the everyday adventures of sabrina

i'm happy, hope you're happy too

Had a conversation last week with my team lead about something that’s been annoying me lately, my increasing need to clean up after others before I can do my own work (or, on occasion, for me to clean up after others before different-others can do their work, because what’s even better than someone wasting one person’s time is when someone can waste two people’s time, plus the time of the dev teams waiting for us to do our actual work rather than do clean up). I sent an email as an example of what I was annoyed about. This morning, my team lead followed up and said, “Ok, I think I see. He doesn’t mind the hiccups because he just sees the progress.”

My response:

Whereas I feel like I’m going through life as an endless repetition of what happened to me just now when I went to go get coffee: I showed up at the coffee station, then realized someone had dumped water all over the floor, so before I got my coffee, I got a pile of paper towels and mopped up the giant puddle so no one slipped and fell, and meanwhile, someone I don’t even know came up and laughed at me for making a mess.

Happy Monday.

So T. talked me into doing one last tri before the season was over — and can I just take a second to remember that, barely over a year ago, I was so certain that I would barely be able to accomplish a sprint triathlon, and that I should make it my goal to do that and then proceed on to do an Olympic in 2012 — and we picked the Tri the Creek triathlon, in Potato Creek State Park, just south of South Bend, Indiana. It was just shy of an Olympic, with a 1k swim, 22 mi bike, and 10k trail run.

I have the car rack, so I drove us out there. We decided that picking T. up at 4:45 from Logan Square would get us there when transition opened at 7AM, with it being about a 2 hour drive. I was actually running early when I left the house (SOMEONE CALL THE RECORD BOOKS, that is the first time that has happened in my entire life) and so I went to the Dunkin’ Donuts at Harrison and Wabash to get coffee. Bad decision. I called T. at 3:55 to see if she wanted one, then went inside. TWENTY MINUTES LATER, I left, coffee in hand. What happened, you ask? Dormrats. Dormrats happened. The fucking superdorm inhabitants, and 2 E 8th inhabitants, and Polk/Plymouth Columbia dorm inhabitants, and and and. Like little drunken, indecisive fleas. Since it was 4AM, only one woman was working at DD. That poor, poor woman. I can only hope she’s not always the one stuck with the drunk idiot children.

Anyways. So. 4:15 (4:15!!!! FOR TWO COFFEES!), I left and headed up to T.’s, and got there at 3:35. She came out, we got her bike on the rack and headed out. Dodged drunks the whole damn way to South Bend — it was not even funny, how badly people were driving. Best of all was when a CPD car came from out of nowhere headed toward the Skyway, bypassing the two clearly-drunk assholes that I’d carefully gotten past so that the accident they inevitably caused would be behind me rather than in front, and blew past me doing at least 100. T. was wearing her heartrate monitor at the time and her heartrate jumped from about 55 bpm to over 120. No joke. Thanks, CPD, your shit driving scared me more than the drunken assholes you failed to pull over. But we continued onward, and everything was great until we stopped at a BP for gas about 20 miles away from the race, and T. came out of the gas station and asked, “What time is it?”

I glanced at my watch, then paled and said, “FUCK! EASTERN TIME ZONE!”

It was, of course, not 6:45 and 15 minutes until transition opened, with two hours to go until the race started, but in fact 7:45 and with only 45 minutes until transition closed, with check-in and chip pick-up and body marking to be done before then, not to mention the 20 minutes of driving through the country until we got there.

We got there at 8:05 EDT, took a few minutes to get our stuff and unrack the bikes, plus air up T.’s tires as they were low, then got across the parking lot, at which point I realized I’d left my USAT card in the car and went back for it, then after T. finished checking in I went up and the cranky lady demanded my driver’s license, which I’d also left in the car (I can leave my wallet unattended in the locked car or unattended in the unlocked transition area, when I expect to finish dead last long after the others – hmmmm, tough choice), so I went back to the car a SECOND time. This time they let me have my race bib, and I went in to transition with 10 minutes left. This is actually slightly more time than I had at She Bangs, so I managed to lay everything out neatly and cover it up with the trash bag I’d brought in case of rain, since it was merrily raining all over everything. We put on our wetsuits and went out to test the waters and wait for the pre-race talk.

