The Chisago Lakes Triathlon hosts both a 70.3-distance and a sprint-distance race. The whole race weekend was a blast as I was racing alongside many friends from the Winona/Rochester area. For triathletes who excel in the bike, the Chisago Lakes sprint race is definitely one to consider as it includes a 22-mile bike ride versus the usual 10-12 mile bike typically see in sprints. This is my 2nd year competing in the 70.3-distance race, and last year we battled the chilly weather throughout the morning, and this year it was all about the wind, rain and weeds.
Here is the recap:
Swim: First of all I need to thank Coach Joe and his wife for letting me borrow their spare wetsuit. It was a big time-saver for me!
The swim this year seemed like a constant battle with traffic, I only had a few stretches of blissful open water without others swimming in my path or bumping into me. There were many moments during the swim that I felt as if I was swimming through a washing machine. Being that this is a larger race, there were quite a few waves of people released into the water with 30+ people per swim wave. That’s a lot of people!
In addition to the traffic, the lake also had a significant amount of weeds. On the backstretch of the swim course I ended up playing a mental game of trying to level out my body from head to toe along the surface of the water to avoid touching the weeds that sat about 10-inches below. I found that focusing my mind on this not only kept me out of the weeds, but it made me swim faster as I really streamlined my body through the water. I may need to use this tactic for future swims. I clocked the swim at a little over 1.33-miles so I’d be curious to know if they marked the course a little long, I timed myself at just about 40 minutes.
T1: Once I got out of the water, I had to hike up the hill and all the way through the huge transition area. The transition is located on a nice grass park and has plenty of room for all athletes.
Bike: The bike course has a few gentle rolling hills, but for the most part is very flat. The biggest battle for people on the course was the wind. I feel as if I have been battling the wind all summer long so the wind on this course didn’t seem to bother me. This course has a lot of turns through the country roads of Minnesota so even though the wind was brutal to bike against, I knew that it was only a matter of time until I would make a turn and have the wind at my back pushing me along. Last year I struggled on the bike course due to the cold weather, this year I dealt with wind and rain but I was physically more prepared for the 56-mile course and came in at 3 hrs 5 minutes – that’s 15 minutes faster than a week prior at the Duluth Triathlon and a whopping 27 minutes faster than last year’s Chisago race. YES!
T2: When returning to T2, a majority of the sprint athletes have left leaving the transition area fairly quiet and easy to maneuver.
Run: I was really worried about how I would feel on the run portion of the race, especially when I felt so terrible while running at the Duluth Triathlon just 7 days prior. I was very pleasantly surprised when I got out on the run course as I actually felt great. The weather was mid-70’s and overcast for the first third of the run and then proceeded to be sunny and warm the rest of the afternoon. I was able to maintain a decent run/walk combination for the 13.1 course, walking at aid stations and on a couple larger hills. The support on the run course was great, except I learned my lesson in that when volunteers shout “Gatorade!” they actually meant HEED. So when I went to take a swig of what I thought would taste like Gatorade, it was a horrible bitter taste of something else. So I chose to stick with water the rest of the course, and utilized the nutrition that I brought with me for calories. I finished the run in just short of 2 hrs 24 minutes – about 4 minutes faster than last year.
I finished in 6 hours 16 minutes and 14 seconds. That is about 33 minutes faster than last year, so I will chalk the day up to a huge success. After the race I felt pretty great considering I just exercised for 6+ hours, and my spirits were high providing me a huge confidence boost for Ironman Wisconsin.
My hubby (aka my sherpa who carries all my tri gear and takes photos) was unfortunately unable to attend as a spectator so I am missing all the great photos that he usually snaps of me while racing. However, I was able to snag this shot with two of my friends JS and SH who competed in Chisago also. If anyone has photos from race day, feel free to share with me and I’ll get them posted!