ET Batavia Triathlon Recap

Ever since I was little, I’ve been afraid of storms. I’ve come a long way from hiding in the basement when the wind blows, but the threat of severe weather still freaks me out. The last place I want to be with a humongous black cloud overhead is in a wetsuit about to jump into a quarry. But guess where I was this morning? In a wetsuit about to jump into a quarry. I debated skipping the race, but I paid $85 for this thang I’m no quitter.

Where's Waldo? This pic is blurry, but I thought it was pretty funny. You can see the fear through my smile. Haha!

Where’s Waldo? This pic is blurry, but I thought it was pretty funny. You can see the fear through my smile. Haha!

Swim – 400 meters

Before the race, I was standing by some big dogs in transition who declared they weren’t wearing wetsuits. I agreed that a wetsuit was silly for an eight minute swim…then I started shivering. I made a last-minute decision to wear the wetsuit, and holy smokes, I’m glad I did.

With storm systems in the area, race officials delayed the 6:30am start for an hour. By the time I entered the water, I was stiff and had forgotten how cold it felt two hours before. The initial chill took my breath away, and I struggled to calm down. The swim route was supposed to be 2 laps around the quarry. (Side note- One side was so shallow everyone had to walk. Weird.) Unfortunately, swimmers were pulled from the water due to lightening, so I only finished one lap. I was bummed to have missed the second lap, but safety is most important. I thought the race was over, but thankfully a nice man yelled, “Go get your bike!” The swim was called off, but the rest of the race could proceed as planned.

Bike – 14.7 miles

When I got to transition after the swim, everything was soaked. I threw on my wet cycling shoes and helmet and headed to the bike out area. Despite the pouring rain, the ride was awesome. There were a few rolling hills, but it was mostly flat, smooth roads. Riders were pretty spread out on the course…until I ran into my competition at mile 7. We were about the same pace; I was faster on the flat stretches and he zoomed past me on downhills. (I’m a cautious rider, especially on wet roads.) After passing one another 5 times, we were cracking up and joked that we would finish 1 and 2. My pace was 18.7 mph. Considering the conditions, I’ll take it!

Run – 4.1 miles

Making it to the run is always a relief. The tough parts are over, and I’ve officially made it to the last event. In T2, I put on some dry socks, my running shoes and headed out…with my helmet on. Luckily I caught myself before leaving the transition area. Whew! That would have been a funny site to see. The run was along the Fox River on the Kane County Fox River Trail. It was a  lovely route- scenic and shaded. There were beautiful houses along the river, and gazing at them kept my mind off the fact that my legs wanted to fall off. My pace was 8:47/mile. This is almost 1:40/mile faster than my comfortable pace!

All smiles (I think?) as I near the finish line.

All smiles as I near the finish line. Photo courtesy of my fiancé. He was such a trooper to wake up at 4am and stand in the rain all morning. I’m one lucky gal.

My thoughts?

Aside from the storm clouds, cold water and rain, I really enjoyed this race. It was well organized, the volunteers were great (and such troopers for being in the rain for hours!), and the post-race party had delicious food (priorities, people). I do wish there was a different option for the swim but understand swimming locations are limited. I’ll definitely be back again next year…Hopefully on a sunny day!

Proof that I survived!

Proof that I survived!

Hope you all had a good weekend!

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Soldier Field 10-Miler Recap

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I loathe winter. There is nothing pleasant about snow, cold, ice, or my attitude during those silly months. When summer days roll around, one would think I’ve never seen the sun. I can barely contain my excitement when temps are above 70 degrees.

The Soldier Field 10-miler just happened to be on one of the first glorious days of summer. I’d never done the race, but I signed up thanks to the recommendation of friends. I was planning to run 10 miles for my half Ironman training this weekend, so it was perfect timing. It’s always more fun to run with friends (and have a beer waiting for you at the end).

My two cents on the race…

The Good

Umm…Everything? Seriously, this was a great race.

