So, I made it all the way to Chicago and back in one piece. Not that I didn't feel safe while I was there, but driving in the city was nothing short of treacherous. Needless to say, once we reached where we were staying, I didn't drive again until we left.
Waking up on race morning was an interesting experience. The race started at 6am this year, which meant waking up before 4am. The sheer mass of people heading into transition on race morning was a bit overwhelming, especially considering I was running late (as per normal race protocol). I managed to make it to swim start with some time left to warm-up, and we promptly got underway at 6 on the dot. The swim was quite a choppy affair, due in part to the wind coming off the lake, causing waves to reverberate off the adjacent sea wall. I felt pretty good in the water, and comfortably settled into around 8th place for the duration of the swim.
Heading out onto the bike course, I was about 40 seconds down from the front of the race, which was not bad considering the company I was in. They were trying out a brand new bike course for this year, in hopes that it would help with the logistics of running an international and sprint distance race concurrently. The new course took us on a 7 mile out and back section before we entered a maze of upper and lower roads, tunnels, and 180 degree turn-arounds. While this made for a very interesting course, it made it hard to settle into a rhythm. My legs were already not feeling great, and the course only compounded that. I still managed a decent split, but the front-runners (Cam Dye, Greg Bennett) were setting a blistering pace.
Moving on to the run, I tried to get my leg turnover going, and settle into a strong pace. I managed to catch one person, and pull back some time on others, but wasn't quite fast enough to do any serious damage. I did have some great encouragement though from my cheering squad.
|Mimsy, Official Support Puggle of Matthew Wisthoff Racing|
Overall, it was a solid race, but not my best. Some days, you just feel flat. I was wondering where my form was from two weeks earlier at Lake Logan. Looking back on the two weeks between though, I can see that I went too hard on some workouts that should have been active recovery. I usually don't have a problem with taking it easy (duh), but when you feel good, it can be hard to rein yourself in. Lesson learned.