The race was tiny. TINE-EE. According to the results, they had 91 people in the sprint, and 47 of us in the long course. Which is like 25 more people than they had last year. But it was actually really nice to be part of a small race. Sure, I was guaranteed to be dead last, but it didn’t take me five minutes to find my bike and get out on the run, THANK YOU, CHICAGO TRIATHLON, AHEM.

Anyways, we did make it to the start without any drama more serious than Cranky Drivers License Lady, so all was well. The water was ZOMG FREEZING — honestly, I think it was colder than the 62°F Lake Michigan water I swam a mile in on Saturday; it was okay once I started swimming, but waiting in the water for the airhorn was brutal — and my interpretation of the race course was, let’s say, … non-traditional.

So the swim course was 1000m, and a rectangle out and back:

o----o----o
|         |
|         |
o         o
|         |
|         |
F         S

This is how I swam it:

      /-----\
o----o        \
|               \
|                 >
o               /
|             /
|          /
F         S

I’m pretty sure it started out OK, but then a few seconds in I thought I should give T., on my immediate left, a little space, so I went right a tad, and then I just sort of … kept going. I totally forgot to sight at all, and I was in the zone, so I was well out there by the time I remembered to look where I was going, and I glanced left and realized that all the other swimmers were at least fifty yards away. I adjusted course and swam and swam and swam and swam back and it seriously took me the entire rest of that leg to make it back to the pack. Then I rounded the buoy wide and finally got back into the inside of the course, but if I didn’t add at least 150 yards to my swim, I’ll eat my swim cap. It’s hard to be too mad, since it’s my own damn dumbass fault for not looking where I was going, which is basically the first thing anyone tells you to do when you get taught open water swimming, though. I like to think that the lifeguards were sitting there playing rock-scissors-paper to see who had to go get me and keep me from swimming out to the ocean.

My official swim time was 20:03, and my swim was 5th among female swimmers. If I hadn’t taken my little detour, I imagine I would have finished at least 2 minutes (if not 3) faster, and I might even have challenged the first place female swimmer, who had a time of 17:53. Grrrrrrrrrr. Stupid sighting, why are you so easily forgettable?!?!

Then I ran up the beach up to transition, found my rack with no trouble (I love you, blue painter’s tape!), and went out on the bike, where every single other long course competitor except one proceeded to pass me. But that’s okay. There was one obnoxious hill right at the start (to put space between competitors. Because there were just so many of us?), then two loops of a somewhat hilly course. It was really gorgeous. A very pretty state park, and a beautiful place to stage a race, especially for a slowpoke like me who has the time to appreciate the surroundings, haha. I averaged 15.1 mph, which beats my Chicago time, so I’m pretty happy about that. Not sure if it was the CompuTrainer classes or just having my front brake fixed so it’s not rubbing on the rim, or what, that helped me pick up the pace without feeling more whipped, or maybe it was just that the weather was cool instead of warm, but anyways, I felt good about the bike.

…that is, until I got back to bike in and the dang DJ was playing the Macarena. Really, people. It’s not 1995 anymore. LET IT DIE!

So then, changed into running shoes and off to the run. This was, as promised, a nature trail hike through the woods. It’s worth saying that they told me so, but I didn’t believe them. I had dithered over whether to bring my regular running shoes or my trail running shoes, but I hadn’t run any trails since April at Starved Rock, and hadn’t trained in the trail shoes, and you know, the first commandment, “don’t do anything new on race day,” so I went with my regular running shoes. I think I would have been happier in my trail running shoes. Oh well. Then — hills. Hills, hills, hills. The run was not flat. My poor Chicago legs were sad. My poor Chicago quads were registering complaints with the union. It was amusing. It turned rapidly from a run into a hike. I ran the flats, picked my way carefully down the downhills (some of which were steep, most of which were littered with wet leaves, and all of which were muddy and slick), and strode up the uphills. My time on the run was utter, utter garbage. I seriously had a 15:58 pace, it was ridiculous. But, I didn’t break an ankle, and I finished stronger than I started. And, maybe more importantly, I really enjoyed my quiet little hike by myself in the woods, and it made me want to go back out to Starved Rock and do some more trail running through the muddy woods, so I think that is actually a total win.

And, as for being dead last. Well, first of all, someone has to be last, and at least I expected to be last so it’s not like I was going to be all upset and sad and crying my eyes out about the shame, the shame, the shaaaaaaame of it all. Besides, last person to finish a triathlon still fucking finished a fucking triathlon, so whatever, couch potato critics. Last place still gets a finisher’s medal! Ha!

