My Chicago Triathlon 2011

Well, I finally got off my ass and did the Chicago Triathlon.

Every year when the media televised their reports on the Chicago Triathlon, I would tell myself that I will do that one day.  It’s been 12 years since my first triathlon and 11 years of saying next year.  This past spring, I had enough of my appearance, my weight, and my lifestyle.  This was the year I was going to get back into shape. As this summer progressed and the weight kept dropping, I felt ballsy enough to sign up for the Chicago Olympic distance Triathlon. What the heck, why not.  Here’s how it went…

The weekend started with the Multisport Expo. You are required to attend this in order to pick up your race packet, get your participant wristband and of course the beer garden wristband for immediately after the race, since you won’t have your ID with you.  After Checking into the Hilton, the official hotel and host of the Expo, I headed downstairs to get my packet.  Since I registered as a Clydesdale (over 200lbs) I had to weigh in as well.  I was aiming at the 250+ category thinking that anything close to a 3 hour finish would get me in the top 3 and a trophy.  I weighed in at 252 so all was good. Thanks to Lou Malnati’s for that huge bowl of pasta and all the water!

I had shipped my bike to the Village Cycle for storage and transport to the Expo so all I had to do was pick it up and take it to my room.  What a convenient service and my bike was ready to go.  I have to admit, after walking around the expo all day getting free samples of this and free samples of that, not to mention the trips up to the room and back, my legs were exhausted!!

I called it a night around 9ish hoping to get about 7 hours of sleep.  I slept great until something woke me up around 1:30 and I couldn’t fall back asleep. I tossed and turned until my 4am wake up call.  Transition opened in 15 minutes and I had everything packed and ready to go the night before.  The walk to transition was a little more than a mile. It seemed longer.  By the time I had walked to transition, back to the hotel to get a little more rest, checked out, walked to the swim start line, it had felt like I ran a triathlon already.

Arriving at the swim start you noticed one thing, the wind.  With the remnants of Hurricane Irene up the east coast, we were getting some of the wind from her outer bands.  Winds were 15-20mph sustained out of the Northeast with gusts to 35. The wind was stirring up the harbor pretty good. It was quite choppy and the current along the harbor wall was cruising along.  The first 375 meters of the swim would be with it, but the remaining 1125 would be straight into it. This would not be the fun easy swim I anticipated.

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I lined up with my wave, wave 31, the big guys. The  Clydesdales.  The announcer poked some fun our way and someone told him to come down here and say it…good laughs to lighten the nerves just before entering the water.  We all jumped in and before you knew it the horn sounded and we were off.  The swim was great heading south for those first 375 meters but as soon as I hit that turnaround point, my goggles fogged up and I sucked in water on my first 2 breathing attempts.   I decided to hang on to a life boat to regroup.  After a minute or so I started back up.  The swim actually wasn’t to bad after that with the exception of the strong current.  I stopped at another 3 or 4 lifeboats along the way to the swim finish to catch my breath.  When I stopped at one boat, the two lifeguards were singing “Row, Row, Row my boat” It actually made me laugh and thank them for the humor along the way.  The next boat I stopped at I questioned the young lady why there was no one singing and she looked at me like I was crazy.  I finally finished the swim in a disappointing 56 minutes.

Onto the bike after what seemed like a really short run to transition which was in fact a very long 450 meters or so.  My T1 time was shockingly fast but I knew where I was going and how I was getting there. Everything was clearly marked and I had checked out the routes earlier in the morning.

The bike was pretty grueling going north into that headwind but I felt the bike is my strongest of the three disciplines and I kept up a pretty good pace.  It seemed like I was passing a ton of people and only got passed a few times.  After the turnaround at Foster we headed south and I swear my speed doubled. I was easily going 30mph+ heading south. Now this was fun.  Passing other cyclists who were on the left and passing motorists stuck in Lake Shore Drive traffic on the right with the cities skyline straight ahead.  What an awesome view and experience!  The Olympic distance triathletes had to do two laps. Turning back northbound on LSD was painful. That wind hit you hard and you knew this wasn’t going to be easy but we kept on hammering away. I finished the bike with a time of 1 hour and 14 minutes which was good for 600 and something overall.

Me cruising along

The run started off first two miles were under 15 minutes. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I looked at my watch.  I spotted my brother at about mile two. He took a couple photos and I was off.  Shortly after that my left knee had some pretty extreme pain. I’m not sure if I twisted it when I turned and  talked to my brother or what, but it hurt. It was basically run/walk from that point on and my run time suffered big time. I finished the run in a very disappointing 1 hour and 12 minutes.

Total time: 3 hours 29 minutes

Not what I wanted, but definitely not that bad either. overall it was around 2,300 out of 3,300 finishers

The challenges of this years race at least provided a couple goals for next years:

1. Destroy my swim time from this year and

2. Get my run time under an hour.

Thanks for reading about my experience at the Chicago Triathlon…I thoroughly enjoyed it and look forward to doing it again next year!

Anyone have pictures of the Triathlon?? There were tons of Photographers along the course yet we only have a few images to choose from to purchase? Anyone have any shots of bib #4751 that you would like to send my way? Thanks!


