What an AWESOME DAY! My sister and I caught an 10:20 ish train to Chicago. We walked to Millenium Park, where the Kickoff was being held. Our goal was to get there around noon, when it first started, to get wetsuits for the Open Water Swim.
I had never worn a wetsuit before, and getting into it was interesting. First I couldn't get my foot through. So I applied this nifty product called Body Glide to my feet, ankles, and calves, and I could finally get it on. And then the wetsuit feels thick. I know its to keep me warm in the water, but on a sunny 89° day its just plain toasty.
Once we were registered and had our wetsuits, we sat in the shade and people watched. We watched them stare at us. Lol. At least three people asked about the wetsuits. My sis got a pic that I'll post of me waiting around.
We checked our bags with the staff, and around 1 pm we all headed to the spray fountains for a warm up. Picture 150 people in wetsuits doing jumping jacks, pushups, and crazy poses in 1 inch water....
Then we "jogged" to the Chicago Bean for more pictures.
After the photo ops came the run. Supposedly it was 2.5K, but it felt much, much longer in a thick wetsuit in 90° sunshine. However, I'm proud of myself.
We started at the front group, with the athletes, professionals, and coach. I stayed in the front pack until halfway. Someone said, "we just hit halfway," and my body said "wth?? I thought we were almost done. Shutting down...." At that point I walked a little and ran a little. I made an effort to walk up the hills and RUN AT FULL SPEED down the hills. Seriously, running down a hill is like carefully falling. Not a ton of effort for a bit of speed. :-)
A big issue was heat and dehydration. Next year I need to bring a water bottle with me. By the end I was dying. Not my muscles or breathing, but I'd have killed for ice water. Those wetsuits are freaking hot.
The end was awesome. I got to the beach, grabbed my water bottle, sat in the lake, and searched for my sis. She wasn't there. I LOVE my little sister, and unknowingly beating her felt great. Like "maybe I don't completely suck at this Triathlete thing."
Then she completely whooped my butt in swimming... :-) LOL!
The swimming was next and the cold water was heavenly after the run. This is when I really felt like we were all a team, a group, in triathlon training. Everyone helped everyone with zippers, sunscreen, caps, and goggles.
Half went to swim 0.5 to 1.0 miles (my sis) while the other half (me) attended the open water swimming class. Considering all my swimming has been in a pool, this was a shocker. Like, "panic can't breath" shocker. I'm a little embarrassed, but I couldn't do all the exercises. Between panic, sports bra, swimsuit, wetsuit, and upper respiratory infection, I could not breath. In hindsight I wish I had unzipped my wetsuit and tried without that layer of constriction. But c'est la vie. However, I learned a lot, my sister told me my stroke is actually good (Thank goodness), and I practiced swimming in open water, in a wetsuit, with people. Definitely a great experience.
Now I just need to practice more. And more. And more. In a lake.
After the swimming we had trolleys to take us back to Millennium Park and beer. Free beers! Then we had raffles, giveaways, and plenty of time to talk to other new and experienced triathletes. (I left with a shirt, towel, hat, and 2 pairs of sunglasses for the twins.)
The best way I can summarize is that I felt like a part of something. A part of something important. I AM going to be a triathlete.