And then — I got second place in my division! So I finished dead last, in the rain, AND I STILL PODIUMED. Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha. I rule!

So, I really liked the Tri the Creek, and I would totally do it again next year. I would do some trail running beforehand, and not just the nice smooth asphalt of the lakefront trail, and I would wear my trail running shoes. I would try really hard to remember to sight frequently and not attempt to swim to Ohio by accident. And I would remember that I’m going to lose an hour in the drive there, so plan departure times appropriately. 3 Disciplines put on a good race (even though all those fancypants sub-3 hour elites ate all the food before we finished), and I would totally do another of their races. Who knows, maybe I won’t be last place, next year!

So I just sat down and came up with an estimated budget of roughly $2000 for next year’s triathlon season — about half race entry fees and training fees, and the rest things like new bike shorts, new shoes, nutrition, etc. $2000 sounds like a whole lot, and don’t get me wrong, it’s nothing to sneeze at… except for how it kind of is totally to sneeze at, relative to how much I spent this year.

This is the post I’ve been planning, and dreading, all season. Oh yes – the part where I tally up that list of everything I bought this year. Well, everything I remembered to write down, anyway. Here goes nothing!

Race Entry Fees – Total: $848

South Shore Triathlon: $102
Chicago Triathlon: $188
SheROX Naperville Triathlon: $85
She Bangs Triathlon: $95
Bunny Rock 5k: $44
Ravenswood Run 5k: $42
Proud to Run 5k – $31
C4 Miles: $34 (+ $10 donation)
Fleet Feet New Balance Women’s 10k: $32
Elvis is Alive 5k: $27 (+$10 donation)
Illinois Tour de Donut: $25
Bike the Drive: $54
Hot Chocolate 15k: $69

Next year: Only do South Shore and SheROX sprint tris; do not register separately for Chicago and let T2 handle that. Budgeted for 4 5k-type races at $40 a pop, plus Elvis is Alive. Drop Tour de Donut. Drop She Bangs in the incredibly disgusting Bangs Lake. New budget: $450.

Memberships/Training/Etc – Total: $965
T2EA pre-season Indoor Triathlon: $175
T2EA Chicago Triathlon: $75
CARA 2 year membership: $79
USAT 1 year membership: $39
CES Open Water Swimming 10 week class: $227
Get a Grip Cycles bike fitting (so so so worth it!!): $270
TriMonster post-season CompuTrainer class: $100

Next year: definitely T2 indoor tri and regular season tri. Won’t need a new bike fitting, won’t take the open water class that I never got to go to because the Park District forced a rescheduling that didn’t work for me. Won’t have to renew CARA, will have to renew USAT. Will probably do another post-season class of some kind. New budget: $390.

Clothing – Total: $621
Pearl Izumi tri shorts: $40
3 Adidas tech t-shirts: $20
3 The Finals swimsuits: $60
Aerotech Designs tri shorts and bike shorts: $73
Moving Comfort sports bra: $20 (clearance! wooohoooo!)
Moving Comfort shorts and sports bras: $150
Bike Nashbar bike gloves: $5
Moving Comfort sports bra: $50
Blueseventy Reaction Wetsuit: $120 (super awesome T2 discount, plus Fleet Feet rewards points – got this for less than half price! score!)
Zoot tri top: $30 (woohoo again for clearance!)
Nike singlet: $13
Speedo Vanquisher goggles: $15
Pearl Izumi bike gloves: $25

Next year: Will definitely need bras, but am good on shirts. Will need at least another pair of long compression tights for cold-weather running. Will also need warm wool socks for cold weather. Will probably need two pair of bike shorts, a windbreaker shell of some sort, and estimating 3 swimsuits and one pair of goggles. New budget: $415.

