37 In race report/ triathlon

race report // chisago 70.3

Chisago Lakes 70.3 on Saturday was my first race of the season – and, with a shiny new PR (for Nick, too!), it was a good one! I knew if everything went well, a PR was gonna happen, but no one was more surprised than me about the sub-five(!). 


Chisago is about an hour drive from our house, so Nick and I were up early (earlier than we were for Ironman Canada!) and out the door around 4:40a. We arrived with the sunrise, and following packet pick-up – and me swapping from wave five to elite – set up our transitions next to bike in/out. We milled around for a bit, talking race strategy with coach Andy and catching up with friends who were also racing. Around 6:50a, we headed to the beach for a super quick warm-up swim (maybe a minute) to shake off the butterflies. 


SWIM // 34:23, 1:38/100, 2nd AG

I was a bit apprehensive about the swim, as I’ve only swam open water twice this summer – the options are limited near our new place in the ‘burbs – and given Chisago was my first race of the season, the buoys looked far. I also felt a little out of my league starting in the elite wave… because the elite wave! 


Nonetheless, the swim ended up being great and set the tone for the day. I positioned toward the right front of the beach start and more or less swam just to the left of the buoys for the clockwise one-loop triangular-shaped course. Zero issues with mass start craziness, and I quickly settled into a nice rhythm. About a quarter way in, Nick popped up to my left, and we swam stroke for stroke for a minute before he veered off. The rest of the swim was uneventful unless you count the weeds; they were out.of.control on the stretch back to shore… as in clumps so massive I had to adjust my stroke so my hands didn’t get tangled in them. Gross. With about a tenth to go, I caught super triathlete Suzie Fox and kept the pace to exit the water in fourth female, just ahead of her (and ahead of Nick… ha!). 

A run up the beach and a big hill, and I was in T1 (this added about a minute to my swim time). (Below, I’m in the yellow swim cap.)



Gear: TYR nest pro goggles in smoke (brand new and no fogging!) and ROKA Maverick Elite wetsuit (no chafing!). 

Nutrition: Banana around 6a (~100 kcals) and one salted caramel Gu 10 minutes before go (100 kcals).

T1 // 1:48.26

Nothing exciting here. Just pulled off my wetsuit (the ROKA is SO easy to take off, even over an ankle timing chip), put on my cycling shoes and helmet, and stuffed my nutrition in the back pockets of my tri top. 

BIKE // 2:37:36, 21.2 mph, 170 average watts, 2nd AG

From the get-go, I had a few issues on the bike. First, my Garmin wouldn’t calibrate (do this before the race, duh) and then it froze on the calibrate page, so I had to completely restart it. Then I noticed my right hand was covered in blood thanks to a giant scab on my knuckle that had ripped off in T1. 

I settled in around 170-175 watts and around mile five, Nick flew by with words of encouragement. At mile 10, I lifted the visor on my aero helmet to blow a snot rocket (so very ladylike), and the screw holding it on the right side fell out, leaving it flopping in the wind. I messed with it the entire bike, trying to keep it tucked inside my helmet. It kept blowing out whenever there was a crosswind, which was often… because ALL THE WIND. It was ridiculous most of the bike.

I came into the first water station at mile 20 too fast and missed a bottle. Lesson learned, so I slowed down at the second at mile 40 and was able to grab one. Just after, I was stung by a bee on my left collarbone, which hurt (the second in two days, as I was stung the night before the race during my shakeout spin). This was also around the time my right sciatic started acting up – so much so that it was a fight to the end of the bike to keep my watts up (my average is a bit lower than I would have liked). 

The bike course is a nice mix of flat and rollers with plenty of turns. Between miles 20-30, however, the road was rough with consistently spaced cracks, which made a nice da-dunk, da-dunk, da-dunk sound. Nonetheless, it was well marked, and volunteers were great. 



Gear: Argon 18 E-118, Coeur Sports checkmate kit, Garneau Vorttice aero helmet, Sidi T3 shoes. 

Nutrition: Two bottles Osmo Nutrition active hydration (180 kcals), one bottle water, one PB+J Bonk Breaker (260 kcals) and one pack caffeinated lime-ade Honey Stinger chews (180 kcals). Total: 620 kcals.

T2 // 2:36.91

I could not get my left bike shoe off, which probably added at least 30 seconds to my T2. And, then I couldn’t find run out (it was on the other side of transition hiding behind trees… probably should have listened a bit better during pre-race). Gah! 


RUN // 1:39:27, 7:40 pace, 3rd AG

The run really couldn’t have gone any better. It took about a half-mile to shake out my aching sciatic, but after that it was smooth sailing. My first mile clocked in around 8:15, with miles two and three just under. Still feeling good – I checked in often… how does my heel feel? my GI? my legs? – I quickened the pace to sub 8s (with a little encouragement from coach, who was biking back and forth along the run course). A few miles around 7:50 and I still felt great, so at mile eight, decided to go for it and dropped it down to 7:30s.

