Category Archive: News

Live Like a Local Triathlete: Things to Do in Chicago

The time of year is once again upon us where triathletes from all over the world flock to Chicago, IL to compete in the one of the sport’s most iconic races — the Transamerica Chicago Triathlon. If you’re heading to the Windy City for a late summer racecation, we’ve got some go-to hotspots that will have you feeling like a local.

Food and Drink

The must-stop coffee shop.

Intelligentsia, styled like an Italian espresso bar, is known for its strong coffee and fair trade business practices. Stop by for an aromatic espresso to reenergize yourself while exploring the city. If you’re interested in the behind-the-scenes action, their West Fulton Street location offers public tours that include a live demonstration of the roasting process.

Quick, reliably healthy eats.

Yolk is the perfect breakfast spot to post up before a day of sight-seeing or after a final early morning training session. We recommend their Santa Fe Frittata for a healthy option with a kick of flavor. If you’re craving lunch, the kale salad tossed in a blueberry pomegranate dressing hits the spot.  

Best post-race celebration spot.

The Scout Waterhouse + Kitchen features a unique, global-inspired menu and full bar with nice patio seating and a spacious dining room for your whole entourage. They’re known for their signature foot-long grilled cheese offered in five different flavors — ‘nuff said. If signature Chicago-style deep dish pizza is calling your name, Lou Malnati’s is the best the city has to offer. Wrap up your perfect Chicago trip with some classic blues tunes at Buddy Guy’s Legends, where icons like B.B. King, Eric Clapton and Stevie Ray Vaughan have graced the stage.

Fitness Finds

Sneak in a workout.

Maggie Daley Park is the ideal if you’re traveling with kids, offering one of the city’s newest playgrounds and a 19,000-square foot rock climbing wall that’s sure to entertain and exhaust the whole family. Additionally, the paths and trails provide the perfect setting for a scenic run.

Your local tri shop.

Live Grit is your ultimate one-stop shop for all your triathlon needs and the best resource for any last-minute race day necessities. Their knowledgeable staff has seen its fair share of finishes at Chicago Tri and will be able to make the perfect recommendation so you have a successful swim, bike and run.

The Transamerica Chicago Triathlon has hosted triathletes on the shores of Lake Michigan for more than 30 years, and is one of the largest triathlons in the world. The action-packed race takes you through one of America’s signature metropolises and provides epic scenery along the city’s iconic Lake Shore Drive.

Many thanks to National Account Manager, Partnership Marketing and former Chi Town resident Colin Cybulski for helping us put this list together!

2016 Transamerica Chicago Triathlon Athlete Guide Now Available

Welcome to Tri Town! Make no mistake, the Second City may be the nation’s 3rd largest city, but Chicago stands proudly as the epicenter of the multisport movement. Since 1983, the Chicago Triathlon has welcomed more than 250,000 participants across the finish line. By our count, 40% of these finishers were first-timers, earning the coveted title of “triathlete” right here in our backyard. In 2016, we plan to add more than 2,500 newbies to that count.

As you journey through the Expo this weekend, as you rack your bike in Transition and as your toe the line at the Swim Start, know that you are an integral part of a 34 year tradition in this city. Your commitment and dedication to this sport is what defines the grit and strength of this incredible city. Chi-Town is Tri-Town. Make sure to check out the 2016 Athlete Guide for detailed schedules, course information and more.

> 2016 Transamerica Chicago Triathlon Athlete Guide

Cheers to an incredible weekend!

Transamerica Chicago Triathlon Athlete Tracker

Track your favorite athlete on race day! Use the Transamerica Athlete Tracker during the race to track participants as they cross various course checkpoints.  The tracking features an interactive map, live streams from official timing pads, estimated arrival times and more. Live tracking is sponsored by Transamerica is included with the Race App and at www.racemyrace.com/chicagotri.

We also invite you to check out our new Life Time Athletic Events App. Learn how you can check in, post photos and stay up-to-date with all things related to event weekend right from the palm of your hand.

App-Store     

2016 Chicago Triathlon Race Day Information

The 2016 Transamerica Chicago Triathlon is right around the corner! Check out all the information you need to know for race day. Good luck, athletes!

