Monday, June 30, 2014

Chi Tri Bloggers race report of ITU Chicago

Asked a fellow ChiTri Blogger Jeremy to share his race report of ITU Chicago. I know there was a lot of hype about this event with 2015 being the ITU World Triathlon Grand Final here. So, thought some of you might be interested in learn more! I couldn't get the pictures centered so you will have to deal

ITU Chicago: A FAST day of racing

This past weekend the triathlon world, well short course world, traveled to Chicago for what was a spectacular weekend full of racing!  The ITU, International Triathlon Union, is the governing body that puts on the draft legal racing that is used for the Olympics.  The Elites, or pros, race in a series of races to gain points for themselves, and country, in order to qualify for the Olympics.   These races are really cool because they are very spectator friendly.  The race features many shorter loops that allow spectators to see the racers multiple times in each event.  The Women’s Elite race and the Para race was on Saturday and I went to the Women’s race and watched Gwen Jorgensen smoke the field with a ridiculously fast run, she ran over a minute into the leaders during the run which is crazy fast!
This was a fun race to watch!
This was a fun race to watch!

Then on Sunday it was my turn to race!  The cool thing with the ITU is they require completely closed streets.  Now that is amazing because cars on the road with racers can always get a bit hairy but also because this course had 3 U Turns per lap if they were only to shut down a few lanes on the course it would’ve made for a dangerous course.  They did a good job at spreading out the waves to attempt to keep the course open.  But the problem with that was transition closed at 5:45 and I didn’t go off until 8:20, and I was a middle wave in the Olympic race.  So I set up transition then anxiously and nervously sat in my car, at a Subway, then by the swim start until my wave went off.

And because of the time differences in the waves the race was against your age group and not so much overall.  The first wave was basically finished with the race by the time I started so there is a big difference in the course from the first wave to the last so my priority was race my age group and wherever that fell overall was what it was.

Swim: 25:06 (1:32 min/100) 15th AG/108th Overall
The swim was a pretty straight forward swim.  We swam north then turned and headed straight south to the exit then had a LONG run to transition.  I should mention now that on Saturday night and Sunday morning it rained, and my transition area was right near a big ol mud pit!  But back to the swim.  I got a good start off the line but unfortunately I was not able to find a group to swim with.  I am still working on being comfortable swimming with others without having mini freak outs so I am always nervous to jump in a draft and trust the leaders sighting as well as their pacing.  I know I need to work on this because for an Ironman drafting saves valuable energy that can be used later in the day.  But it was a comfortable swim and exited the water and ran through transition.
Time to ride!
Time to ride!

Bike: 55:34 (26.8 MPH, 242 Normalized Power) 8th AG/46th Overall
So I should preface this part by saying that the bike course was short.  My Garmin had it at about 22.8 miles, 2 miles short, but it’s hard to say how short it was since about half the course was on Lower Wacker where I had no GPS signal.  But adding another mile onto the time would see about right.  This was a FAST course!  Racing on Lower Wacker was really cool for the most part, there were some bad spots but nothing too terrible.  It was a 4 loop course with 3 U Turns and 4 turns each lap so it made for a lot of slowing down, turning, then getting back up to speed.  I wanted to push it but I also wanted to hold back a bit since I am still not back to full fitness after my bike accident.

During the ride I looked at my watts but mostly to keep myself from going too low.  I was going off of feel and because Lower Wacker was dark with sunglasses on it was hard to see my computer so I just went by feel which was a nice change-up to having my eyes glued to the computer to keep me in check.  Nothing special to say about the ride except it was fun and I ended up gaining 60 places overall and a few in my AG!

Trying to stay aero the whole way.
Trying to stay aero the whole way.

Run: 36:44 (5:55 min/mile) 4th AG/21st Overall
Well I wanted to get off my bike and run FAST.  That worked for a bit but then I got a side stitch that didn’t want to go away!  But I kept pushing as much as I could but never caught my stride that well.  One big issue I had with this course was there were no mile markers for either the Olympic or Sprint race.  Normally this isn’t a big deal but I had this course measured at 5.9 miles, .3 miles short, and many others had the same.  So without mile markers my pacing was off, which isn’t terrible but it would’ve been nice to know my exact mile splits and to see where I really was on the run.  The run course was 3.5 laps and the cool thing was we got to run past Buckingham Fountain 3 times before the final pass to the finish.

