Here's what I know about the Chicago Triathlon (don't ask me about Chicago the city because I only have a few good things to say about it... it's an "OK" place, but I'd rather be back in sunny southern California):
- My race number is 8575. Written on my arms when I picked up my packet... 2 days before the race! Do I shower between now and then and risk it washing off???? Nah!
- My wave number is 52. I start three hours and 40 minutes after the first wave of triathletes start, sheesh! 59 total waves (the last 2 being the pro men and pro women).
- I'm wearing a green swim cap. If you're at the race site looking for me before I start... I'll be one of the 9300 people wearing a seal costume standing in line to jump in the water... but now that you know I'm wearing a green condom on my head you should have a better chance of finding me (say, one in a thousand rather than one in ten thousand).
- Shout out to my peeps at the Element Multisport booth at the expo, I hope you found that helmet you were looking for!
- Another shout out to Chris, the brain and brawn behind The Mercury Bicycle Company. Great setup you have on Loopd, on your website and how did you get such great positioning at the expo?? Anyway, I think I just may have found my next bike purchase (the Tridend II, still in testing phase)... just have to wait till he gets them stocked up!
- Tomorrow morning is going to be LOOONG! Transition opens around 4 am (that's when I hope to be getting there) and closes at 5:45. The first wave begins at 6, my wave doesn't start till almost 4 hours later. Something inside me wishes I was doing the sprint distance rather than the Olympic.
- I'm sure there's more, but I'm also sure you're getting bored... here's a picture to look at to help satisfy your ADD urges to get distracted
I thought about saving this little blog entry for another day and time, but why not now!?! Here's my thoughts on why I'd rather do a sprint or Olympic distance triathlon rather than a longer distance HIM or IM: I'm not an endurance athlete. Sure there's some of my adoring fans that might say "Oh Eric, you're so amazing, you to triath-a-lons, you must be so brave and athletic, you're my hero" but in reality I'm kinda lazy and all I'm really good for is the shorter high intensity stuff. Throughout high school I was a sprinter, hurdler and a jumper (all of which involved goofing off around the high jump pit during track practice while giving Coach Kuhlman a hard time), I placed well in all my meets except for the one time I was thrown in as one leg of a 4x800M. 800 meters was borderline long distance racing for me back in those days, but due to the availability of different race distances to the general public I have been forced to revamp my definitions of short, intermediate and long. Short now includes a 5K race (a distance you couldn't pay me to run during high school), sprint triathlons and my attention span. Intermediate would be a 10K or an Olympic triathlon. Long distance includes an Olympic triathlon (at the beginning of the season if I haven't been training during the winter) half IM, full IM, half or full marathon, or the commitment to get out of bed in the morning.
Now, with these new definitions, why do I prefer the shorter distance? Because of the pain. Long distance races don't hurt enough. I believe I have a high pain tolerance and I enjoy the feeling of my body pushing it's limits. To me, reaching an intensity limit is much more rewarding than finding a more lengthy limit to what my body can handle. The way I've been training for the Ironman is by slowing down and going longer. That is hard for me. I like my heart rate high, my legs pumping, muscles tense and twitchy and my competition around me.
I guess I'm just different than my Ironman friends. Maybe one day when I'm old and tired I'll decide I can't handle the hardcore, but as of now... bring it on. Looking forward to some major interval training and speed thresholds for next years races, but for now I've got 2 weeks before IMOO and 18 hours before the start of the Chicago Triathlon.