RACE DAY WAVE ASSIGNMENTS
With race day fast approaching, we are pleased to share our Chicago Triathlon weekend race day wave assignments:

  • Click HERE to view Sunday’s Chicago Triathlon wave assignments
  • Click HERE to view Saturday’s Kids Tri & SuperSprint wave assignments

In addition to these posted start times, the following course cut-off standards will be in effect for all Sunday participants:

SWIM COURSE

  • International Participants: Complete the 1.5k Swim Course by 10:15 a.m. (2 hours from the start of the final swim wave)
  • Sprint Participants: Complete the 750m Swim Course by 11:15 a.m. (1 hour from the start of the final swim wave)

Please note: These times were calculated in accordance with the Chicago Fire Department to encourage continuous, forward progress as well as applying water exposure and exertion factors. As listed, these cut-off times accommodate 99.8% of the previous participants’ swim times [average International swim split: 37 minutes; average Sprint swim split: 21 minutes]. Participants unable to complete the full swim course, or who exit the water early, will not be able to advance onto the Bike Course. For those concerned about swim times, we strongly encourage you to attend one of our final Swim Clinics on Tuesday, August 23.

BIKE COURSE

  • International Participants: Must reach the Lake Shore Drive exit (mile 14.5) by 10:45 a.m., enter the McCormick Place Busway (mile 18.8) by 11:05 a.m. and finish their entire bike course by 12:00 PM.
  • Sprint Participants: Complete their entire bike course (exit Lake Shore Drive) by 12:00 p.m.

RUN COURSE

  • All participants must clear the Run Course by 2:00 p.m.

As a reminder all registered participants will receive the official Athlete Guide via email on Monday, August 22. The is important packet will include the final schedules, wave assignments, spectator details and course maps.

Chicago Tri Community Gear Swap on April 24

Chicago’s new and veteran triathletes come together to exchange, buy and/or sell gently used triathlon gear on Sunday, April 24 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. for the 2016 Chicago Tri Community Gear Swap!

Clean out your triathlon gear trunk, grab that old wetsuit and dig through those vintage tri jerseys while helping out new triathletes, making room for some new gear AND making a few bucks. Looking to buy? Put together a list of what you need, grab a friend, come early for the best selection and bring plenty of cash or a check (don’t expect to use credit cards).

> RSVP REQUIRED

Location:
Old Fifth Bar & Restaurant
1027 W. Madison Street
Chicago, IL
> View Map

This event is complimentary for buyers, and $10 for individuals who plan to sell gear. Complimentary Goose Island beer will be served to participants 21 and over. Food from Old Fifth Bar & Restaurant will be available for purchase. RSVP today, this event is WILL sell out!

Visit Our Booth at the 2016 Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K

Life Time Fitness joins the Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K in kicking off Chicago’s endurance season at the Shamrock Shuffle Health & Fitness Expo this weekend. Join us at McCormick Place, Hall F1 Friday, April 1 from 10 a.m. – 8 p.m or Saturday, April 2 from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Along with other healthy lifestyle vendors, Life Time will present the Transamerica Chicago Triathlon, Chicago Half Marathon & 5K, Michelob ULTRA Chicago Spring 13.1 & 10K, and the Gildan Esprit de She women’s race series.

In addition to exclusive on-site expo offerings you’ll have the opportunity to speak with local triathlon and run coaches to set up your race season or take on an additional personal challenge. Make plans to join us in booth #133 for one of our exclusive sessions lead by the best coaches in the business*: 

FRIDAY
11 a.m. Chicago Triathlon 101 – You Can Do This, Life Time Tri
12 p.m. 8K to Half Marathon, Your Next Challenge – Chicago Endurance Sports
1 p.m. Chicago Triathlon 101 – You Can Do This, Life Time Tri
2 p.m. Be Your Potential – Women’s Triathlon – Nic Ruley, Well-Fit Triathlon and Training
3 p.m. Beginners Guide to Training & Nutrition – Coach Chris Navin, TriMonster
4 p.m. 8K to Half Marathon, You’re Next Challenge – Life Time Run
5 p.m. Take On Your First Triathlon – Live Grit Endurance Team
6 p.m. You Can Do This – Chicago Triathlon 101 – Coach Chris Navin, TriMonster
7 p.m. 8K to Half Marathon, Your Next Challenge

