My “Season” Opener: Philadelphia Insurance Triathlon


My “Official” Triathlon of the season (it cracks me up when I say that) was yesterday’s Philadelphia Insurance Triathlon. I participated in the Sprint Distance event with two of my AKA Sorors (Nineteen69 & R.Pitts) – it was their first Triathlon event.


While I found out that I still have a LOT to work on to improve (even at this distance); while I didn’t finish in any stellar, earth shattering, let me go get some world class equipment times; while I realized that, despite my good game talk, ability to support & motivate others – I STILL have to overcome some bad mental self talk in my OWN head….I HAD AN ABSOLUTE BLAST!




I took Friday off to go up to Philly and hang with Nineteen69 for the day and do so pre-race prep. She hooked us up with a most awesome room at the Marriott Downtown, where it was like going to Cheers – everybody knew her name – and they treated us like royalty. Nineteen69 is the master of networking (and treating people right) with everyone in her purview at work and it showed.


We went out to lunch at Reading Market, did a little shoe shopping & then went to pick up our race packet. This was the first expo that I’ve been to that was outside (under a tent). I’ve been to some pretty huge expo’s but this one was kinda small but intimate…and it also meant that you had a better chance at winning prizes in some of the raffles…WHICH WE DID!!!!

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We both won prize packs at the Toyota booth. Nineteen69 won a prize pack (Asics shoe bag, visor, sunscreen, headbands, googles etc) and I won a Tyr prize pack of a visor – matches my bike, don cha know – goggles & water bottle. WINNING!!!! We then sat at tables that they set up and made signs for her boys to carry and wave while we were suffering on the course.


We hung out for awhile and went back to the hotel. We had a great dinner at Magg.ian.no’s and back to the room for final preparations. Turns out that Nineteen69 did not get a chance to practice is her wetsuit as the last open water swim was cancelled due to thunderstorms. I didn’t think it was a good idea to just go to the race without getting in the water at least one time with the wetsuit on, so we went up to the hotel pool and gave it a whirl. LIFESAVING moment. After putting it on and frolicing in the pool for a while, Nineteen69 felt much better about her swim (ya know she didn’t know how to swim a little over 4 months ago – THINK ABOUT THAT – just snatched that excuse from ya, huh?) and that she would not drown with it on. GO TEAM DIVA!


We set up our transition bags and got in the bed…how much sleep was had? Who knows, but we were up at 4am & out the door by 5am (we had to go pick up her bike on my rack) and were at Transition Area by 6am.

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We got our body marked, set up our transition area and then hung out with all the other participants – talking & socializing – while we waited for Transition to close & the swim to start. I ran into one woman from TriUnify (I’m totally bummed that I can’t remember her name) but it was great to see her and we finished the race pretty close to each other, hugging & grinning in our accomplishment. We both have swim work to do…but we got in & GOT OUT of the water.

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We took a prelim look at the swim start & water…and well, umm, er…my gag reflex kicked in. It was a “beach” entry. The water was very calm with little current, but there was this SCUM/FILM all out in the center of the course. Perhaps if I hurled in advance I wouldn’t do it in the water. I was SOOOOO blown. I kept going over it in my head, being grossed out and then I managed to get a grip telling myself that as a mother I had cleaned up and had on me WAAAAAYYYY worse than pond scum – I could handle this. I pushed it out of my head figuring that the first couple of waves would scoop up all the scum so no biggie. And by time I got in the water, there was no scum to be found.

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.8K swim / 25.3K bike / 5K run
.5 mile swim / 15.7 mile bike / 3.1 mile run

SWIM: Has to be my worst performance to date. I did worse than my 1st Triathlon (Nation’s) which was twice as long as this swim (Olympic Distance). I thought I was calm, cool & collected but I got in that water and was…AFRAID. First thing in my head was “there are too many people” (when there actually were WAAAAYYY less than Nation’s) and when I couldn’t catch my breath, I started with “OMG, I can’t do this”. And then the tears. Then, remembering what so many trainers & other seasoned triathletes have said – “…by any stroke necessary.” Thus, I did the back stroke almost the entire way, busting a tear or two the whole time. I firmly believe that open water swim is 50% mental – a mind game of overcoming fear, doubt & uncertainty.I think with more open water swim practice I WILL get the mental toughness game down. When I finally got out of the water – I felt VICTORIOUS. Moving on.


BIKE: I felt fabulous. The difference from beasting through on a gifted mountain bike on my first tri to doing the course on Dominique Diva Dawes was phenomenal. Was I lightening fast? No, but I was actually able to say “on the left” several times as I blew past A FEW racers. I also got several attaboys admiring my bike plate (2Fast4U). I felt awesome.


RUN: I felt okay, way better than my 1st on this run. I’ve been doing a couple of bricks this time so I knew what to expect (more or less) and was able to maintain my just above frozen molasses pace of 12:30. I ran most of it with a 74 year old man who came up behind me, saying that I looked like I had a good pace he could keep up with (KILL ME NOW) and we talked & I sang cadence and we brought it in together.




Congratulations LISA STEPTOE!
Here are your results for the 2011 Philadelphia Insurance Triathlon:




I wasn’t last overall or last in my age group. WINNING. My goal by the end of the season is to have knocked off 30+min off my total time to complete a Sprint in 2 hours or less.


I think I can. I KNOW I can.


I was worried for my tri-neophyte, Nineteen69, as I realized when I went back into Transition to get my gear that she had not come in from the Bike part yet & had not started the run. I stood there looking at her gear and I called out to her husband who was waiting near the Bike In area and she hadn’t been seen yet. I waited a few more moments and here she comes. NOT A HAPPY CAMPER. Team Pitts told me that it prolly was NOT a good idea to snap pictures of her while Transitioning. AGREED. She was quiet and had a look on her face of sheer determination. I followed her out of transition, handed off my backpack & stuff to her husband and rode off on my bike to ride along side her while she finished up the race with the 3 mile run.


I simply could NOT let her finish the race alone (although the look about her was she was gonna finish come hell or high water). They had packed up the water station and almost the turn around point but the race official waited for her and we took it in together. I was just a ball of tears when Nineteen69’s two sons came out on the course near the finish line on their razor scooters cheering her on and telling her how proud they were of her. *insert sobbing while cycling here*

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When she crossed the finish line, I was NO GOOD! Everybody was crying & hugging.




I am so proud of TEAM DIVA! We did it!…and got the bling to show for it.

         FINISHER  candicefinsher

Up next on my schedule…

Mussleman Triathlon – Geneva, NY

mini-Mussel Sprint Triathlon

Saturday, July 16, 2011 - 9:00 am
750 meter swim - 16.1 mile bike - 3.2 mile run