Armed with a brand new Garmin 910xt (shout-out to Danzien & Quigley over in Cherry Hill, NJ!) and an altered aero-bar water bottle setup (shout-out to Breakaway Bikes), I rolled out of bed on Sunday for a rinse & repeat edition of the Philly Tri. The water was again non-wetsuit legal, so I packed my speedsuit and my two-piece SNR kit for the race. I decided that I wanted to approach this race as a true training session for HIM races, so I was willing to take the extra seconds to take off the speed suit.
After setting up my transition area, I messed around until being kicked out of transition and taking the bus over to the swim start line. While there was only one transition area, the swim was at St. Joe’s boathouse, and because the bus route was on the bike course, they had to get the entire field over to the start line before the Pro field could go off. This sucked for me, because the first wave went off at 6:30 and my wave, second to last, went off at 7:50. Fortunately, I linked up with Shannon Kaplan and we hung out and killed time until her race started – the Women’s Aquabike, which was 2 waves before me (she ended up winning).
The swim was non-eventful, which was fantastic. I tried to work my way over towards lane 3/4, where the water tends to be fastest. As I worked my way over, I realized that the majority of the field was in lanes 1-3, and was also behind me. Dropping the field on the swim two days in a row? Wow. Major shout-out to Drexel swimmer and current coach Tori Mayer for all her work with me. I swam relatively stress free down the 2k course, spotted the last bouy, made the turn and came in.
Swim time: 24:38, rank = 216.
I had a quick fumble slipping out of my speedsuit, but was still out of T1 fairly quickly and back on my Kestrel for Day 2. Whereas Saturday the course was completely clear of racers the first lap, today I would be riding up on people and overtaking the entire ride. I didn’t really know the course at all, and was surprised at the technicality of the first couple of miles. As I climbed one of the first big hills, I saw another rider eat shit as he descended down the other side, with water bottles spilled all over the course. I made a mental note to not replicate his mistake. The course was two loops, and honestly I have no recollection of anything exciting happening, except that there were a lot of people to pass and a lot of turns. I finally made it back to T2 and dropped my bike off in the rack and threw on my shoes. I saw that there was 1 or 2 bikes already in my area, so I assumed I was in 3rd or so. I knew I hadn’t been passed by anyone, so another solid ride on the bike.
Bike time: 01:06:24, 22.4mph, rank = 109
The run course started from T1/T2, went 1.5 out, looped back, ran past T1/T2, and then did another 1.5 mile out/back loop on the other side. I had gotten a cheer from Greg to “stay solid” on my run, and I was determined to not blow up or let anything bother me. In the first half of my run, my 1/4 mile splits ranged consistently from 1:52 to 1:57, with one split over 2.‘ In the second half, I grabbed a Gu at an aid station and tried to hold the pace a small amount until I got to the turn around. I was successful, and hit the turn around feeling a lot better than I had the previous day. By this point I had slipped a couple spots back, but I was only focusing on my own race and putting together a solid last 1.5 miles. I ran the last mile ~7:14, and ran the next 1/4 mile in 1:33 to sprint home.
Run time: 47:51, 07:43/mi, rank = 302.
9th AG (out of 100), 143 OA (out of 1547).
Wrap up: It is always fun to race at home and defend my “turf,” go out to lunch with my parents after the race, and have local people who know our team and cheer for us. Neither race was particularly important to me in terms of actual performance, but it was another good learning experience. Sprint races are always fun because you can redline 110% the whole time, whereas Olympics require more pacing, but still require you to run VERY fast. Which I CANNOT do. So, this race only confirmed what I already knew – I am better at long distance races, particularly if the bike is long/hard, because it allows for a greater demonstration of mental toughness. That being said, I did qualify for the Age Group Olympic-Distance National Championship Race in Burlington, VT for this year, but I won’t be racing because (a) everything I posted above and (b) it is the day before Timberman.