Accessories – Total: $1,440
Polar FT-7 heartrate monitor: $110
Chamois Butt’r: $12
Travel Trac II bike trainer, frame pump for bike, Clean water bottle: $203
Chamois cream and goggles anti-fog spray: $25
Foam roller: $24
Floor tire pump: $28
Cateye wireless bike computer: $60
Bike gel seat cover: $10
Floor tire pump that does not destroy valves: $25
Tifosi Root Beer sunglasses: $40
Sportwash: $10
Shimano SPD pedals, pedal wrench: $73
Shimano SPD-SL/SPD shoe adapter: $25
Bike shoes for spinning bikes: $45
Shimano SPD-SL pedals: $44
Bike multitool: $10
Allen wrench set: $6
Cateye Strada Double Wireless bike computer: $100
Water bottle cage: $10
Pedro’s Toothbrush: $6
Bike chain cleaner/lube: $11
CO2 inflator and cartridges: $32
3-bike rack for car: $160
iPhone armband: $20
Hydration belt and spare bottles: $40
2 pair of Yankz: $14
Clip-on electronic metronome: $14
TriSlide: $12
Bodyglide: $12
Brave Soldier antiseptic, lubricant: $25
SuitJuice: $15
The Stick: $50
Compression socks, compression leg sleeves: $90
Race number belt: $8
“Insurance” pair of Tifosi Root Beer sunglasses: $40
Bike chain cleaner kit: $30

Holy fucking shit. Next year: is there anything left in this category TO buy??? – Will need more lube, probably TriSlide, Bodyglide, and Brave Soldier. Will probably need another bottle or two of goggle anti-fog spray. Might buy a handheld water bottle for running, will probably need to grab a couple bike water bottles. May buy a chip band. At least I’m pretty well set on electronic gadgetry, as long as I don’t fuck up and lose my bike computer a second time (ugh, that SUCKED). New budget: $200.

Books – Total: $100
Triathlon for Ordinary Mortals, The Non-Runner’s Marathon Trainer – $28
Training Weight: $12
Off Season Training: $4

Well now. Obviously I just wasn’t writing these guys down, since I have at least several other books. So I’m just doubling what I put down, as my real amount spent this year. Next year: Will probably be similar. New budget: $100.

Shoes – Total: $300
Brooks Adrenaline GTS 11: $100
Nike Zoom Structure: $100
Vibram Five Fingers Sprint: $100

My current shoes should get me through my half-marathon in January with no problem. After that, I may have to buy three more pair through 2012. New budget: $300.

Nutrition – Total: $100
This one’s just an estimate. But I think it’s a pretty good one.

Will probably be about the same next year, as well. New budget: $100.

All told, I spent — at least — $4400 this year on my triathlon pursuits, not counting my $1500 bike, the gas to drive to suburban races, or the amount of my fundraising minimum I’m going to have to pay out of pocket to T2 if I don’t raise the rest. So my $2000 budget for next year is looking pretty rosy, in comparison. Also, I will have some more Fleet Feet rewards points to use, and my REI dividend should be nice and fat next year, so hopefully those will stretch the budget a little extra.

It could always be worse. I hear the average that people spend to compete in an Ironman is $15,000…

My official results

If you click through to the Flickr photo and hover your mouse over the times, you can see notes with all my goals for my times. If you don’t want to do that, let me just say: I nailed those suckers. Woo!

I should write a real race report later, but I’m pretty tired right now. (I’ve been up for 15 hours, and I spent 4 of those endurance racing, another one getting to and from the endurance race, and 15 minutes sitting in a shallow tub of ice water. It’s been a long day.) So here are the highlights:

SWIM
OMG, WTF, BBQ. So Hurricane Irene was torturing New Yorkers (or at least it was supposed to, to listen to some of them banging on about it. Like my friend Natalie said, if there was a Lake Michigan hurricane that came in and blasted Chicago, the only news coverage we’d get would be “Make sure you have a canoe, and allow extra travel time to get to work tomorrow.” But I digress.), but meanwhile, some tendrils of it were stretching across the continent and stirring up crap around here (or at least I am blaming Irene for this crap). We had a forecast that called for winds out of the north-northeast at 15-23 mph through the early morning to the afternoon, and that came true. The lake was incredibly choppy — not wavy; wavy is different. This was just a hot mess of unpredictable, fast, short, and randomly directional waves. Plus, the swim route was shaped like a letter J, where the first 1/4 mi was south, then you did a U-turn around a buoy and came north for the remaining 3/4 mi. The winds were NNE. The water was moving SSW. We got to swim against that. It was the crazy icing on top of the flailing, splashing, kicking bumper cars madness of the swim.