  • Parking was free and close to the race start. I exited the parking garage and there was my corral! Magic.
  • There was a nice tribute prior to race start honoring the fallen men and women that have served our country.
  • We were in Corral 8, but we only waited about 15 mins before go time. For the numbers of runners, I was impressed by the short wait time.
  • For the first 4.5 miles, we headed south on Lakeshore Drive. There’s something cool about running on this always-busy highway.
  • Heading to the finish line on Soldier Field felt awesome. I was smiling from ear to ear when I ran under the tunnel and onto the field.
  • Military personal were giving out the medals after the race. Many finishers were shaking their hands and thanking them for their service. It was moving, and one of the best race finishes of my life.
  • Post race beverage was 312. ‘Nuff said.
The finish line! Geesh I am really a sad photographer (but you get the point). It's ON Soldier Field, and that is neat.

The finish line! Geesh I am really a sad photographer. But you get the point. It’s ON Soldier Field, and that is neat.

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Two of my favorite people! Only a few more weeks until summer marathon training begins. Looking forward to spending every Saturday morning with them!

The Bad

As we were heading south on Lakeshore Drive, I noticed a few runners heading north on the Lakefront path. I told my friends that it didn’t look too congested…then I realized those speedsters were the elite pack. Ahh, someday. Maybe. Probably not. For the other 99% of the runners, the path was tight. I was dodging people the final 4 miles. One path and 10,000+ people. Yeah. Tight squeeze. I realize it would be difficult to keep LSD closed for the whole race, but I would love to see an alternative, more spacious route in future years.

The Ugly – Nothing at all!

Overall, I was impressed with this race and will certainly run it again. My average pace per mile was 10:16. Not my fastest race ever, but I finished strong and felt great.

Hope you all had a great weekend! Happy Memorial Day. XO

I Hate Losing

My last name is McLuckie, and I tend to be a lucky person (knock on wood). My luck took a turn for the worst on April 28 when myself, along with 30,000+ Chicago Marathon lottery entrants, had a stint of very bad luck.

This is what happens on the day you don’t get into the Chicago Marathon:

-Check email 150 times in search of the glorious Chicago Marathon lottery status email that says “Approved”.

-Text family things like, “OMG! I’m so nervous.”

-Read Chicago Marathon’s Facebook page and feel envious of the “I got in!” posts.

-Receive the dreaded Not Selected email at 4:45pm. Start pouting at work, and tell your cube mates that it’s the worst day ever.

-Text your family and friends 100 crying face emojis.

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See what I mean? I’m not sure how the crying happy tears guy snuck in there. This was no laughing matter!

-Leave work hoping that your run will make you feel better. Eat a bug and see a squirrel get hit by a car on this run. (Turns out, squirrels don’t listen to your warning yells.)

-Talk to your running friends that make you feel much better about the situation.

-Decided that you’re still going to participate in summer marathon training with your favorite CARA running group.

-Fall asleep feeling excited to try a new marathon in a new city.

I’m actually looking forward to cheering on all of you lucky runners! Until next year, Chicago.

XO

-Do you guys have any fall marathon recommendations? 

The Struggle is Real

Why hello. Hope everyone enjoyed the beautiful weather this weekend! Isn’t it wonderful to be riding and running outside?

Saturday morning, I had just about finished my 30-mile ride when I got flat tire. A teeny, tiny shard of metal pierced it, and within seconds, it was completely flat. Womp.

Sitting on the edge of the road, I started to think about all of the unexpected things that happen when training for a half Ironman. Although my fellow triathletes have been amazing resources in answering my questions, there are some things that you have to learn on your own. Unless, of course, you read my below list of tri training struggles (and some tips)…

*You will feel exhausted all the time. This is mostly true for me during the week. After a long workday, I accidentally fell asleep after my run and swim. Daniel had to wake me for dinner at 9pm!

*You will be hungry every second of the day. Just typing the word hungry made me hungry.

*Wipeouts happen more than you expect. No matter how many times I ride my bike, every so often I forget to unclip my shoes. In my most recent wipeout news, I made a wrong turn and was heading straight for a lake. Instead of calmly unclipping my shoes, I FREAKED THE F OUT and fell right on over. As an added bonus, a large group of canoers witnessed the whole fiasco!

*Assume that no one sees you when biking or running. Be particularly defensive when training around busy roads, but also be aware of others on a trail. You’ll be shocked at the amount of people that have no idea you are behind them until you scare the sh*t out of them by announcing yourself. 

