Kelly the Culinarian: 2014 Esprit de She Naperville Triathlon Race Recap

Monday, June 9, 2014

2014 Esprit de She Naperville Triathlon Race Recap

Note: If you're registering for the 2015 tri on June 14, use code EDS023

Six-word recap: Last place in first elite race.

The disclosure: Esprit de She provided me with my entry for free as an ambassador. My opinions can't be bought, so this is all me. I did the Esprit de She 5K last year and was itching to do the tri, so I'm glad I could check this off of my bucket list before I move.

The full story: I got up at an ungodly hour to pack up, suit up and sunscreen the hell out of myself. The drive and parking in Naperville was uneventful, and I picked up my packet without incident. Then, the intimidation began. You see, the Esprit de She Naperville Triathlon is my first and only race starting in the elite wave. I racked Suzie Slice next to some bikes that are worth many times my car, and don't even get me started on the helmets, glasses and accessories (I still rock a Wal-Mart helmet and $6 Amazon sports glasses).

I had a quick practice swim, which confirmed my decision to go this without a wetsuit. The water was 76 and balmy, and I felt great.

I only started to get weirded out waiting to start. Of the 12 or so elites, I was the only one without a wetsuit. I own a wetsuit, but thought I'd do better without it. Maybe I did, maybe I didn't, who knows. All I can confirm is that when the gun went off, the elites pulled away from me like I had cooties and never looked back. I couldn't catch up and I was the last elite out of the water, a trend that would repeat itself through the day.

I trotted to the very first rack from the bike out exit and hopped on, realizing I was the last bike out. I wanted to catch up but didn't have the capacity to do so. The bike was a two-loop course and the second loop was so much better because ladies from subsequent waves started to filter in, giving me someone to chase and interact with.

I had a hard time with the bike. I never really got comfortable and found a gear that worked. It was either too easy or too hard. When I finally made it back to my second transition, I was again the last person out. Last elite is still not horrific, except when I hit the run, I was the only soul out there. I'm not exaggerating even a little to say that I did not encounter another athlete on the 3.1-mile course. I only saw a single spectator, too, that I asked if I was going in the right direction. It was desolate.

In the last mile, I started to weave into downtown Naperville. It was marked as a race course, but there were casual morning runners on the path, as well as spectators. I found myself yelling "on your left" and elbowing through people more than once, wasting energy and turning on my kick sooner than needed. When I finally hit the finish line, I was alone and totally spent.

A great benefit of being the slowest elite, however, is that the post-race party was a party for one. I perused, I snacked and I shopped. This race really ranks up there in terms of swaggerific-ness. In addition to the sweetest tri top ever (thank you, Moxie!), we got a baller medal and a bag full of products and sample. There were also snacks galore in the post-race party and all sorts of activities and giveaways. I stayed for a looooong time because there was so much to see and do.

In total, this race was awesome. It was a great course, great swag and a great post-race party. But I learned a lot this race. Don't push for the big leagues unless you're sure you can play in their sandbox.

Time: 1:20:24 (.5-mile swim, 13-mile bike and 5K run)

Pros: Nice course, open water swim with a pool benefit, swaggerific packet and post-race shin dig, pretty stellar medal, wave start to eliminate crowding, very friendly to the first-time triathlete

Cons: It can be a lonely course, spectators wander onto the run course, the transition was gigantic

Would I do this race again? Yes, please. It's a great event for first timers and pros alike (or wanna be pros like me)


Pete B said...

Congrats on the finish. It's sweet that you keep getting free races all over the country! Also, super cool that you were an elite. You ran with the big dogs! :)

Unknown said...

This race is definitely on my radar because the swim sounds the least intimidating. Of course I'd never be with the elites!! Do they have a "people who will dog paddle the entire swim" wave?

KellytheCulinarian said...

For sure, there are several newbie waves.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Erin they let me race. If I can finish the swim anyone can! It was a super great race for a first timer. I just blogged about my experience from that perspective.

Kelly, nice work getting to start with the elites! And yes the cycling jersey is way cool.

Unknown said...

great job! it was my first tri - very interesting on the swim....

Katie @ Live Half Full said...

Last in the elites is still elite! Way to go!

Losing Lindy said...

you did awesome!

Erica A said...

Awesome! And I love the top. I think I missed how you became "elite". That is badass. That said, I hope no elites show for the Esprit de She 10K in July ;) Just sayin'! Glad you had such a great time!

Kelly said...

Congrats on the finish! What is this flower station I see? Do you get to make your own bouquet? Awesome on being an elite too!

Unknown said...

Great job on your race! Elite is still elite! That is very cool!
It sounds like you have so many changes happening, I'm excited to still read about all of your training.

Anonymous said...

I loved the race, too! So glad you had reassured me not to use a wet suit. My biggest complaint was about the transition area -- too big and not really fair for those of us that had to run with our bikes the furthest both in and out.

Here's my recap: