June 23, 2013
Swim (1500m, 0.9miles): 31:33
Bike (24.8miles): 1:24:55
Run (10K, 6.2miles): 1:03:11
Pre-Race: Having come off Kinetic Half in May, traveling for work & then getting an amazing sinus infection, I didn't feel super prepared for this race. Along with that and the HOT weather we've been having, made me a little nervous. But I knew I was confident in each leg alone, so just like the last race, mentally I knew I could just put them together. We arrived in Philly Saturday afternoon, went to packet pick up, did a little sight seeing and had an awesome prerace dinner at Olive Garden. I felt obligated to explain my insane ordering to the waiter, so he didn't think I was a weirdo. "Light" menu option chicken & veggie dish, plus a side of pasta & salad & bread sticks. I essentially ordered 2 dinners and ate half of each. :) Headed to bed around 10 and woke up at 4:15. Worst thing was the damn toilet in the adjoining room turning on and off every 20 seconds ALL night long!
Race Morning: Got to transition by 5:45am to set up. After being yelled at & rushed for 20minutes I made it to the buses with at least 10minutes to spare. So much for a calm, relaxed start to the day. Last bus left transition at 6:20 for the swim start. My swim wave didn't start until 7:45, so I had plenty of time to hang out & relax, eat a PBJ & hit the restroom a few times. Again we were rushed, 10minutes after getting off the bus, the gear check bus was leaving. Had I known it was leaving soon after we arrived, I would have just left my stuff on the other side of the river. A point to point swim is nice, but the logistics were a little wonky.
Swim: My AG was wave 8 and went from 7:41-7:46. They started us 10 at a time off the end of the dock. I've never done this type of start, so I wasn't sure what to do. Do you stand up & dive in? Sit down & drop off the edge & then start swimming? I watched others ahead of me & still had no clear plan. My group of 10 lined up. I was stuck in the middle......I looked around & thought, "I'm not a strong swimmer, I shouldn't be in the middle." Then I thought, "Fake it until you make it, kid. You ARE strong in the water & you can handle a few bumps and kicks until there's space to spread out." So my entry.......I'm sure it looked quite entertaining. Everyone in my group sat down, feet in the water. I followed suit, but I have this weird fear of my feet being sucked back under the dock. So when the gun went off, I tried to drop off, but still push off forward. It ended up being something like a belly flop! LoL Completely awkward and inefficient, but I was in the water! And BOY did it taste NASTY!!!! I guess that's what you get for swimming in the Schuylkill River! Things cleared out pretty quickly & I was relaxed in the water before the first 100m buoy. I decided to try something different. Coach Kevin (from Merritt TriClub swim practices) has us practice critical pace & breathing every 2 strokes, but alternating sides. Each 100m I changed sides, right, left, right, left, every 3 (that totaled 500m). I felt like I was keeping my heart rate up, but giving myself a 100m to adjust if needed. Other than swimming all over hells half acre for the first 600m, it was a great swim. On the last 100m I got caught in the current a little. We were with it the whole way, until the last 100 when you were perpendicular. I ended up almost swimming into the left swim out buoy. Like within 5inches of being under it! :) Who cares, I was out of the water!!! 31minutes for 1500m might not seem quick, but for me, it was 25seconds/100m faster than my half swim! Any bit faster is better!
T1: Pretty long run out of the water & through transition. The transition area was pretty long, but I guess that's what happens when it's narrow and you have almost 1300 people racing! I felt like I spent 10minutes in transition, so just over 3 wasn't so bad. I struggled with my wetsuit a little and had to sit down to put my bike shoes on. I kept tipping over & laughing. I either need cleat guards or learn how to "hot start". It was pretty tough & a long trip getting out of transition. I ended up walking my bike out most of the way. I figured it was a better bet to walk now & save the run for later.
Bike: Anyone who tells you Philly races are "flat & fast" is lying! :) Ok, well the hills weren't THAT bad, but they were difficult. Not because they were long, but because they were short and steep and generally started after a 90degree turn giving you almost no momentum to get up them. Some of you may know "Lemon Hill" it's a b*tch to run up, well let me tell you.......it may be worse on the bike! You take a sharp 90degree turn & then BAM! there she is! You've got no momentum to get you started & then the hill turns 90degrees again & then a nice little switch back. I tried to be more prepared on loop 2, didn't help much. I will admit, a lot of the course was nice and flat, but there were some good hills packed into the beginning of the loop. I didn't feel great on the bike, but I didn't feel bad either. What was most frustrating was peoples bad bike etiquette. People rode in the middle of the road, passed on the right, etc etc. One particularly annoying rider was a very muscley dude I ran into during the first loop. He was CONSTANTLY riding in the middle of the damn road. I'd yell, "ON YOUR LEFT" hoping he would move over & get it, not so much. He was also riding shirtless, which for some reason just annoyed me (or it could be his taking over the road, who knows). Either way, I decided to use it to my advantage. He was my shirtless, meathead villain. I was NOT going to let him beat me. I passed him uphill, he passed me downhill. Over and over went the cycle....until the last loop. He passed me one more time & said, "there's my bike buddy, we keep going back & forth." Damn him for being nice, he was ruining my mental vision of him. At that point, we had about 4-5miles left. We hit some flat road, maybe a slight incline. I held my gear & passed him & didn't let up. I was getting to transition first, period. Hit black road & the big downhill & I coasted into dismount. He came in shortly after me & ran past to his transition spot, "we made it! Great ride, good luck" he said. Damn, my villain was really a nice guy, good to know! But he served his purpose in my race.
T2: Nothing exciting to report here. I undid my shoes on the bike & slid my feet out, ran in socks to transition. Threw my shoes, visor & race belt on. Forgot my sunblock spray, but oh well. Grabbed gels & was off.
Run: I did not want to run. Period. I just didn't feel like it, but I got myself into this race & to hell if I was going to walk it in. Took me about 2miles & a quick potty break to knock the sludge out of the legs. It was getting HOT!! The first half of the run course was in & out of the shade & they had ice!!! I stuffed a whole cup of ice into my sports bra & enjoyed the slow, cold melt that ensued for the next 1.5miles. If you've never tried this, DO IT! It cools your core down so much, it made me feel so much better. We had about 1/5 mile in the grass run (1/4 out of transition & another 1/4 past transition to the 2nd half of the run). Thank goodness it wasn't like Eagleman! The second half of the run was brutal. Completely flat, but not shaded. Just pavement & sun. You had to run past the finish & then out to the turn around after mile 5. I ran to each water stop & then walked, water, gatorade & back to it. Just wanted to run the race, I didn't wear a watch so I didn't care what my pace was. I just wasn't going to walk. Ice towels at 5.5 were AMAZING!! Threw one on my head & just kept moving forward. I hit the finish & was glad to be done. I was also SUPER excited that the announcer ALMOST got my name correct!!! It's pronounce like Alyssa Milano, despite all the extra letters! And she was sooo close! :)
Seeing as this was my first Olympic, I set no goals except to finish. I didn't even have time goals for each piece. I just wanted to see what it felt like to run a shorter race than the half & I think it might have been harder! :) It was a nice race, great post race music and food. Medal that doubles as a bottle opener & a pitstop at Pat's in South Philly before the drive home.
My "goals" for the weekend-
Finish the triathlon
Drink a beer
Eat a cheesesteak
Looking forward to some down time & relaxed training for the sprints at the end of the summer!