagine how exhausting that would be but the girls loved it!
D and I had a drink at the hotel bar after the party. After that we were pretty beat, so we headed to bed.
So I had a great time once again and I am getting super pumped about Columbus now. TNT is such a wonderful program. There really isn’t anything like it.Sorry no brillinat writing here today. The pictures probably capture the weekend much better than I could here.