I took water at every aid station, slowing to walk a few steps so it all didn’t miss my mouth, and ate one Clif Shot Block at every mile. This was also a great way to pass the miles, as I carried one pack in my right hand (the second in my back jersey pocket until I needed it) and had just enough to get me through 13.1. With about two miles to go, Andy biked by and said to push it; sub-five was happening (whaaa?!). I had a bit more in the tank, so pushed a bit harder. The last mile was tough… I just wanted to be done. The faster you run, the faster you’re done, though, right?! I passed a guy about 100 yards from the finish and after I crossed the line, shocked and super excited about my time, hyperventilated a bit. It took a solid five minutes before the wheezing stopped.

The course is an out and back, following Chisago Lake, so was able to see the leaders (and count how many ladies were ahead of me!) and high-five Nick and friends. Really glad it was overcast with a bit of rain because had it been sunny, it would have been a hot run. 




Gear: Coeur Sports kit, Coeur Sports visor, Hoka One One Conquest shoes, Feetures socks. 

Nutrition: Water at every aid station and two packs caffeinated black cherry Clif shot bloks (400 kcals). 

OFFICIAL RESULTS // 4:55:51.88, 2nd AG, 8th OA 

So many thank yous for helping me get to the start and finish lines! Nick, for being my bike fairy (and my number one supporter); somehow my bike magically gets cleaned and is always running in tip-top shape (and, new bar tape!). My parents and Nick’s mom, for the unwavering support and for cheering on race day (and everyday). Andy, for preparing me, kicking my butt repeatedly and pushing me well out of my comfort zone to do workouts I never thought possible. Johnny, for loaning me some sick HED race wheels and endless encouragement. Jen, for loaning me her aero helmet (definitely gained 10 mph because of it and the wheels). Grand Performance, for the last minute, top-notch bike prep. Coeur Sports, for outfitting me in the most stylish and comfortable kits out there (seamless chamois magic!) and their all around awesomeness and support (you rock, Kebby + Reg and Hailey!). And, Osmo Nutrition, for keeping me hydrated and recovering well (two post-race recovery shakes are ok, right? So GOOD). 

Bring on the last big build and Ironman Wisconsin!



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  • Reply
    07/31/2014 at 8:36 am

    Congratulations!! What a fantastic race-you handled the little problems well and kept on going :)

    • Reply
      02/05/2015 at 7:17 am

      Thanks so much, Amy!

  • Reply
    07/31/2014 at 8:44 am

    Congrats on an AMAZING race!! You are going to SMOKE Wisco!! I remember that rough stretch of the road on the bike. I flatted there hitting a huge hole in the road :( I also remember all the weeds in the swim. Since I was in a later wave, they were all stirred up and I had them wrapped around my arms and neck when I exited the water…YUCK!!

  • Reply
    Jocelyn B
    07/31/2014 at 9:24 am

    You are seriously such an EFFING rockstar!!!

  • Reply
    Celeste E.
    07/31/2014 at 9:25 am

    All I can say is…WOW! Seriously, you. are. amazing! I love reading your race recaps. Such an inspiration. No matter what was handed your way, you just trudged on and knocked out a PR! Way to go, erin. I can’t wait to see what Ironman Wisconsin brings! Rock on, sista!

  • Reply
    07/31/2014 at 9:33 am

    Have I ever told you how awesome you are?! Way to kick a**!!! Can’t wait cheer you on at IM Wisconsin! xo

  • Reply
    07/31/2014 at 10:16 am

    Congrats on your PR! I can’t believe you ran a 7:40 pace after swimming and biking! Incredible!

  • Reply
    07/31/2014 at 10:28 am

    Awesome!!! You are going to rock IMWI! Question: did you eat anything when you got up or was the banana the first thing. Also, how did you get to switch to he elite wave? That’s really cool.

    • Reply
      07/31/2014 at 10:36 am

      Thank you, Jen! Forgot to mention my breakfast… standard is a double shot espresso with full-fat coconut milk (from the can) and two slices GF toast with sunbutter + raspberry jam :)

      I originally registered for the elite wave (they request your highest placement in a previous race), but for some reason they put me in wave five. So, I went and asked at the registration table, and they nicely switched me :)

  • Reply
    Sara Hoffman
    07/31/2014 at 10:50 am

    Congrats Erin!!! You are so awesome!

  • Reply
    07/31/2014 at 10:55 am

    Way to go, rockstar! What a speedy race! I first read the title and I was like, “did she mistype Chicago?” and then I realized that “Chisago” is actually a place! Congrats!

    How are you liking your Hokas?

    • Reply
      07/31/2014 at 11:33 am

      Thank you, lady! My phone now autocorrects Chicago to Chisago :)

      I LOVE my Hokas! Seriously, the best running shoes I’ve ever had. Working on a review of them, so watch for that soon :)

  • Reply
    07/31/2014 at 12:24 pm

    You are so amazing! Very proud of you and so excited for you to race IMWI!

  • Reply
    07/31/2014 at 1:38 pm

    LOVE this post! So great to get your race updates especially when I cant be there to cheer you on in person! Excited for IMWI!