I admit that, after my blog post the other day about the tri, I felt a little bad for that offhand crack about kicking people back if they kick me. I’m kind of a girl scout, so I was all “I shouldn’t say that, it’s meeeeeean to kick people.” After experiencing the Chicago Triathlon swim start in that water? Fuck that noise. You kick me, I kick you back. I seriously got through that batshit swim using a few advanced swimming techniques: 1) bilateral breathing. It was really important to be able to breath on both sides, not just the side I was most comfortable on, because that side was into the rising sun and the rising waves, so switching was really killer; 2) Rotation – I was able to kick my rotation way up more than I usually do in the pool, so I could get my face farther out of the water to breathe without inhaling water; and 3) mentally referring to anyone who pissed me off in any fashion, like the guy who couldn’t swim straight and kept swimming into my left side and pushing me out towards the boats so that I actually stopped and trod water long enough to let him get totally in front of me so I could get on his left side instead, as “green-cap fucksticks.” I’m sure that most people in the wave before mine, such as the two T2EA athletes who are obviously superior in every way, are very nice people, but a lot of them are very aggressive yet inept swimmers, aka “fucksticks,” and that wave had green caps, so the epithet “green-cap fuckstick” was coined. There were a few green-cap fucksticks wearing other colored caps, but I was trying to not inhale water, so I stuck with what worked: green-cap fucksticks. Oh, there were so many green-cap fucksticks. I think my on-goal swim time despite the water conditions working against me was largely due to my immense desire to get the hell away from all the other swimmers.

Then there was the 450 yard dash up the crumbly asphalt to transition. After I’d already been walking around all morning barefoot, including the 3/4 mi walk from transition to the swim start and a half-hour wait in line for a porta-potty, because I decided not to bring flip flops. DO NOT MAKE THIS MISTAKE. IT IS A HURTY ONE. And, oh yeah, the time for this gets applied to your official swim time. I did splits, and this took 4 minutes, which means my swim time was 39m, which was under my 40m goal, so HA, take that, stupid asphalt. Ow, my poor feet.

T1
I actually rocked this one. I ran across the grass (sweet cool, cool, soft grass…) and through the route I’d scouted and walked earlier, found my row with no trouble (it RULES having the rack row with the recycling bins at both ends), found my bike with no trouble (thanks to it having a big bunch of red silk flowers on the stem, the blue masking tape arrow on the ground, and oh yeah, it was second from the end nearest bike out/bike in), toweled my feet off to attempt to get the dried cut grass off (which failed), threw my helmet on, rolled my socks on, put my shoes on, pulled my bike gloves out of my shorts legs (oh yeah, did I mention I forgot to leave my bike gloves in transition, which I realized when I got to the swim start, and my feet hurt so much I said “fuck it” to walking them back to transition, so I just shoved one inside each shorts leg before I put my wetsuit on), and ran for bike out. A volunteer and several spectators publicly admired my flowers, I shoved my gloves in my teeth, mounted the bike, and headed for the ramp up to Lake Shore Drive. I got up the ramp, over the bridge over the river, and once we had settled a little I pulled my gloves on. I like to think that it makes me look coordinated that I can pull that off – putting my gloves on with my teeth while biking in a straight line. I probably just look like some idiot who forgot to put her gloves on in transition. Whatever. It totally saves me like 45s in T1, so I’ll take the idiot look.

Then… oh yeah. Irene. Fucking Irene and her fucking bullshit headwind. What the hell. The first leg took me 30 minutes. I was Not Happy – 30 minutes x 4 legs = 2 hour bike; my goal was 1:45 atmost. But the headwind was transformed into a tailwind for the return south, which I forgot to hit the split button to stop when I turned around at Chicago Ave, but it was certainly a lot easier to bike. Then the turn back north, into that bitching bullshit headwind. I seriously was going up overpasses at like 10 mph, it was sad. (OTOH, those moments gave me opportunities to pass slowpokes and people on mountain bikes, so that was happy. I also passed one woman riding a bike with a full rack and two saddlebags, but I told her as I went that riding with the saddlebags made her super hardcore, so I don’t count her as a slowpoke.) The second and third legs combined were 46:35, which made me happy because I that meant my first south leg was 20m, which is way better than 30, and meant I could hopefully still manage under 1:45. The second leg south took me 26, and then I was back at transition. I deliberately let the gas out a little more on the last lap – telling myself this is my last race of the season, I don’t have to save anything up for tomorrow or later this week. I don’t know how much of an effect that had, but it was some nice mental encouragement.

I will say, I had a WHOLE lot of fun watching the traffic going the opposite direction and spotting people in T2EA jerseys and cheering for them. Also, I had a few riders tell me, usually while passing me, that they liked my flowers. So honestly, the bike was basically just full-on entertainment. I probably inhaled a thousand tiny insects just because I was grinning like a dork the whole time.

