Evan’s First “Real” Triathlon–Xterra Illinois Wilds

Evan did his first “real” triathlon yesterday. He’s done the Hyvee Kids triathlons a few times, but those are so short it’s barely worth the time to drive there, set up, and wait around. They are cute for kids who want to try out a triathlon, but for someone like Evan who has experience in racing in swimming, cycling, and running, they are too short. He’s been wanting to do an Xterra for a long time. Some Xterras are way longer than others, but luckily the one that is closest to us, near Peoria, is one of the shorter ones. Chris talked to the race directors last weekend and they were fine with Evan doing it even though he’s only 11.

Before the swim:

In the water waiting to start. The lake was an old quarry and it got deep really fast. They are all treading water here. Chris’s white cap is right in front of the red buoy and Evan is wearing a yellow cap a bit to the left.

The start!

Chris was in the front right away with two women.

Evan settled in just fine. I was worried about the swim because he’d never done an open-water swim before, but he was fine.

Evan is headed past one of the buoys here. The swim was an 800.

This is the best triathlon to watch, because the swim is in a narrow L-shaped lake and they swim down & back. They weren’t ever far from shore. Chris coming back on the swim:

Chris was second out of the water, after a girl.


Evan finished mid-pack on the swim.


They had people pulling swimmers out of the water because the shore was so steep, but Evan didn’t really need help.




Evan took a long time in transition because putting clothes & shoes on your wet body is tough.

He sucked down a gel because I told him to but he said he didn’t need it next time.

Chris came roaring through about 1/4 of the way into the bike with a 4-minute lead.

He never had anyone close the gap.

Evan’s weakest event was the bike. He was very slow…we’re not sure if he was tired from the swim, cautious because he had a hard fall on this same course last week, or saving energy for the run. He says he just hates that course. It was 15 miles of mountain biking.

He still did fine though! He was probably about 3/4 of the way back in the pack after the bike.


He is finishing up lap 1 here.

We didn’t get pics of Evan on lap 2 because we headed back to the finish line to watch Chris come in. He won by 13 minutes.

A bit later Evan finished up on the bike.


His second transition was pretty fast. He slipped his shoes on and was ready to go.


Chris ran the four-mile trail run with him.


Evan is about done with the run here. He’s looking pretty tired!

Running for the line:

Done! Almost 3 hours is a long time!

It was so hot.

Evan took his shirt & shoes off & went back into the lake to cool off.

The awards were pretty fast. Chris got a cool fox carved out of wood for his award (it’s called Xterra Illinois Wilds so they always have wildlife awards). Evan got third in his age group but they only gave awards to top two.

Meanwhile Campbell sat in the shade of her stroller and played on her LeapPad. I was thinking we’d be selling the stroller soon because we don’t use it much, but it’s nice at races for her to have a place to sit and a canopy.

I thought Evan would be really tired after the race but after a few drinks and some lunch, he was good as new. Crazy as ever actually. I love knowing that he can put out a strong effort for three hours in the heat and be fine…he’s such a strong worker. Heat tolerance is something I do not have (nor does his sister).

Could you have done (or did you do?) a full triathlon when you were 11? I certainly could not have! I think I could finish one today, but I would not enjoy myself at all.

8 Miles

My running group is training for a half marathon right now, and even though I am not, I went for a long run with them yesterday. They had planned 8.5 miles. My plan was to run 5 or 6 and then bail. I ended up running 8 miles! I was pretty surprised at how good it felt. It didn’t feel GREAT, but it didn’t feel horrible either. Not any worse than any other long run. Going slow and good conversation definitely helped.

The reason I’m shocked it didn’t feel worse is I’ve been running mostly 3-4 mile runs this summer. I just looked back at my Garmin data, and I ran 5.6 miles on July 12 and 6 miles on June 6. Other than those two not-really-long runs, everything else has been in the 3-4 mile range with one or two 5-milers thrown in. I know it’s pretty easy to add two miles on to whatever your body is used to, but I didn’t realize I could double my normal length.