Trying to run fast to catch some people!
Trying to run fast to catch some people!

It was nice to have loops because it made for more fans but the course was also VERY narrow with runners going both ways at points which made it hard to pass.  There was also no shade so it was a hot one, and brutal later in the day.  Combine that with only having 2 aid stations and it made for a struggle of a run.  But I am not going to play the blame game but I would have loved some ice  or cold water more often during the run.
The run course was pretty narrow, and hot but thankfully it wasn't too busy when I ran.
The run course was pretty narrow, and hot but thankfully it wasn’t too busy when I ran.

Saw my fantastic support crew featuring my mom, dad (who was racing the Sprint later), and my girlfriend, a lot during the run!  It is always nice to see and hear familiar faces and voices to kind of snap me back into it and help me push a bit harder.  I made a final push starting at the last half loop and ended up passing a group of 4 in my age group which was nice.  I made sure to make the pass fast to let them know that I was feeling good, but I wasn’t, so they wouldn’t try to hang with me.  Rounded the fountain for the final time and sprinted towards the finish!  Another good race in the books.  Obviously could’ve been better but I will take it!

Final: 2:03:07 (4th AG/21st Overall)
After the race I hung out with the family and talked to a fellow Snapple team member who I saw on the race course.  It was cool to see so many other Snapple/DC Tri Club racers out there on course!  After that we got some food then headed to the swim start to watch my dad race!  It was getting super hot and all the walking we did gave me a new found respect for spectators!

As usual I want to thank my mom and dad and girlfriend for coming out to see me.  It was also cool because I met a few social media friends as well.  And thanks to Xterra wetsuits for helping my swim well, Felt Bikes for the fast bike, Rudy Project for the helmet and glasses, HED wheels for making my faster and more aerodynamic, and Louis Garneau for making the amazing Snapple Tri Team race kit that kept me nice and comfortable during the race!  It was also my first sock less race in my Saucony Type A6 race shoes and they performed very well.  Those shoes make you feel like you’re flying out on the run!
Now time to rest up, get back to training then head out to San Francisco this week for some down time and my cousin’s wedding!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Free Race to first person that claims ON TWITTER!

Runners will have the opportunity to run a lap around the warning track under the lights of U.S. Cellular Field

Race Details: 
  • Tuesday, July 15th
  • Registration Opens: 5:30pm
  • Race Time: 6:30pm
  • A brand new course with entertainment at each mile
    • Featuring Chicago’s Spirit Brigade
  • Awards for the top 3 male and female finishers in each age group
  • Post-Race party on the ChiSox Bar & Grill apron outside U.S. Cellular Field
  • Enjoy $3.00 beers and a special discounted menu
  • Post-Race concert
    • Featuring Daredevil Sunday
  • Emceed by Lin Brehmer of 93XRT
  • Fundraising incentives from the Chicago White Sox
  • Sponsored by 670 The Score

Was provided a free entry and want to share with a ChiTriBlogger.. First person to reply on twitter to me wins the entry. And even if you don't win, please consider this race as it is for a great cause and should be an awesome experience under the lights of the Cell!  Enjoy!  

Race entry has been claimed.  Consider registering normally in support of fighting ALS.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

New Blogs!

Jon Fecik- (East) -Professional Triathlete, Professional Coach: Simply Professional.

Carrie Stevens (NY.NY) - Runner. Triathlete. #FitFluential ambassador. Co-founder of #TriChat. Community Outreach @JackRabbitSports.

Lauren Mozer (DC Area)- Just completed her first triathlon

A Marathon Cooldown-Group Blog (CA)
Katie, Rachel, Sandi, Chen, Will, Matt, Travers and Paige- Triing For the Win(e): A group training blog for 8 friends who are definitely maybe doing an Ironman in 2015!