Chicago Triathlon

So as I have continued to lose weight this summer (now down to 255) and subject myself to some crazy workouts, I have challenged myself to do a Triathlon.  I signed up for the Chicago Triathlon which is on August 28th.  I ran a tri my last year in the Marine Corps in 1999 and loved it! Always wanted to do more, but I was to busy partying, going to Cubs games and just all around being lazy.  I’m finally motivated and in decent enough shape to give it a go.

After moving to Hawaii next year, I have another goal of doing the Half Ironman.  All the different legs are achievable by themselves, but together pose a pretty crazy challenge.  I purchased a new road, actually a triathlon bike, this week. It’s pretty sweet. I can’t wait to get on it and give it a spin this weekend!

My new tri bike!

Other than that this summers been pretty great so far. Just working out like crazy, working 2 jobs trying to save dough for the move and enjoying the weather.  I’ve lost a total of 65 lbs so far since January and have about 35 more to go. I’m still not sure how low I want to go.  Maybe after I get to 100 lbs lost, I’ll start weight training to help tone up more and put some muscle weight back on. Up to this point I’ve strictly done walking, biking, running and swimming for my weight loss.  Well ’til next time, which hopefully wont be a month, take care. Mahalo for reading my blog!


Running the dunes at Indiana Dunes State Park

It’s been a great week for exercise, I believe the weather has finally turned for good. It was in the 90’s 2 weeks ago, the 30’s last week and 80’s and 90’s this week. It’s almost summer and it’s time to get outdoors and get in shape!!
I was 320 lbs on my birthday in January and finally said enough. I’m down to 275 now. Mainly from a lot less alcohol (beer), not eating as much and taking hydroxycut. Hydroxycut always helps me and my weight loss goals. Two summers ago, through regular use of hydroxycut, hard core exercise and a very low calorie diet, I lost 66 pounds in 90 days.
The last few weeks I’ve been getting outside and getting in some exercise. In fact yesterday was a great day…I biked 32 miles and in the middle of that, ran up and down some sand dunes at Indiana Dunes State Park 3 times.
My goal was to lose 100 pounds by the time i moved to Hawaii, but I think being 6’7 and 220 is a tad thin. I’m thinking 240 is ideal for me. That was my weight when I was in the Marines but we’ll see as i get closer to that goal.
I must get back to work… Have a great day and enjoy the weather!!!

The Beaches

The number one reason why I love Oahu is the beach.  Whether it is the miles of different North Shore beaches or the touristy beaches of Waikiki, I just can’t get enough of the sand and surf.  I’ve always been drawn to the beach. I grew up in Hammond, Indiana just a few miles away from Lake Michigan and Whihala Beach in Whiting.  Every single day during the summer I’d head up there applying my baby oil to maximize my tan.   It was a pretty awesome beach, I spent my high school years there playing beach volleyball and tossing around the pigskin while hitting on the girls, usually with no luck.  LOL

When I joined the Marines I spent countless hours at the beach. I’d skip out of mess duty during Marine Combat Training at Camp Pendleton and sneak off to San Onofre beach to do some body surfing and people watching.  At my next duty station, I’d drive hours from Twentynine Palms to LA or San Diego to hit the beaches. But once at Camp Lejeune, I found my favorite beach in Surf City, North Carolina just outside Camp Lejeune. There was a beach bar that constantly changed owners and names, but the atmosphere and drinks never really changed. The beach itself was amazing. If you’re a sheller, there were shells on the beach each morning. Me, I was a shark tooth hunter and this beach did not disappoint.

All around the Topsail Beach area, there were shark teeth washed up on the beach every morning. Sizes ranged from tiny all the way up to a few inches. Fishing off the pier was pretty good too. I wasn’t into fishing to much at the time but a few of us headed there occassionally to drink some beer and toss the lines out. I actually caught a Hammerhead shark one day that was about 2 feet long. I thought that was the coolest thing ever! A damn shark on my line and of all things it was the hammerhead.

When I visited Oahu, obviously the beaches were the main tourist attraction.  I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Waikiki beach, watching the kids jump off the break wall and the surfers catching a few waves.  But the people watching was amazing. You have women from all over the world coming to that beach, and they are all gorgeous.  There’s not another beach in the world that can compare.  I also really enjoyed Lanaiki beach and Hanauma Bay. There’s so many more beaches that i visited that I really don’t remember the name of, but really enjoyed my time there. I really can’t wait to get back to the island and visit all the beaches and enjoy the weather.

The Lure of Hawaii…

From the moment you step off that plane and walk through the open air terminals at  Honolulu International airport, you notice something extremely different about where you are.  The air is warm and full of amazing tropical scents.  People are extremely friendly, not that over the top fake friendly you get at some vacation destinations, but just really friendly and full of that ‘Aloha’ spirit that you will find nowhere else.

I often wonder out of all the people who have vacationed on Oahu from all over the world, how many have daydreamed about moving there.  I would guess it has to be in the high 90 percent range.  I have been doing my own daydreaming for about 5 years now. Since my last vacation there to attend the NFL Pro Bowl.  I spent 17 days there during that trip and almost didn’t come home.

I still can’t put my finger on the main reason why Hawaii is such an alluring place.  I have come to the conclusion that, for me, it is a combination of several reasons. I’ll expand on those reasons in future posts.