|Harbor Lights Triathlon:
A Little Out of My Comfort Zone
Sometimes you have to get a
little out of your comfort zone when competing in athletic
events. I experienced this first hand this weekend, participating
in my first sprint triathlon as a member of a relay team. Our
15 year old nephew, Kyle, who is an avid high school foot ball
player and wrestler wanted to try his hand at running. He has
been fascinated by our triathlon events, so he wanted to experience
it for himself. He of course, didn’t train, didn’t
use running shoes, so he was definitely out of his comfort
zone—but he still had
a great race. I was out of my comfort zone because this was
my first sprint distance triathlon. My usual races are long
endurance races, so I have time to ease into a nice steady
pace. The sprint distance is pretty much just what it says—a
sprint— meaning all out for the whole race.
Dr. Ross: swimmer 0.43 miles (0.7K)
Marion: Biker 13.2 mile (21K)
Kyle: runner 4.0 mile (6.4K)
Put the Pedal to the Metal!
My Ironman buddy, Christine, told me that she thought I was
in better cycling shape than I realized and to just put my
bike in the big gear, and think “push down, pull up” and
pass as many people as I could! She predicted I would do
the 13.2 miles in 40 minutes at a pace of 19.5 mph. Hum…could
Here I am before the start of the race. What
great race-day weather! Cooled down to the
that night. Sun coming up over Lake Michigan!
What a beautiful day!
Team Caring set up their transition area, excited
to be participating
in Kyle’s first event,
as well as Marion’s
first sprint. Dr. Ross has become a great swimmer,
so we hoped he would start us out with a good
lead! See how calm Lake Michigan looked?
Here we are before Ross went down to the start
for the swim. I won’t show you the picture
of what happened to his swimming suit and the gaping
hole in the back. Let’s
just say good thing he was wearing a wet
Ross completed his swim in 12 minutes! Wow!
We were going strong!
experience on the Bike Course
I have to tell you, I was a bit nervous about this ride. The
announcers kept saying overhead on the PA system as we were getting
ready for the race, “beware of the rough conditions on
the bike course—very uneven terrain.” Well, what
they meant by this was—BEWARE of the massive amounts
of pot holes, cracks, rocks, and even oil on the bike course.
How could there be “uneven terrain” on a highway?
The terrain is smooth—it’s the road that’s
bad! Well, the good thing about riding your bike in Chicagoland
is that you become accustomed to riding around pot holes, construction,
road-ragers, in the midst of all types of weather – rain,
snow, heat, and cold. So where many of the bikers found this
terrain terrible, I was actually pretty used to it. Yes, it was very rough, and actually pretty dangerous for a race to be held
on this highway. I saw about eight people with flats and one
person went down on the sharp turn that was covered in oil. Many
people nearly fell, but luckily none of these were me!
Just as my friend told me to do, I put the pedal to the metal,
and just hammered it as hard as I could, but still tried to conserve
something for the end. I didn’t look at my cadence meter
or my speedometer because I didn’t want to know. I was
going to go totally on perceived exertion. Dr.
advice to me was that I should be huffing and puffing the entire
time—so that’s what I did!
As I took off from the transition area, I wound around the deserted
smoke stacks and old abandoned buildings—not exactly
a beautiful site! But the course was well-marked and nobody was
riding on top of each other. I felt strong, but wanted to hold
back a little. I decided I was going to play it conservatively
and slow down on the turns. I did not want to be one of the people
wiping out, thank you very much! The riders then turned onto
the Amstudz highway—an old abandoned highway whose main
purpose is to film movies on or drag race! Yup— it’s
the highway that goes nowhere! This is where we saw a lot of
pot holes, cracks, rocks, and yes, riders with flat tires.
I stayed to the left because interestingly enough, I was passing
a lot of people, just like Chris said. This is very unusual for
me, because usually people are passing ME! Some very fast men
riders whizzed by me in their aerodynamic helmets, but for the
most part, I kept a steady pace and followed two fast women who
seemed to be going my pace. We looped around twice, and then
got off the highway, and back through the deserted area along
the lake. With a few miles to go, I put the pedal to the metal
again and tried to drive it home in high gear. I passed one girl
in green who I had been following the whole ride. I was neck
and neck with the lady in pink next to me. She’d pull ahead,
then I’d pull ahead. We had a great ride to the end, finishing
right next to each other, both of us huffing and puffing. I dismounted,
and ran to the transition area. There was a bit of a back log
at the timing mat as everyone was trying to dismount and move
into transition. So I am sure I lost a minute or so there waiting
to get into the transition area. But no worries! I ran in as
fast as I could, glad to be done!
Being the 15 year old that he is, I half expected
my runner partner
not to be ready to run, but
there he was! Dr. Ross whipped off the timing
chip from my ankle and strapped it onto Kyle and away he went!
I was very happy to be off the bike and to catch
my breath! I finished in 40 minutes!
Whew, my friend Chris was right! I could do faster
than I though
But I sure needed a drink of water after that
was over! Whew!
it was up to Kyle to bring it home. We were competing against
all male teams—we had a female and a youngster on our
team! But whose counting? I was very happy with my time and pushing
myself beyond what I thought I could do! 40 minutes at 19.5 mph
Kyle took off like a jack rabbit! The 4 mile course wound up
and around the old buildings away from the beach, up into the
town of Waukegan, then down Sheridan Road, and back down to the
beach. Kyle is in great shape from his wrestling training so
even though he didn’t practice this run, he averaged 8
minutes/mile! Way to go Kyle!
I know he was tired after the race, but he
said, “Wow, that was great crossing the
finish line!” Yes,
it IS a great feeling to push yourself beyond
what you think you can do!
Here is Dr. Ross and I after we cooled down
a bit and left to host a BBQ for our old High
School friends at our parents’ house. I then changed
hats and whipped up a nice gourmet BBQ featuring all
yummy Hauser Diet foods that everyone enjoyed!
| We finished 3rd place among 19 teams at 1:28! Woo hoo! We were
We dug deep, put the pedal to the metal, and came out winners!
The great thing about triathlons, especially shorter ones like
this, is that you see all shapes and sizes, all ages, competing
together. Each person has a story and is striving to accomplish
something. You too can participate! The first step is getting
up off the couch and out onto the side walk! You can do it, we
can help you!