Triathlon Volunteering

Last Sunday At the end of August, I volunteered at the Chicago Triathlon with my friend Lilian & other CES’ers. In preparation for my morning of triathlon volunteering, I reviewed some of the videos that inspired me to try triathlons:

What it’s all about
C’mon, isn’t this awesome? I’m probably sick for being motivated by this video


This summer I had signed up for a CES training program to train for the Chicago Triathlon, but ultimately decided not to see the program through to the final event.  I ended up racing my first triathlon at the South Shore Triathlon, a sprint tri that was at the end of July. My reasons for not following through were that I had already signed up for the Fox Valley Marathon and I’d been finding it challenging and stressful to train for both events.  There’s a lot more to triathlon training than just putting in time on your runs, and for me I especialy would have liked to spend much more time perfecting (ok, improving at a basic level) my techniques on the bike, swim, transitions, and run speed.  Oh yeah, and I have had crazy stuff going on at work that keep me working a lot, and I have a wedding to plan.  Not that I’m complaining – I know I’m fortunate to have the problems I have.  (Not quite a candidate for #whitegirlproblems, but that’s what I was thinking of)

Lilian picked me up Sunday morning at the early crack of dawn.  This was the weekend I had my twenty seventeen miler, so I was a little pissed that I didn’t get a day either morning to sleep in properly.  (That’s what I’ll enjoy most after my marathon! No guilt sleeping in!).  We headed down to Grant Park and found the CES Tent.  We were assigned to the Swim Aid Station, so we set up the water tables to hand out water to swimmers before they enter the lake to begin the triathlon.

IT was fun to see everyone come through.  As the sun came out, it was warm and some people it looked like had been wearing their wetsuits for a while! They appreciated the water.  We saw a whole mix of different swim outfits, from trisuits to wetsuits of different shapes & forms, to a frilly green bathing suit that I thought looked a bit more appropriate for sunning than triathlon.  Experienced triathletes would have their wetsuit only halfway on until just before they had to start, and put their caps on at the last moment, whereas other people had their caps & wetsuits on for long before they made it to us (and there was typically at least another 5 minutes after they passed our stop before they’d actually enter the water to begin). 

It was great people-watching, excuse me, triathlete-watching.  Lilian and I both spotted someone who looked a bit different from the rest. A fellow water station volunteer shared his name and said he was a pro triathlete. (It was only about 30 minutes later that we realized that the pro’s don’t actually start until after the general triathlon is done, so he definitely wasn’t in that category!) But his name was Ryan Sutter, a former contestant on the Bachelorette who is a firefighter and triathlete. Lilian was just about swooning when she poured cups of water into his swim cap for him to put it on. 

Other than that, we didn’t actually see any other VIPs (Rahm, where were you?! I’ve been missing you since Valentine’s Day!).  The general race wrapped up, we closed up the water stations and then headed over to the post-race party.

Triathlon Post-race parties seem to be better than some of the running races I’ve been to.  This one (being the largest triathlon event in the US or even world?) did not disappoint.  We snagged chocolate milk from two different tents, Zico coconut water (oh how I love you!), and got some food for volunteering.  Overall it was a great morning and I had a great time seeing people prepare for their triathlon events! 


2 thoughts on “Triathlon Volunteering

  1. Erin

    How fun! I’ve only ever volunteered at regular running races. I bet volunteering at the triathlon got you pumped up to do another one, right?


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