It’s been a while since I’ve done an Olympic distance and this was my first Tri since the IM70.3 Cozumel Survivor Trial…and, well, it SHOWED. At least on the run…and the bike course fro hell.
The course director for this race is OF THE DEVIL. Who in their right mind would put not ONE but FOUR switch back/technical hills (20%+ grades) on a friggin course. DA HELL??!! I got two words – RAT BASTID!
I rode up to Philly on Friday and made it to Nineteen69’s house just in time to get to packet pickup and off to the movies (World War Z). We both got up on Saturday and made our way down to the Sprint distance race to watch and cheer on @Dwidgee in her first Tri. SHE WAS BEAST!
These pictures say it all about her first tri. GO @Dwidgee!!! YOU ROCKED PHILLY!!!
After the race, @Nineteen69 and I took the kids to the pool where we got in some laps and the hot tub. It was very relaxing and I felt as prepared as I was ever gonna be. I packed my gear and fell asleep at 9:30pm. It was one of the best pre-race sleeps I have ever had. AMAZING. I think I have to do that swim/hot tub thing again.
I was up at 4 am; got dressed, grabbed my bag, put the bike on the car and @Nineteen69 and I took off to pick up Bailey (I had the most awesome Spectathlete crew…EVER). They helped me get fed, walk my gear down to transition and kept me calm, cool & collected as I set up everything in transition.
When TriRock took over this race from the Lifetime series, there were a lot of nice changes/additions made (again, the BIKE COURSE was NOT one of them) and one was that the swim went in one direction with the current so you didn’t have to make any turns – just keep swimming as straight as possible downstream. AWESOME! After getting all set up in transition, we all had to board buses to get to the other side of the Schuylkill River where the swim start was.
Olympic Distance: Swim 1500 meters. Bike 24.8 miles. Run 6.2 miles. NUFF SAID
The swim was uneventful to me. I was consistent, SLOW but steady. The buoys were HUGE and there was one every 100m except at 500m where they had a pseudo rest station. You were allowed to hold onto the ball shaped buoys, regroup and press on – or not. I swam past. There were a few times I got a little winded – like when a whole wave blew past me and I got a little flustered or when I got annoyed with the every 100m buoys and it seemed like I wasn’t moving.
Whoever put this course together was INSANELY EVIL. I am of the notion that if I had perused the course beforehand, I might have found me an excuse to be violently ill the morning of the race and bow out. Like, “NAW player…I ain’t trained up for this kinda nonsense.” And I wasn’t and got my ASS handed to me on those soul sucking hills and we had to do TWO loops so as you are coming past the turn around; you just start cussin’ and cryin’ about the second go round with hell. I don’t even know how to describe it…but for my Howard County peeps…take Mt Albert; add a turn; then add the Gateway RBR hill, turn again and climb out of the turn up Homewood.
TEARS. Do it 3 more times within each 12.4 mile loop and you now know what it was like to be thrown into the pits of hell and have to ride your way out.
On the second loop, halfway up the second stage of the 1st major climb…I looked up and I let fear, doubt and uncertainly enter my mind. It was over. I unclipped and walked up that hill, cussing myself. It happens. However, that was the last time. The rest of the hills, I refused to look up. I kept my eyes on the road just in front of my tire and pedaled like the wicked witch of the west.
Lessons learned for the bike – CADENCE! I will never go out without my cadence meter. Estimating and thinking you are up at 85-90 means you are not there. GEARS – if you don’t know how to work them up and down hills; especially to become more proficient at climbing, then its best to get on an intimate basis with them.
That sucked! Coming off of a foot injury which I now know is a bone spur that I will have to manage and nurse for the rest of my days, I don’t think I did that bad. There was a time that I thought I was going to spontaneously combust – the last 3 miles had NO SHADE WHAT SO EVER – but I shuffled along doing 2:1 intervals until about the last half mile where, when I looked up (trying to keep my head up and bring it home strong) I spied my Spectathlete Team (Nineteen69 & Bailey) cheering and screaming for me. I was so relieved and happy to see them and they ran me up to the chute when I took it in strong on the red carpet.
It is the most awesome thing to hear your name over the loud speaker!
Lesson's learned on the run – Keep running, boo. If it means I have to slow down, FOCUS on my form and do intervals – then perfect practice makes perfect running- for me. I am going to have to put in the work regarding running (re-learn some things, take some clinics, get a coach (STACEY!!!)) just like I had to with swimming.
It’s a journey and I LOVE IT.
If nothing else, each and every race and all the training leading up to the races have taught me (and I continue to develop) a mental toughness, an ability to REMAIN CALM – adapt, improvise, overcome and an ability to handle adversity/challenges with a positive mental attitude.
I AM A TRIATHLETE!