Lake Zurich Area Triathlon
Lake Zurich is a great local/grass roots triathlon that I really enjoyed last year. I love that it is a very well run event with a low price. Plus there is race morning packet pickup and I only have to get there an hour before the race. Last year I started in the first wave and was first across the line, only to find out someone in a later wave had a faster time. The reality is he would have still beat me if we raced head to head, but I still wish we could have been in the same wave. I shared this feedback with the race director and he actually listened and added an elite wave this year. I was not planning on doing the race this year, but because he listened to my feedback I signed up.
Other than the really warm water, the swim went great. I started to the far left and just did my own thing until the first turn buoy. Then I found some feet and stuck to them for the remaining three quarters of the swim. Thanks to Jen Harrison leading the way I had one of my best swims yet. The only problem was I was really warm thanks to the wetsuit legal swim and my heart rate was super high coming out of the water.
I started the bike in about 6th place and decided to let my heart rate settle before I picked up the power. My heart rate did settle but I the power never went up. I ended up riding at lower watts than many of my half ironman races, but I was still able to catch up and come into T2 only steps behind the leader.
Of course, I was thrilled with winning the race and with having a good swim but a little bummed about my performance on the bike and run. I'm really glad that I was able to push through and make the best out of the situation but I know I should have ridden at least a minute faster and last year I ran over 3 minutes faster at this same race.
Ironman 70.3 Racine
This was my 6th time doing this race. It use to be just like Lake Zurich and was an inexpensive/low key race that I loved. Now it is a huge WTC production which brings some good and bad.
Instead of starting in the first wave, I was in the 19th wave and the water was the choppiest I can remember in the 6 years I have done the race (but probably the warmest as well). I felt fine on the swim and had no issues but my time was over 3 minutes slower than it should have been. I'm pretty sure it was a combination of having to swim through and around tons of people and my long/slow swim stroke that is not the most effective in rough water.
Starting the bike I felt fine but my legs were flat feeling. I ended up with the lowest average watts for any half ironman in the last 3 years, but my bike split was only about 2 minutes slower than I expected.
Coming out of T2 my legs like they usually do after a 56 mile bike ride. Typically the first 1-2 miles are a bit of a struggle, but then I get into a groove and can run pretty well. In this race I didn't find my stride until about mile 10, but once I did I started to feel really good. I ended up having a really good last two miles and finishing really strong.
Overall, I performed better at Racine than Lake Zurich, but with a much more competitive field (which is a good thing) I was only 4th in my age group. Either way, the good news is that once again I executed the best race I could that day. I didn't make any pacing or nutrition mistakes and I didn't force anything and blow up like I used to do years ago. I just stayed relaxed and did the best I could.
Things haven't quite started to click yet this year and my fitness isn't were I wanted it to be but I still have almost 3 months to build up until Kona. Coming up next is USA Triathlon Age Group Nationals.