On Sunday I participated in the Chicago Accenture Triathlon--which, as I was waiting for my wave to start, the race director announced is officially the largest tri in the world. According to the Chicago Tribune it was "certified last year by the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest on Earth, and drew an estimated 8,500 amateur and pro participants to the lakefront for the competition." I elected to go for the Sprint distance of .75km swim, 22km bike, 5km run (.47 mile swim, 13.64 mile bike, 3.1 mile run).
What a way to get my first taste of the sport! The spectators were awesome, it was a gorgeous day and I now can understand why everyone says it's such an addicting sport. I've never done anything like it in my athletic career.
The eventful day started at 3:45am. I ate breakfast and did one last gear check. My mom came up from St. Louis to check out what this event was all about and cheer me on, so we loaded up my bike onto her bike rack and left my apartment by 4:30am. We allowed time to pick up my good friend, Mary Beth, on our way downtown and arrived at the transition area with enough time to have our stuff set up and be out by the 5:45am cut-off time. Then there was about 30 minutes to hang out and prepare myself to jump in the 68-degree water of Lake Michigan. My wave went off at 6:28am. The waves go off every 4 minutes, so being one of the last ones to jump in near the back, the horn sounded after being in the water for a few short seconds. And just like that, I was off! In addition to being happy that this race was finally happening and I was a part of it, I had a small crew of superfans who made me smile along the swim.
I actually turned in a better swim time than I was anticipating. My bike split was right around what I calculated for myself. The bike leg of this race marks off the two inside lanes of Lake Shore Drive in each direction and provides a beautiful view and unique way to cruise up and down the city. My run time was slow and steady, which I was also expecting. My overall time put me at a middle-of-the pack 36 out of 60 for my class rank. But crossing the finish line had me smiling from ear to ear and immediately deciding I would do this event again next year.