Katie Morse (West)- Coeur Sports Ambassador, @project_neon, Oakley Women's Brand Ambassador, Triathlete, Ice Cream lover, Traveler, GO PACK GO, Sunshine

Stefan Kleinekoort (Netherlands) - A teen with an irondream


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Tri-Life Spotlight -- Alphawoolf

Been watching my analytics and there are a fair about of followers from Europe and wanted to feature a European company.  I met Michel (Head of Global Sales at Alphawoolf) through FB and excited to feature his company in a Tri-Life Spotlight.  Alphawoolf sponsors Starky (the real one... like as in the real one :) and Marino Vanhoenacker

Tell us a little about yourself and your triathlon background 
I have been in various international sales director positions working for big corporations to mid size companies in various industries. From my sports background you may call me a runner who learned to swim and bike. I have a ultramarathon history but was always passionate about Iron Distance racing. My first Iron Distance race I did in 2010 and am hooked eversince then. I finished several ultra marathons, 70.3 and Iron Distance Triathlons. 

Alphawoolf is an internationally based shoe company, what sets them apart from others? Actually Alphawoolf respectively its roots reach back to 1967. The company has a long history of manufacturing shoes of all kinds for large retailers. Alphawoolf is the high performance running spinoff from the woolf sports & casual GmbH. Unlike other smaller shoe companies we have the benefit of a huge research and development team that is constantly trying to improve look and feel of our shoes and always integrate state of the art materials. At the same time we keep the prizes at a very moderate level since we do not employ a huge „overhead“. Using synergies with the woolf production and development sites makes this feasible
Can people order shoes in the US? and how do they determine what fits them best knowing shoe shopping is hard to do without trying them on. 
Technically people could buy the shoes on our website. We have a very simple „tool“ to help people find their right size. As you can imagine this is not a very efficient way in terms of time and transportation costs. We are currently talking to a potential distributor in the US
 Marino Vanhoenacker Zieleinlauf
What is one of the biggest misconceptions about running shoes?
 From our point of view it is the myth that everybody has some sort of feet/legs that need to be fixed with a shoe in order to run without injuries. We are not saying that ( some ) people do need support. Getting this support by a shoe that is not tailor made for your "issue" will rather worsen the situation. That’s why we manufacture only neutral shoes. Use orthopedic inner soles for any sort of support/ correction.

What do you recommend for feet wellness? Cross train and don’t only eat miles. A lot of runners do neglect their upper body. A good posture will help you being a healthier and stronger runner. Also Go to the gym to strengthen your core muscles!!

Monday, June 9, 2014

16 Secrets for Your First Sprint Triathlon By Kelly the Culinarian

Thanks Kelly for sharing some tips on doing your first tri!

Ck her out at

My favorite tri suit
This weekend marks my first triathlon of this season. The Esprit de She triathlon in Naperville is a very approachable first race and will welcome enough newbies that first-timers get their own start wave. In thinking back to my first triathlon, there are so many things I wish I had known. I've also fielded a ton of questions via e-mail, Facebook and text. I pulled together my most helpful secrets and solutions that I've given this week.

1. Try a tri suit. It's easier to take one minute off of your transition time than it is your 5K time. A triathlon suit saves time in transition and is specifically designed to be worn throughout your day (Read more about saving on triathlon gear). 

2. Be strategic with racking your bike. If you get a choice, set up your transition near the "bike out" exit so you don't have to push your bike that far. Also, rack your bike in a low gear so you can ease into cycling.

My transition for Racine 70.3 Racine
3. Set it and leave it. Once you've unpacked and set up your transition area, stop fussing and put your bag away somewhere else to save space and keep away clutter. 

4. Spit in your goggles. This is how to prevent fogging.
Wiggle wiggle wiggle wiggle, yeah

5. Pam yourself. If you're wearing a wetsuit, get a bottle of spray oil from the kitchen and grease up your arms and legs so you can get in and out easier.

6. Protect your neck. If you're wearing a wetsuit, use an anti-chafe stick on your neck or you will get a hickey. It's not cute. 

7. Follow the bubbles. Drafting on the swim is legal. Get in someone's slip stream and you'll save yourself about 20 percent of the effort. Plus, if you follow the bubbles, you don't have to sight as much in open water.

8. Stand up. When you start to scrape the sand on the swim, stand up and walk the rest of the way in.

9. Strip it. If you're wearing a wetsuit, stand up and put your goggles on your head as you walk. Unzip your wetsuit and get your arms out as you walk to transition, then wiggle the rest of the way out when you get to your spot.  

10. Bright n' bold. Use a bright towel for transition to make it easier to find. 

11. Mark your spot. If transition is on pavement, use chalk to find your spot easier. If it's on grass, get a giant helium balloon and tie it to your spot.

