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.

So Tired, a 2-mile Run, Did it Happen, and Race Bibs

I have noticed that running at my max heart rate wears me out more than anything else. After a half marathon, I don’t feel great for a few hours, but then I’m fine. After a 5k or other max-effort race, I feel SO tired the whole rest of the day! It must be the heart rate because I certainly burn more calories in a half marathon or 10k than I do in a 5k.

Chris, Evan, and my friend Lori and I ran the Rocky Run, a 2-mile trail/cross-country race, this morning. Lori texted me after to ask if it had really happened since we didn’t take any pictures. I always say “It didn’t happen if we don’t take a picture and post it on Facebook!” Some people were taking pictures; maybe I will find some to share soon. Don’t you hate it when there are photographers at races and you never see the pictures?

It’s too bad there aren’t pictures because I high-fived their mascot “Rocky” at the start. Then, I climbed a really super hard hill which somehow doesn’t show up on my Garmin elevation chart at all. Partway in I thought for sure the mile marker must be soon and it was only 1/2 mile. The first 1/2 mile was all UP and some of it was single-track muddy trail. I almost tripped over about 5 kids. Small kids who criss-cross the trail and stop suddenly are really dangerous! Then, the race leveled out and became more cross-country style. Running on grass is pretty tough to me. I’d rather run on a trail or road any day, but it really forced me to push myself. I ran on the heels on Black Capris Lady for a good mile before she finally got tired of fighting my surges and let me pass. Then, I passed two more girls in the last half mile, and tried but failed to pass a third.

Also, I am curious to know if you save your race bibs? I never have, but Chris suggested that Evan start a binder. We’ve saved a few of Evan’s, but not all. And now, with chip timing, a lot of races don’t even have bibs.

I need to know this things from you today: Do shorter, faster races wear you out more than longer ones? Do you like to take pictures as proof that things happened? Have you high-fived a chipmunk in a race? Do you save your race bibs?

Bad News & Good News (my trail shoe decision)

Bad news first, right? Bad news: I went 6 weeks between doctor’s appointments due to the holidays (I get osteopathic manipulations) and my nerve(s?) flared up. I wasn’t doing too bad until Tuesday at which point I became unable to sleep all night and of course not run. I tried running a bit Wednesday but that was a bad idea. I couldn’t even straighten my left knee all the way. See here I am trying


So, today’s trail race was a no. I’m pretty disappointed because I so wanted to do the whole series! Chris and Evan are there now.

Good news: I have my trail shoes and I have two definite contenders for the win. I took reviewing these shoes this VERY seriously.

Here are the shoes I tried (all weights are based on my women’s size 7.5).

1. Mizuno Wave Hayate


Specs: stability shoe, 7 ounces, 9mm drop
I liked:
– They are very lightweight.
– They look fun.

I didn’t like:
– They were a little small on me. I wear size 7, but I buy running shoes in size 7.5 often. I ordered all of these trail shoes in 7.5 because I often wear my thicker wool socks when I trail run. I probably need an 8 in these.
– They felt very rigid to me. I’m not used to stability shoes though, so that’s probably why.
– The sole wasn’t as grippy as some of my favorite shoes. The tread wasn’t very deep.
(Mizuno on top here)

2. Inov-8 Roclite 295


Specs: 7.2 ounces, 9 mm drop, for the “beginner trail minimalist” according to their website
I liked:
– The upper was very flexible and comfortable.
– They have a decent sole. The knobby things are not as deep as the Salomon shoes but would probably be adequate. (Inov-8’s on the bottom here):

I didn’t like:
– They are so ugly. Here’s a pic of the Mizunos on the right and the Inov-8’s on the left. I cannot take my feet seriously when they have on shoes this ugly.


– The uppers almost felt cheap-ish. Like a Walmart shoe.

3. Brooks PureGrit 3


Specs: neutral shoe, 8.2 ounces, 4 mm drop
I liked:
– These shoes felt broken in and comfy the second I put them on. Maybe because I have a pair of Brooks in my shoe rotation already.
– I like how they look
– They’re very cushiony inside

I didn’t like:
– They weren’t as grippy on the bottom as some of the other shoes. They do have little knobby things, but they are closer together and shorter than a lot of the other shoes.

4. New Balance T110v2


Specs: neutral shoe, 4 mm drop, 7.4 ounces

I liked:
– Pretty comfortable, similar to the Brooks
– Felt natural on my foot
– Cool tread on the bottom, nice knobby grippy things (don’t you love my technical talk?).

I didn’t like:
– The look

5. Salomon Speedcross 3


Specs: neutral shoe, 9.4 ounces, 10mm heel-toe drop
I liked:
-These look awesome. Not that appearances should matter, but I’m vain and they do to me.
– They feel light
– Of the 5, these have the best grip/sole. Those little knobby things are very grippy. They even felt almost sticky on my hardwood floors.

– Cool quick-release laces

I didn’t like:
– There’s a lot going on in the heel. I’m used to wearing minimalist shoes so this felt strange to me. I’m sure I’d get used to it.

Summary: If I had to choose a shoe exclusively for trail running, I would have chosen the Salomon Speedcross 3’s. However, I run trails at most once a week, so I don’t NEED a hard-core trail shoe. If I had run today’s race, I probably would’ve kept the Speedcrosses and worn them. If I decide to run the next trail race, in a month, I still have time to re-order.

Since I feel I can wear them on the road OR the trail, I decided to keep the Brooks PureGrit 3’s.

I currently run about 90% of my runs in trail shoes as it is, so these shoes will fit nicely into my regular rotation. They just felt “right” on my foot and I think they’ll be perfect to wear on the snowy roads we’ve been dealing with.

I can’t wait to try them!