I remember writing my blog post this time last year about surviving my first sprint distant triathlon, and it is crazy to think how far I've come since then! Two weeks ago I completed my first olympic distant triathlon and I want to share my experience of training and racing with you all. I am going to answer some common questions I got from clients and friends about it all, but you can always email me if you have unanswered questions.
What is an olympic-distant triathlon?
1 mile (1600m) open-water lake swim
25 mile (40km) bike ride
6.2 mile (10km) run
How did I train?
I followed an intermediate, 6 days a week training plan for 12 weeks. There are a lot of guides on the internet, so make sure to do your research and compare plans before picking one. My plan consisted of 2 short runs a week (30-45 minutes), 2 pool swims with increasing distance each week, 1 60-80 minute bike ride outside, and 1 brick workout (long bike + short run).
In hindsight, I would have decreased my training to 5x a week with one less run, so that I could get in a day of strength training + yoga. I definitely put these on the back burner and I know they would have benefited me just as much, if not more, than an extra day of cardio.
How was the race?
I can't describe the race in just a few words, so bare with me as I describe the day.
I woke up at 4:20am. Pure darkness, but chugged some coffee, had a banana, and listed to ACDC music on the drive to the race.
Got situated in the transition area, got marked with numbers, put on my wet suit, and tried to get in a good headspace. The pre-race anxiety is REAL.
Age group by age group, athletes started the swim. The directions were unclear, it was raining, and lets just keep in mind that I hadn't ever trained in the lake (too cold, too lazy...), so the anxiety is still very real. Basically the goal was not to drown! The swim ended up being totally ok and somewhat enjoyable. I know, I can't believe I'm saying that. I finished in 40 minutes.
The biking had its ups and downs. Literally. The first 6 miles of the loop had back to back tough hills that left me gassed and ready to pull the bike over; but, as 60 year olds were passing me up, I stayed on track and channelled my inner competitiveness. By the end, my lungs felt ok, but the legs were tired and my stomach was starting to hurt. I finished in 85 minutes.
Then comes the worst part: the run. Of course, I wasn't too concerned about this because I run all the time and it's only 6 miles right!? Right, but wrong about the lack of concern. My stomach was in a knot and I had incredibly sharp pains that caused me to squeeze onto my stomach with one hand and try to drink water with the other, as I'm running a 9 minute mile. This hunched over, one arm swinging, shallow painful breathes lasted the whole time. My only saving grace was having my friend Caily right by my side to keep my pace consistent. I would have walked to the finish line if I didn't have that accountability by my side. I finished the run in 58 minutes and the entire race in 3 hours and 8 minutes.
All in all, I crossed the finish line with a single tear running down my cheek because of relief and pain, but I felt great within 30 minutes of recovering. Caily and I felt accomplished with our first place finish in the age group (oh, did I mention that the age group consisted of just us two?) and we were on a runners-high talking about the next time we'll do one.
I finished the day horizontal on the couch, watching movies and eating Lou Malnati's deep dish pizza, so I'd say it was a pretty good day.
Growing up, my family went to Disney World almost every other year. We would spend the early mornings at the park to skip the big lines, then hang by the pool all afternoon, and back to the parks at night. We planned everything to a T and some of my happiest childhood memories are from these crazy fun vacations.
A few weeks ago was my first time going to Disney as an adult (a post 21-year old adult), and boy was it a blast! Things were different this time around! We got to spend two afternoons exploring the World Showcase at Epcot and eating each of the 11 countries' authentic food and drinks. A flower festival was going on, so the countries had speciality tasting menus, meaning we didn't have to go into each restaurant for a meal! It was dangerous and delicious.
Here are the highlights from our eating and drinking adventure at Disney:
Japan- Sake and Fruit Sushi
France- Mushroom Ravioli & Tomato Tart
Mexico- Chilaquiles & Rose Margarita (on Cinco de Mayo!
China- Pot Stickers & Egg Roles with Spicy Aioli (enjoyed in our ponchos)
America- Pulled Pork Sandwich & Burnt Ends Hash (sadly, this was our favorite out of everything!!)
Germany- Beer Flights and Sausages at the Beer Hall
Italy- Cheers to an amazing vacation with Prosecco
Yes, this is an accurate depiction of how much we consumed over ONE AFTERNOON! There is more to show for the other 3 days of vaca, but I'm too embarrassed to post it all. Just kidding, it was all worth it and we had a blast exploring Epcot's World Showcase and the new restaurants throughout the parks. If you haven't been to Disney since you were a kid, I HIGHLY recommend taking the trip.
Chicago Restaurant Week came and went all too fast. I was only planning on trying 2-3 restaurants (I did just come off the Whole30 and was trying not to ruin everything I just accomplished...) Buuuuuut it turned into trying 5 restaurants in 12 days.
I don't regret it, and I have pictures to prove it was worth it.
The menu scanning and reservation hunting are two of my favorite parts leading up to the two week food extravaganza, and I think I did a good job researching. I tried restaurants I wouldn't have otherwise gone to because of price, cuisine, or availability, and the best part is I want to go back to all of them again and again.
About this Section
This section highlights any type of noteworthy experience I've had with food. It also covers some of my traveling adventures! I am an avid traveler and love trying out new cuisines and local foods wherever I go. I will give any and all the details of the food I've tasted around the world.