My core events each year are Columbia, Philadelphia, and Nations olympics. I usually round these out with another sprint, olympic, duathlon, and various long bike rides and running events (5k, 10k).
The conditions were similar to last year, so it makes for a good comparison.
good night's sleep!
10 min run
20 min bike
10 min swim
pack & drive to Philly. check-in. They had the Sprint already Saturday morning. Everything went well, water temp 80. Definitely no wetsuit.
After staying in downtown hotels for a few years and doing the touristy things, we now stay north of the city at 'City Avenue', at the host hotel, which provides much easier access to the race site. It is also close to Manayunk, which is their Ellicott City only much bigger, with more restaurants, and this weekend filled with art vendors.
4am wakeup, Starbucks doubleshot. Prepare water with HEED mix. Bags already packed including bag for swim transition with old shoes, water, breakfast (2 powerbars), goggles, chip, gu, and cap.
Long walk from parking to the transition site, with bike. My spot was tucked away in the low-rent district of the transition area. Took school bus a mile up the river to the swim start.
Nothing to do for 2 hours except stand in line for the porta-potty and go through every dynamic activation, stretch, and yoga pose in the books and some not in the books.
My time was 1:13 over last year. Even the pros had times over a minute longer than last year. Last year there was a strong current in our favor, but this year the river offered no free ride. The river offered a wide swim area with few collisions, no sea grass or goggles being knocked off. I sighted often and followed the straight line of buoys. There is one bridge to swim under which is always further than it looks. Finally, a yellow buoy and turn right to the exit.
Had a gu before starting, and drank along the way.
Improved over last year's 5:27. Still room to improve. I jogged, not walked, and I was quick and efficient in getting my bike.
2 loops. First loop was probably faster. It is tough and very technical. There are a few long flat stretches however 4 hard climbs where I proved myself passing younger folks, and some long twisting descents always ending in a sudden hard turn where the ambulance hangs out. I stay to the right fluttering my brakes and let the young and reckless pass me. Last year's time was 1:23:03. Drank about 1 1/2 bottles + 1 gu at halfway and 1 gu pre-run.
Having the clear bag containing my running gear really helped.
Hamstrings were tight and on the verge of cramping. Had to stop a few times to stretch them out. Also, quick bathroom break.
Except for the stops, I kept my pace consistent. Run was 1:05 slower than last year. I think last year I had more of an energy surge and was able to push longer at the finish. Drank 1 bottle and 1 gu.
Overall, a fun race.
The slower swim and run compared to 2011 were exactly balanced by my faster transitions. Overall time was 3 seconds slower than last year!
I joined the start wave of MEN50+, which means that sooner or later I get to swim with every guy who was there, even Andy Potts and that fast 14 year-old.
Shout out to fellow Mid-Marylanders Brian, Paul, and Chris!
What do Andy Potts, Matt Reed, Greg Bennett, Cameron Dye, Chris Foster, Andrew Yoder, and John Lopez have in common?
Yes, it's the rematch for the title of Philadelphia Triathlon, and only one of them can win! Since I'm such a nice guy and have a day job and don't need all the rewards, endorsements, paid travel, expensive bikes, magazine covers, swim gear, and other fancy accessories, I will do the honorable thing and let one of those other guys have it. After all, they are still young and need this type of excitement in their lives.
We all know that the real race is not for 1st, 2nd,or 3rd overall, but for 44th, 45th and 46th place in the M50-54 division. And not between elite men from Boulder and Colorado Springs, but those hardy guys from King of Prussia, West Chester and Clarksville.
Wearing the MMTC colors for the first time this year, will John shave minutes off last years time? Will he lose his way in the point-to-point swim and end up in some upstream farm or overshoot and hit the boathouse dam? Will he snooze through another 9 full minutes in transition (Wait, stop the clock, time-out! I didn't train running barefoot. Is this my row? I don't remember racking with the 30yo women? That looks like a fast bike, maybe I should try a tri-bike this time? Ugh, changing socks and gloves again. Where are those Enduralyte caplets? Swabbing the water out of my ears. Still a line at the potty?...) Will his bike be in the right gears at the right times? Will he get disoriented the dizzying course and make a 3rd loop or stop to run up the Rocky steps at the Art Museum? (cue the theme song). Will all those months of training, coaching, and running analysis reap results and will he finally actually RUN not walk?
The answers are just days away.
Good luck to all racers this weekend!