Today marked the culmination of the Team in Training tri season. My awesome group of six athletes raised thousands of dollars for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, and today they conquered the Chicago Triathlon that they have been training so hard for.
Steve and I had a wedding to attend on Saturday, so we weren’t able to get to Chicago for the pre-race festivities that evening. As a side note, the wedding was at the Milwaukee War Memorial, which brought back a lot of memories. This is where we held our wedding three years ago, and it was another beautiful day.
After the wedding we headed directly to downtown Chicago. We checked into the hotel around 11pm, got to bed around midnight, and got up around 3am. It was more of a nap than a good night’s sleep. We met up with the team in the lobby at 4am and they were ready to race.
The Chicago Triathlon is the largest tri in the world, so I was curious to see how the whole thing would go down. Transition was open from 4:15am to 5:45am, and the swim waves started at 6am. My team was in waves starting anywhere between 6:30am and 8:30am. That is a long time to be sitting around before the race, and a few team members in later waves went back to the hotel.
We did get to watch a beautiful Chicago sunrise over the harbor.
It was very windy today, and the water was extremely choppy. This is the first race I have been to where the entire swim is spectator friendly. It is basically a point to point swim along the edge of the marina, so Steve and I planted ourselves on the edge to try to catch glimpses of the team.
We saw tons of people panicking in the water, and countless athletes being pulled onto the lifeboats. It seemed like a lot more athletes from the sprint distance waves were being pulled in, probably because they were less experienced. My guess is that it was the first tri for many of them, and probably the first time swimming in open water for some. I could see where the chop would have been too much to handle, and I felt bad for those who basically had to end their race right after it started.
We were able to see a few of the team members, but it was really hard to pick them out with swim caps and wetsuits on. We did not try to see any of the bike portion, but we heard that the wind was pretty bad.
After hanging out at the finish line TNT tent for a while with my two sprint distance racers (who both did awesome!), Steve and I headed to the run course to try and see some of the Olympic distance race. We were able to see all of the team members, and they looked great out there.
I am proud of all of them for finishing strong, it was a fun season.
Spectating at this race was fun, but I have no desire to ever do it myself. It’s just too big, too many people, and too much waiting around at the start. After the race Steve and I were beyond exhausted and hungry, so after a short cat nap back at the hotel, we had a nice outdoor brunch which eluded photographs. Now we are back home, I got a short run in, and am ready to spend the rest of the night relaxing with a movie.