SATURDAY
10 a.m. Chicago Triathlon 101 – You Can Do This – Chicago Endurance Sport
11 a.m. Be Your Potential – Women’s Triathlon – Coach Lynn Flentye, Life Time Tri
12 p.m. Beginners Guide to Training & Nutrition – Coach Chris Navin, TriMonster
1 p.m. Take On Your First Triathlon – Coach Nic Ruley, Well Fit Triathlon
2 p.m. 8K to Half Marathon, Your Next Challenge – Life Time Run
3 p.m. Chicago Triathon 101 – You Can Do This – Coach Nic Ruley, Well Fit Triathlon
4 p.m. Be Your Potential – Women’s Triathlon – Coach Lynn Flentye, Life Time Tri
5 p.m. 8K to Half Marathon, Your Next Challenge – Life Time Run

*Schedule is subject to change.

Support Ohio Street Beach Improvements

The Transamerica Chicago Triathlon commits it’s support for the improvement of facilities  at Ohio Street Beach. The addition of showers, locker rooms, restrooms, lockers and additional bike racks are needed to support the growing sport of triathlon and elevate this premier training location.

Ohio Street Beach is ground zero for triathletes, and the PRIMARY reason the sport has flourished over the past 34 years here in the midwest. Chicago hosts the nation’s 3rd largest population of triathletes, with more than 200,000 crossing the Chicago Triathlon finish line since 1983, with a cumulative economic impact of $255M (est) over race weekend alone. 

One half of those athletes, more than 100,000 in total, completed their first triathlon in Chicago – the majority of whom learned and mastered the art of open water swimming at this beach. 

Expanding the beach amenities to better serve the existing audience will showcase the COC/CPD’s commitment to furthering a healthy way of life for these aspiring athletes, inspire many more to enter the multisport lifestyle, and further set Chicago apart as the nation’s preeminent triathlon destination.

> SIGN THE PETITION 

How Mentally Tough Are You?

IRONMAN/Experience Life

Learn how to become the most resilient, confident athlete you can be, regardless of your physical fitness.

When it comes to training our bodies to deal with the demands of our sport, endurance athletes have no problem putting in the time and effort. But as for training the muscle between our ears? That’s another story. We’ll spend hours obsessing over our splits, researching gear, and studying race courses, but far too many of us neglect one of the most important aspects of training:  what goes on upstairs.

When I first got into endurance sports, I struggled with mental toughness. When conditions were great, I was a champ. But when things got hard I whined, complained, and psyched myself out.

It was only when I began incorporating what multisport coach Celia Dubey calls “mental strength training” that I found myself achieving a new level of performance and pleasure when it came to training and racing. (Celia Dubey is an elite duathlete and triathlete and the owner of Tarpon Total Sports in Tarpon Springs, Fla.)

Dubey has worked with over a thousand athletes of all ages and abilities in her eight years of coaching, and over that time she’s developed a three-prong process for training her athletes to get the best out of themselves.

USE BREATH TO STAY IN THE MOMENT
I used to do all sorts of things to distract myself when I was racing or training. I’d tell myself I had to run three minutes before I could look at my watch again — anything to take my mind off what I was doing in hopes of being able to endure the suffering or boredom.

The paradox is that making an effort to focus on the present has actually increased my capacity for dealing with these things and also makes the time pass a lot faster. When I pay attention — including to how I feel and what my body is doing — I start to experience what’s been described by the psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi as “flow,” or a state in which people “are completely absorbed in an activity..” During this ‘optimal experience’ he says they feel “strong, alert, in effortless control, unselfconscious, and at the peak of their abilities.”

Cultivating flow, also called mindfulness, can be challenging for endurance athletes. This is why Dubey teaches her athletes to focus on their breathing. “A fundamental aspect of being aware in the moment is being aware of one’s breath, she says.” By focusing on our breath, Dubey says we can shift our focus away from suffering.

Whenever I catch myself trying to play those distracting mental games, particularly when I’m far from the end, I’ll take some deep breaths, run through my internal checklist, check my form and my pace and remind myself to just be in the mile I’m in. This tactic has become one of the most powerful tools in my mental arsenal. Like a lot of endurance athletes, I had tricks I’d use to distract myself from suffering and boredom, but ironically, working on my focus through deep breathing helped me better withstand the challenges of our sport more than those tricks ever did.