One thing that did happen was I was SO hungry the last couple of miles in the run. That rarely happens–usually I feel sickish and have to force myself to eat the rest of the day. I guess between the run & not eating as much as normal last week due to a stressful week, I was just hungry! I stopped by the gas station for a frozen drink and ended up with a few other snacks. And I ate them all.

Another thing that happened, which has happened to me before after really humid long runs, is my skin felt like sandpaper when I cooled off. I licked it just out of curiosity. It tasted like licking a block of salt. And yes, I know what licking a block of salt tastes like because every girl who grew up on a cow farm does. Trust me on this.

In other news, last night Campbell and I played Memory and she beat me AGAIN. I seriously cannot figure out how she remembers where the cards are.

Today is my last free Monday for many weeks. We’ll be relaxing!

Have you ever licked your skin after running? What is the most you’ve increased your regular mileage (per run)?

Four More Days!

Can you believe I have only 4 more days of summer? (weekends don’t count). The kids don’t start school until next Wednesday, and the official teacher start date is next Monday, but I start Friday with new teacher orientation (I am in charge of our school’s mentor program). June was a busy month of kids’ camps & activities, July was our family visit & some quick trips, and the first week of August was consumed mostly by me getting the last minute details organized for the 5k that I organize.

I don’t really mourn the end of summer though. By the end, I’m always ready for some structure and routine. I don’t feel like we wasted summer, either. We had a ton of fun pool days, fun with friends, fun runs, plenty of lazy afternoons, etc. The fresh start of the school year is always fun. Tiring, but fun. (How many times can I say “fun” in one paragraph? Apparently 5. I need a thesaurus.)

Everyone says that summer goes so fast, which is true, but to me, the whole school year goes just as fast. Especially from now until Christmas. I’m not going to lie: January-May seems to be a little slower than August-December for some reason. I guess January and February are just more quiet. I used to dislike those months until a friend of my suggested appreciating the quiet. That really helps!

Our race went really well on Saturday! Thursday night, the kids and I set up packet pick-up. It was nice weather so we did it outside instead of in the park pavilion.

That was after I folded 200 identical t-shirts. It wasn’t too bad…I zoned out listening to a podcast. My new favorite is the Tim Ferriss Show. He’s the author of The Four Hour Workweek and some other “Four Hour” books. If you are an athlete, you might enjoy the Laird Hamilton one. They are about a huge variety of topics. I do prefer the ones in which he interviews someone and not the ones where his guest just talks.

The race went really well! It was smaller this year, which was disappointing, but there were still enough to make it a successful event. Evan ran his best time ever, 21:21, even though it was really humid. That is an average of 6:54 per mile, holy cats. I don’t know if could run ONE mile under 7 minutes. I should try sometime to see.

He got second place in the 11-14 age group. First place in his age group, another 11-year-old, finished not far in front of him with a 20:49.

We did chip timing for the first time this year. That was about 50000 times easier for me and for the people working the race-day registration table. People loved getting little print-outs of their times right after finishing, too. And the award ceremony was just an hour after the race started so that was cool. It’s expensive but worth it, I think.

I think because of the chip timing, I was feeling so much more relaxed after the race. The results where done, whereas in past years I had to type them all in the computer to post them online. I was home by 10:30, put everything away, had lunch, and took a nap! Tomorrow I have a few borrowed items to return and some items won in the raffle to hand out.

In other news, last night I finished the 32nd book of my 40-book summer reading list. This list includes all of the 2015 & 2016 Rebecca Caudill nominees.

I got slowed down a bit by working on new teacher orientation & the race, and I also sort of got stalled in a book that I didn’t love. However, I’m optimistic that I can finish the last 7 books by the first day of school or shortly after. Young adult books are pretty quick to read, and often I can read them in one day. Once I’ve finished them all I’ll write about my favorites.

Do you feel like you got the most out of summer this year? Have you ever run a single mile for speed?