*Ladies- You will have a love, hate relationship with your bike. Somedays, your saddle will seem like the devil himself. You will have bruises in places you don’t ever want bruises. What happened to the good ole’ beach cruiser seats?

*The foam roller will be your new BFF. Your body will be in a constant state of sore, so rolling around on foam is necessary.

*Buy these products- you will thank me later:

  • Swim- Speedo Ergo Ear Plugs and anti-fog solution for goggles
  • Bike- Anti Chafe Chamois Butt’r (Chafing is zero fun, chafing caused by your bike seat is hell.)
  • Run- Body Glide (I shower in this stuff! It is great for preventing wetsuit rash as well.)

Hope you’ve learned a thing or two at my expense. Consider yourself warned, my friend.

Have a great week! XO

There’s no crying in tri training!

There's no crying in tri training

I’ve learned one thing in my short time as a Half Ironman hopeful:  Training can be exhausting. Running six miles and swimming 1,000 meters seems fine and dandy when I’m chipper at 6am. Throw in a 10+ hour work day filled with meetings and conference calls, and those same training plans seem a bit more daunting.

Last week, like a two year old who doesn’t want to take off his floaties, I almost threw a fit in the pool. I had just experienced a slow treadmill run and was hoping to redeem myself during my swim. One lap in, my goggles fogged up, and I choked on a sufficient amount of water. (I swear I’ve swam before…) I called it quits a few hundred meters early.

Five minutes after leaving the gym, I concluded that the world was ending and that I was the worst wannabe-triathlete that ever lived. (I’ve been know to be a bit dramatic.)

As endurance athletes, we tend to be really hard on ourselves. Heck, we beat ourselves up over missing a PR by a few seconds. Meeting and exceeding our goals is always a priority, and training days are no exception to the rule. I’m here to tell you that one bad training day does not define you as an athlete, and it’s certainly no indication of the outcome of your race (that’s likely still months away).

Here are 5 ways to survive a bad workout:

1. Stay positive:  Even if your stride is bit slower, don’t let it get you down. Beating yourself up over a tough workout doesn’t make it easier. Like my girl Kelly Clarkson once said, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”. 

2. Shake it off:  Leave your workout at the gym. Tomorrow is a new day full of opportunities for a comeback run/ride/swim.

3. Don’t be afraid to end a little early:  There’s one thing I’ve learned from running and triathlon coaches- proper form is everything. It’s crucial during times of exhaustion and necessary in avoiding injury. Unfortunately, on a tough training day (when we’re too busy pouting to focus on form), proper technique goes out the window. It’s important to realize when this is happening, and either pull yourself together, or end the workout a bit early. One less mile will not ruin your training regimen.

4. Keep your Confidence:  Self doubt is such a biotch. Don’t let a bad workout make you question your decision to sign up for that goal race. Keep in mind all of the time and training you have put in, and rock your next workout.

5. Develop improvement strategies:  Take a few seconds to reflect on the reasons you had a rough workout. Could it have been caused by nutrition issues? A long day at work? Use your answers to improve your next workout.

With race season right around the corner, I hope these tips come in handy!

Thanks for reading! XO

On the Bandwagon: Shamrock Shuffle Recap

You’ve probably read 30,000 Shamrock Shuffle race recaps, but I couldn’t resist making it 30,001. I’ll start from the beginning, but I’ll attempt to keep it short and sweet.

There are two things that get me out of bed in the morning:  Black Friday shopping with my cousin and running. Our alarms went off at 6am, and I was out of bed and dressed, with brushed teeth and braided hair, by 6:10. This gave me plenty of time to give Daniel the “you better hurry up” glare, pace downstairs, and shout the ten minute warning (twice). I may be late for some of life’s activities, but I will never miss a race. We arrived in the city 45 minutes before we were supposed to meet my CARA friends. Whoops.

Now, onto my Shuffle thoughts…

The Good  

Shamrock Shuffle will forever be one of my favorite races. It means we’ve survived the frigid winter and have lived to see another race season. Plus, Bank of America knows how to put on a fabulous, organized race. No lines for porta potties or gear check is nothing short of a race miracle. There was also minimal waiting once in our corrals. These closed at 9am, and we were off shortly after the 9:15 wave start.