CULTIVATE POSITIVE SELF-DIALOGUE
When I first started racing, the chatter in my head was a relentless stream of criticism: “This is so hard.” “This is the stupidest thing you’ve ever done.” “Why are you doing this to yourself?” (Interspersed with lots of four-letter words). The futility of this tactic became apparent during the steamy last 10K of Marathon Bahamas. The heat had reduced me to a stumble, but I somehow managed to make myself run. In a desperate attempt to keep my feet moving , I told myself I couldn’t stop (again, with lots of four-letter words). Alas, the moment I stopped was the moment I started walking again.

Dubey says that the majority of the athletes she works with are, like me, highly critical of themselves. She first asks them to pay attention to what their inner dialogue is saying: “Is what you’re saying to yourself something you’d say to someone running next to you?” she asks them. “Would you let someone speak that way to you?”

Dubey says that once most of her athletes realize their self-dialogue is negative, they work together to come up with a simple, positive mantra to use when things get tough. This essentially takes the thought process out of it, she says. She recommends sentences like “I am strong” or “I am fast” or “I am loving this.” She stresses that it needs to be simple and that it shouldn’t contain negatives, even such as “I’m not going to stop.”

Sometimes I still succumb to those old nasty habits but for the most part, when things get tough during racing and training, I’ve found that turning to those simple mantras helps me cope. Dubey’s simple trick helped me start treating myself as if strength and capability were my default settings, a tactic that has made me start operating off the assumption that I can and I will. In short, making an effort to be encouraging with my self-talk works far better than when I try to go all Full Metal Jacket drill sergeant on myself.

SURROUND YOURSELF WITH PEOPLE WHO ENERGIZE YOU
Humans are social creatures, a fact that can work for us or against us. Dubey believes we feed off each other’s energy, and that we do well to be aware of how that affects us.

“We have a tendency to be either charging or draining to others,” says Dubey, who asks her athletes to look at how they interact with others. “For the most part are you charging others, making them feel good about themselves? Or are you a downer? Are you critical and a complainer?”

Dubey says her best friends are also her fiercest competitors, and that that she often has breakthroughs soon after they do. She also says training with people who are faster is important, but perhaps even more crucial is training with people who genuinely like and respect you.

I’ve found this to be true in my own life, specifically when my husband and I joined a local racing team. Within months, I became faster and more confident, a fact my coach noticed the last time I saw him. “It’s like you’re an entirely different athlete,” he told me. My teammates believe in me when I have trouble doing so for myself, and I do my best to return the favor — to be what Dubey calls “a charger.”

All my work to become mentally tougher has been paying off in ways I never dreamed possible. Last year I completed two ultramarathons — finishing toward the front of the field in both of them — and my first half-distance triathlon. And just last month, I achieved a goal that seemed impossible five years ago when I qualified for the Boston marathon.

Mental toughness won’t turn a back-of-the-packer into Chrissie Wellington. It’s not even a guarantee that you’ll achieve all of your wildest athletic goals. But what it will do is make you the most resilient, confident athlete you can be, which is a goal we can all strive to achieve no matter our physical ability.

Originally written for IRONMAN by Caitlin Constantine. Experience Life is the award-winning whole-life health and fitness magazine dedicated to empowering people to become their healthiest selves.

Shop Our Online Store for All Your Chicago Triathlon Gear

Calling all Transamerica Chicago Triathlon finishers and fans! We are proud to introduce you to the Chicago Triathlon Official Gear Store. Our new online store features a variety of merchandise from T-shirts and hoodies to hats and headbands.

Shop around for friends and loved ones, or find the perfect way to commemorate your own Chicago Triathlon experience. We know that your August weekend in Chicago is more than just a race, and we wanted to make it easier for everyone to show their Chicago Triathlon pride — near or far.

> SHOP NOW

The Transamerica Chicago Triathlon is More Spectator-Friendly Than Ever Before

This year we’ve made it even easier to track your favorite athlete on race day! The Transamerica Chicago Triathlon is excited to bring you some new, digital tools that will make it easier for athletes to find what they need on race day and for spectators to track their favorite participants. With resources such a live tracking, text alerts and a real-time activity feed, watching a friend or family member on race day is easier than you think!

We also invite you to check out our new Life Time Athletic Events App. Learn how you can check in, post photos and stay up-to-date with all things related to event weekend right from the palm of your hand.

> VIEW ADDITIONAL SPECTATOR INFO

We thank you in advance for coming out and cheering on our triathletes. The race wouldn’t be the same without you!