12. Head to toe. Put your bike stuff at the front of your towel and the run stuff at the back. Work head to toe to ensure you don't forget anything.  
Race belt FTW

13. Race belt. Can't stress this enough - a race belt is a no brainer for saving time in T2. 

14. Mount and dismount. There is a line outside of transition where you can get on your bike, as well as a line that you have to get off your bike before you re-rack it. Obey this or you might be disqualified.

15. Stay out of the yellow. Triathlons are sometimes on open or semi-closed roads. Oncoming cars might never see you on your bike, which is why crossing the yellow line might be the last bad decision you ever make. It will also get you tossed out of the event without question.

16. Pass quickly. Drafting on the bike is illegal. You have to stay two bike lengths away. If you decide to pass, announce "passing." The person you're passing is obligated to drop back, and you have 20 seconds to make the pass before it's considered drafting.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Re-Blog! Tri Giveaway!

As an ambassador of Headsweats.. wanted to share their giveaway!
ATTENTION Headsweats Fans!!

Welcome to our "Swim, Bike, Run" Giveaway! Each week for the next 3 weeks, we'll be giving away an AWESOME prize package featuring each Triathlon discipline!

This week is our SWIM giveaway, featuring a wetsuit and LAVA pants from XTERRA Wetsuits, a waterproof iPod shuffle case and headphone system from X-1 Audio, a water bottle from FuelBelt, goggles from blueseventy, and hydration mix from Skratch Labs

Enter to win here:

Monday, June 2, 2014

Motivation Monday: Coming back from injury

From Nic:
Life has been crazy for my lately.  Husband is in full "studying for the bar" mode while I am in full "ready for tri season mode".  However, my focus has been deemed less important therefore I am the full anchor at home.  But, i have a lot of things cooking for the blog including launching a page to share race reports so stay tuned! Also have some features of new bloggers in the works... so please stay patient... i won't let the blog die!

Today, I wanted to feature someone who has provided me a lot of inspiration in my life and her story might be helpful for others who have had challenges in life and are coming back from injury.  I have known Denise for about a year and she is one of the most positive people i know.. and it is infectious!  It is impossible not to be happy with her around.  She is training for IMWI at the moment and leads the Women's Half training program for Chicago Endurance Sports.  

1. Tell us a little about yourself and your endurance background  
I have been running marathons since 1994 and after about 17 marathons I wanted to see what else I was made of so I trained for my first Ironman (Wisconsin 2003) to see what else I was made of. This was a huge accomplishment for me as I didn't know how to swim at the time and I am still afraid of open water. But I believe that is living and how you truly grow is by facing your fears and stretching outside of comfortableness. To date I have run 54 marathons (19 Chicago Marathons) and did the 2003 and 2011 Wisconsin Ironman. My older sister Debbie inspired me to run my first marathon after she ran hers in 1993. So this year I am inspiring her to do Wisconsin this year...and yes I am still afraid of open water but know that I will be OK as I just stand on the shore for 2 minutes while the other athletes take off
2. What triathlons are you training for this year?  how has training been going?
I am doing Wisconsin Ironman with my sister this year. This past weekend was the first time I have been on my bike since the 2011 race. Can you tell I really love running?  Being back on the course this weekend really made me appreciate how fortunate I am to compete and wow it really is a beautiful course. I had to break up with my running shoes this week and start seeing my bike and swimsuit/goggles.

3. Wht is run-for-change and why did you start the program?
I used to be all about finish time instead of finish lines, until 8-16-2009, when I was struck by a car on my way to the New York Half Marathon. I ended up shattering the windshield, bouncing off the hood into the front of the car and hitting my head on the street.  I broke my L1 thru L5.  Before that life awakening and life enriching day, I was running 60-70 miles a week, couldn't miss a work out, had to PR at every race or I would beat myself up.  I felt like running and racing were the only things I could control in my life...what I put in..I new what I would get back from it.  Running also gave me myself esteem. Prior to working with Greg Domantay I had no idea I could run a 3:15 Marathon, qualify for Boston, win 25Ks, win $1500 from the Chicago Marathon for being fastest Master Female from Illinois. But on 8-16-2009, having survived that accident, I realized that God had a purpose for me. That purpose was to share my passion for running and also to help fellow runners realize that running is a gift and it's not just about our finish times.