T2
My goal for this was 3m, which I didn’t make, even a little. I think it’s basically because there were a lot of people in the aisle trying to find their racks (again, recycling bin FTW) so I had to go at the pace of those in front of me, and transition was huge. I’m not sure why else it took me 5 freaking minutes. I pretty much took off my shoes, took off my gloves, pulled on my running shoes, slammed on my TriMonster visor, clipped on my race belt, and ran for run out. Granted, run out was a big twisty maze to get to (I should have retraced my swim in steps, but instead I went down the aisle outside and I think it made the route longer than it needed to be. But that was autopilot: that was how I walked to swim out, when I walked the route in transition. Next time, walk out the full transition, not just inspecting the ins/outs and scouting landmarks.

Run
Oh my. My good intentions to do the race as run 20m, walk 3m repeats failed immediately. I ran for like 3 minutes, then walked for 3. Then I ran for like 2, and walked for 3. It was a quick and humbling flameout. I don’t mean I hit the wall or anything, but I definitely had to mentally eat some humble pie about how well I’d be able to run off the 25mi bike. I wound up run/walking the entire course. My first mile was the slowest, and second mile the second slowest, though, so I did get better, and settled into a 14:30 average pace, down from a 15:07 average over the first two, so that’s ok. Not the 13:45 I had hoped for, but it’s not like it’s a crisis if I finished 5 minutes later. Besides, doing my second 10k as part of my first ever international triathlon – I think I’m entitled to guess wrong about how my legs might feel. Next time I’ll know better, and will have trained more. So it’s a learning experience.

I will say that the spectators along the run were fantastic. There were some really great signs – “Spandex makes you sexy!” and a few others. I tried to tell the signholders that I appreciated their work when I saw something good. I must have high-fived at least a dozen kids along the way, too.

The run took me back past the T2 tent at swim start (backed up against the run route at about .75 mi), did a little dance for them, then got about 10 high-fives and immeasurable cowbell, which was totally sweet. Seriously, I bet more than one person left that race today going “man, I’m training with T2 next year.” We were all yelling encouragement at each other the whole time. It was superfantastic. Spotting other T2 competitors and cheering them was like half the fun of my race – cheering them on kept me going. Them cheering me on kept me going well. :)

But I also was really buoyed by some friends who came out to watch me compete. Sean and Steph, of course, were there from the start – Steph came over to hug me while my wave was queued up waiting to jump in the water, and they spotted and cheered me at bike in, run out, and were waiting for me at the T2 booth after the finish. Sean also took some amazing photos. Liam was waiting for me at the Lake Shore Drive underpass just before finish, and then he ran around and met me after the finish. Trish was on the run route just the other side of the first T2 tent. Craig took some photos of me right after the finish and hung out for a while with me. And John brought his bike and cheered for me at bike in plus about three spots along the run! You guys all rule. Seriously, it meant a whole lot to have friends out there cheering for me. :)

Ok… that’s the totally superficial race recap. Now… I AM GOING TO SLEEP!

I can’t believe it, but the Chicago Triathlon is only 4 days away. I signed up the first day registration opened, last year – 1 October. And now the race is this Sunday, 28 August. I’d be nervous, except I’ve basically spent the past 8 months training up from zero, and I’ve spent this whole week so far being nervous, so now I’m too tired of being nervous to actually be nervous. So I’m probably good, at least until Saturday night, when I will not be able to sleep at all. But anyway!

So anyone who is planning to come out to spectate — read the official spectator guide. This is what I will be doing:

My bib number is 4639, and I am in Wave 30. That means my start time is 8:14 AM. Don’t try and pick me out of a crowd of swimmers; we’ll all be in black wetsuits and my wave all in white swim caps, so we’ll basically look like a crowd of clones. Just stand back and watch the sloshing and flailing at the crazy swim start, and think good thoughts about me not getting kicked in the head, or at least, if I do get kicked in the head, that I swim fast enough to kick them in the head right back.

I estimate my swim time will be between 35-45 minutes for the mile, so that puts me running (ha) the 450 yds from the water up to transition at around 8:50AM or so. This would be an excellent opportunity to take embarrassing photos to blackmail me with later, except that triathlon has caused me to lose all sense of shame and you can’t embarrass me this way anymore. (Spandex bike shorts do that to a person. Not to mention that this is a sport where they have to explicitly state in the rules that nudity is not allowed in the transition area. Just imagine what was going on before they decided to throw that one in.) T1, the transition between the swim and the bike, I think will take me like 5 minutes. I don’t really know how long that 450 yd run is going to take, and if it’s gravel I might be a pretty princess who doesn’t want to run and hurt her pretty princess feets on it.