This is one of the only races Daniel and I run together, and his slow jog is faster than my sprint. I tried to keep up (while muttering a few choice words under my breath), and it paid off. I was shocked to discover that we finished with a PR. My comfortable pace is 10:20/mile, so it felt like we were flying!

Boom!

Boom!

The Bad

Daniel declared, “I’ve never liked city traffic!” during the first few minutes of the race, and I had to agree. The first mile was so crowded, so we bobbed and weaved the entire mile. We had to work extra hard to get that PR, which is a bit frustrating.

The Ugly

30 degrees and windy. SO WINDY. I think I jinxed all 35,000 of us by commenting on how lovely the weather usually is on race day. Sorry, guys.

The wind was manageable until we reached the corner of Franklin and Van Buren where wind gusts of 20+ mph took us by surprise. I actually blew into a man. I apologized, had a little laughing fit, then got my sh*t together before I became really out of breath. Here’s to hoping it’s warmer and far less windy next year!

After the race, we treated ourselves to a yummy lunch and adult beverages. The end.

 

Fun fact:  this is the fifth year in a row we’ve run this race. Clearly, we have a signature pose:

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Babies! Shamrock Shuffle circa 2011

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2012

 

2013

2013

 

2014

2014

2015! Showing off our medals.

2015! Showing off our medals.

Thanks for reading! Have a great week!

All Hail the Tax Refund

I like to think I have a few average/above average skills in life (running, dancing, swimming, eating chocolate). Unfortunately, saving money falls nowhere on this list. You can imagine my distress when my fiancé gave me the “we need to start saving money for a wedding” talk.

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Me. In cat form. After the savings talk.

In his defense, this is the large wedding of my ‘dreams’ and not the courthouse option he proposed. So just like that, I watched more dollar signs dance from my account and into the black hole of wedding savings.

I was feeling rather bummed about the limited number of races I could afford this summer when I received everyone’s favorite spring surprise:  the tax refund. Right after this puppy landed in my bank account, I began my race registration extravaganza. I may have had a few bookmarked. Work hard, play hard right?

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Here is my new, improved, bigger, badder 2015 race schedule:

  • Shamrock Shuffle, Sunday, 3/28:  Holy smokes! Less than 2 weeks away!
  • Rockdale Ramblin Run, Saturday, 4/11:  Their slogan is “Toughest 10K in the Midwest”. Last year, I was joking about this claim, but the first hill shut me up REAL QUICK. Small, well organized and challenging race.
  • Team Megan 5K Run, Saturday, 6/6:  A sweet teenage girl from my hometown was diagnosed with stage 4 alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma cancer. Proceeds from this run will help support Megan and her family. If you’re interested in learning more about Megan’s journey towards a full recover, visit her dad’s blog. (Just make sure you have a tissue or two. The strength of this young lady is certain to leave you teary-eyed and speechless.)
  • ET Batavia Triathlon, Sunday 6/7:  Experience Triathlon always puts on a good race. This will be my first Batavia tri, and I’m looking forward to it.
  • Esprit de She, Sunday, 6/14:  Hey Ladiessss! First time I’ve ever signed up for an all women’s event. This is a sprint triathlon located in downtown Naperville. So close to home, I couldn’t pass it up!
  • Racine Ironman 70.3, Sunday, 7/19:  Sweet baby Ironman jesus, please let me survive this race.
  • Naperville Triathlon, Sunday, 8/2:  Loved this race last year, and I’m really excited for round 2.
  • Chicago Marathon:  Obviously I signed up for the lottery, folks. Now it’s the waiting game, and I’M WAY TOO IMPATIENT. I’m going to blame my nail-biting on my Chi Marathon anxiety. Please hurry, April 28, and put us all out of our misery.

I’m hoping to sneak a few other races in here and there (when I stumble upon some extra moolah that won’t be confiscated by my fiscally responsible fiancé to be used for practical purchases).

Please remind me of the following if I start to complain about my busy schedule and tired muscles:  photo 3

Hope everyone has a great Wednesday! Halfway to the weekend. XO