For years detective Elena Deuchler served as traffic control for what was then called the SheROX Triathlon. As she watched thousands of women run through the Naperville streets cheered on by friends and family, she realized she was missing out.
"I had managed traffic for this event for many years and was so proud of these women that participated every year that I decided to participate myself," Deuchler said.
Deuchler, a detective who specializes in financial crimes with the Naperville Police Department, rallied three fellow officers to participate this year. While two have dropped out due to other commitments, Deuchler and fellow detective Julie Lardeno have followed through, training more than three months for the event. The two have trained six days a week, initially rotating among swimming, biking and running before combining the three elements to build endurance for the triathlon.
While Deuchler's decision to join the triathlon, now called the Esprit de She, was somewhat spontaneous, she did come to it with athletic experience. She played volleyball and softball while studying sociology at Benedictine University and has always loved sports. Yet the event poses challenges even for the seasoned athlete.
"The hardest segment of the race is definitely the transition between the biking and running portions," she explained. "All the lactic acid buildup between those two is definitely the most difficult part, at least for me."
The detectives' participation in the event has gotten them interested in other triathlons in the area. The women participated in the Woodridge Rotary Mini Triathlon last year as a buildup to the Esprit de She and are exploring other triathlons like the Oswego Triathlon in July.
Training and experience, though, are nothing compared to the enthusiasm shared between Deuchler and her teammate.
"We're very supportive of one another and that's what has made this experience really special," she said.