  • Reply
    Kristen @ Glitter and Dust
    07/31/2014 at 2:41 pm

    What an awesome race you had, lady! You were a beast out there! Congrats on a strong finish and for killing it in all three legs. I am excited to see what you can do at IMWI. You are a FAST swimmer. Did you wear socks when you were on the bike leg? I always wonder what people prefer. Those were sure speedy bike and run times. You are quite the athlete!

    • Reply
      08/11/2014 at 8:32 am

      Thanks so much, dear! Nope, no socks on the bike (or, ever really). I only wear them biking if it’s cold out :) Excited to watch you crush Lake Stevens!

  • Reply
    07/31/2014 at 2:50 pm

    Congratulations Erin! It sounds like you had a really strong race, even with a few challenges thrown your way. Nice work!

  • Reply
    07/31/2014 at 2:56 pm

    Way to kick ass! Congrats on a stellar race.

  • Reply
    07/31/2014 at 3:43 pm

    Congratulations to you and Nick and your amazing pr’s!! Love your race report. Take this high into your remaining training for Madison!!

  • Reply
    07/31/2014 at 4:26 pm

    Awesome PR and great race recap! Sounds like a solid day!!! Congrats!!!

  • Reply
    Leslie @ TriathleteTreats
    07/31/2014 at 9:47 pm

    What a race!! You are my hero!!! I think that if you can alleviate those couple of minor mistakes than Wisconsin will be smooth sailing!!! Great pacing on your run!! Who would have ever thought that you were injury 6 months ago!! Congrats!! So excited for you to rock IMWI!!!!!!!

  • Reply
    07/31/2014 at 10:23 pm

    So proud of you! AWESOME!!!!

  • Reply
    07/31/2014 at 11:03 pm

    Congrats on an awesome race – this was a really fun recap and sounds like it was an awesome day out there for you. Good luck with the final weeks of IM training!

  • Reply
    Danielle @ I Eat Therefore I Run
    08/01/2014 at 3:11 am

    Wow, way to go!!!!! What a great recap, I really love the energy at a triathlon and the buzz in the transition area. That’s why I go to all of my husband’s races. Congrats on a new personal best!

  • Reply
    08/01/2014 at 5:53 am


  • Reply
    08/01/2014 at 9:58 am

    Kick ass E! Congrats on a fantastic race!!!

  • Reply
    08/03/2014 at 7:14 am

    Congrats on a great race! You are going to go into Wisconsin so strong! I can’t wait to follow you!

  • Reply
    08/04/2014 at 8:59 am

    Very impressive performance!! You were in serious beast mode!! Congrats!!

  • Reply
    Alyssa @ Don't Look Down
    08/04/2014 at 9:09 am

    Wow! You rocked that race! You didn’t just squeak by on sub-5 either! You blew right past it! Congrats! Wisconsin is going to be amazing!

  • Reply
    Kristin (@SweatCourage)
    08/06/2014 at 8:13 am

    Woo hoo!!!!! SO amazing Erin!!! To break 5 is incredible!! This is a goal of mine, so you are my inspiration! So glad to hear you had an awesome race and best of all, felt GOOD. Great job on the negative split during the run, it’s so important not to go out too fast. I notice you wore the Hoka Conquests… I ordered them, tried them out, but sizing was off, need to figure out what size is best for me (between 7 and 7.5) I think they run big? Curious to see how you like them.. by the looks of it, seems like they suit you well!! I’m borrowing race wheels for IMMT and I can’t wait! I finally bought an aero helmet this year and what a difference that makes too:) So happy for you!!!

    • Reply
      08/11/2014 at 8:37 am

      Thanks so much, Kristin! I have no doubt… you absolutely will break five soon! My Conquests are the same as my Newtons, but I just bought Cliftons in the same size and after one run, definitely need to size up a half-size. You will love them once you get the right size! They’ve changed my running for the better. Oh, working on a review of them, too, so watch for that soon :) You are so ready to rock IMMT! Can’t wait to see your debut!

  • Reply
    Change of Pace
    08/11/2014 at 7:24 am

    Such a fabulous race and report- CONGRATULATIONS!!! You kicked butt out there! All three disciplines seem super consistent, too! So happy your run is going great after your injury earlier this year!
    All I can say is that I cannot wait to see your Wisconsin results :) Congratulations again. Sub-five is killer fast!

  • Reply
    08/11/2014 at 11:51 am

    I am pretty sure I read this the minute it was posted because I was looking forward to reading all about this race, but I have been meaning to come back and comment. First, CONGRATS (again) because breaking 5:00 is a huge milestone! Also, I am sure this is a fantastic confidence boost for Wisconsin. It is pretty cool to see that you came up with such a speedy time on a day where you were easily able to identify several things that could have gone better (bee sting, helmet issues, sciatic problems and still a rocking bike split!). Good luck with the remaining peak weeks! Looking forward to hearing how Wisconsin goes!

  • Reply
    08/12/2014 at 11:29 am

    Wow, bee sting on the bike?! I might have veered right off the road…kudos to you for being a badass, per usual :) Awesome race recap & congrats on the blazing times!!

  • Reply
    Luv What You Do
    08/17/2014 at 6:22 pm

    You are amazing!!!

  • Reply
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