On the bike, you should be able to spot me because my bike will have a big bunch of flowers on the front stem. Like this, except I bought a bunch of red flowers specifically for race day. Team To End AIDS, red ribbons, red jerseys, red flowers… it’s a thing. Anyways, look for the bike with red flowers. You’ll be able to spot it because all the skinny people looking all serious and intent on their aerobars will be zooming past, while my flowers are the complete antithesis of aerodynamics. But they are race legal, I have it from USAT rules officials, so suck it, aero nerds!

The bike leg is two loops of Lake Shore Drive, north from Randolph up to Foster, back down to Chicago, back up to Foster, then back down to the yacht club, for a total of 40k (24.8 mi). I am guessing this will take me between 1:30 and 1:45, depending on how much lollygagging I do. I am going to try to average 14-15 mph the whole time, but I may or may not. I don’t think I’ll be able to sustain any more than 16, and that would leave me with nothing left for the run. So we’ll see how well the plans work out.

T2 should be nice and quick since it’s just a change of shoes and hat, so that’ll probably be about 3 minutes.

The run is south along the bike trail to the south end of McCormick Place, then around and up Columbus to the finish. It’s a 10k (6.2 mi), which will only be my second ever 10k race. My first, last, and only previous 10k I completed in 1:24. Because I will be pretty tired from the bike, I’m estimating this one will take me, again, between 1:30 and 1:45 to complete. I’m going to try and do a 13:30-13:45 pace, which would put me at about 1:27-1:29, but I have a bad habit of going too hard on the bike and not leaving myself with much on the run, and of course I’m not that experienced with the 10k distance, so we’ll just have to see.

Best case finish time: 3:45, or roughly noon.
Probable finish time: Around 4:00-4:10, between 12:15-12:30.
Worst case finish time: 4:25, or 12:40 PM.

You can watch my progress on the athlete tracker, or as I like to say, The Niquitron! I have no idea how it works, if it’s accurate, or anything. They just gave me the URL and I am parrotting it. Look, it has a clock on it! And yes, there’s an app for that: iPhone and Android.

Anyone coming to spectate to support me, if you plan on hanging out by the finish, I would encourage you to find the Team To End AIDS group and hang out there. First of all, they’re going to be more experienced at spotting T2 runners coming through the chute, like me. Second, they’re going to go batshit crazy with cheering and cowbells for every single T2 athlete, and that is A WHOLE LOT OF FUN to do. They should be easy to find — they’ll be the crowd of people in bright red shirts.

Also, while you’re out on the course, cheer for any T2 athlete you see — not just me! Just yell “GO T2″ and woooo and shake your cowbell for them. They’ll appreciate it even if they don’t know who you are. We all worked really hard for this, so it is totally appropriate to cheer us all on!

And of course, if you have extra money burning a hole in your pocket — feel free to send it to the AIDS Foundation of Chicago by sponsoring me here! I’m almost halfway to my goal of $3000 and I would really love to make it a bit closer by race day. It’s all tax deductible, and gets you loads of priceless brownie points with me.

Last – THANK YOU to everyone who has supported me for the past year. This has not really been easy for me, not least the weekend mornings spent getting up at 3AM, Sundays running six-plus miles in the middle of the day so I can get acclimated to running in the heat, trying lots of different varieties of “nutrition,” some more gross than others, the learning about what IT band tightness, shin splints, and hip bursitis feel like, the learning that sweat in your eyes frigging burns… It turns out that this is hard work! And I think we all know, my idea of hard work involves reading a complicated lace knitting pattern. But it’s been worth it, I really have enjoyed this entire year a lot, I’ve met some really fantastic people through Team To End AIDS, and we’ve raised some money for the AIDS Foundation of Chicago, which is a wonderful organization that helps people throughout the entire state of Illinois. And every time one of you sends me an email saying “Hey! Your race is Sunday! What’s your bib number so I can spot you,” it’s a huge boost of encouragement. So thank you, all of you, because every single one of you guys is awesome like a hundred billion hot dogs!

Love,
–sabrina