Monday, July 4, 2011

Philly Olympic Tri

Last weekend on June 26th I participated in the Philadelphia Insurance Olympic Distance Triathlon here at home in Philadelphia PA.  It was my first tri of the season, which I would have preferred to be a sprint but since I'm gearing up for the Half Ironman this October, I signed up for the local Olympic Distance (.9m swim, 24.8m (40K) bike, 6.2m(10K) run). 

I was a little bit nervous for this tri since usually I'm doing something shorter to start and I hadn't gotten too much training in on the bike.  I had done one 17 mile ride, 1 20 mile ride, and then 2 brick training sessions at Valley Forge National Park: 15 mile bike followed by a 5 mile run, and the second a 10 mile bike followed by a 3 mile run.  The sprint tri was on Saturday and the Olympic on Sunday, for the Sprint they had great weather and the river was below 78 degrees so it was wetsuit legal for the swim. 

The race started with the elites at 7am and I started around 7:30 so it was nice that I didn't have to wait too long to get started.  My swim was ok, I felt strong but the river is really wide and I felt like I was all over the river - the good news is that my chip didn't get pulled off in the swim and there was enough room to spread out so you weren't swimming on top of each other which happens at some of the more crowded races.  When I got out of the water from my swim and got on the bike, I ate a mini lara bar, the one that's about half the size of a regular one, had a swig of coconut water and was off on the bike.  At around mile 16 I decided to eat some of the pack of Honey Stingers that I had, that was about 1.5 hours after I had started and had a few but they were tough going down so I barely ate half the pack.  I did manage to do the bottle exchange flawlessly, I'm not that coordinated on my bike, being in a tight pack of riders freaks me out so riding and taking a water bottle from someone standing there handing it to me for the first time ever (no practicing on this move yet) was something I was a little leery of.  I made sure I drank my full bottle and was ready to switch when I came around for the second lap of the bike course. This actually helped me drink more because I tend to not drink while biking and running - something that I need to do as the distances get longer, but can get away with skipping in the shorter sprint races.  The bike was definitely the hardest leg for me, I kept getting passed and couldn't figure out what to do to make myself faster - the good news is that I know I need to get better on the bike and that is a place to focus my training for my other races.  After the bike, I headed out on the run, and felt pretty good.  Around mile 5 my knee felt a little tight, I think it was from not stretching my legs at all before I got off the bike.  I was happy with my run pace and performance, and when I crossed the finish line knew that I gave it pretty much all I had that day.

My results were ok, ironically it was about the same time as my first Olympic Tri, but I think this course was a little hillier on the bike.  With a much smaller base of people to compare myself to, I did ok not as well as I had hoped but I've got something to work towards now.  Since I have my real splits for my run, bike, swim and transitions its great feedback on where and how I can improve for the Half Ironman distance too! 

So how did I do:
Swim 00:26:36
Bike 01:26:31
Run 00:49:31
Final 02:48:21

You finished 769 out of 1586 in the OLYMPIC. (Just made top 50%)

You finished 30 out of 101 in your class F30-34. (29% in my age group)

Lessons learned: Doing some running (5k's and tempo/intervals) has helped me push myself on the run and carried me through up to the 10K distance, but I'll need to train longer intervals for the Half Marathon distance in the Half Iroman.  I need to get more comfortable with being uncomfortable on the bike - Crossfit has helped me with getting comfortable with being uncomfortable but not for 1.5 hours at a time.  The Half Ironman bike is going to be double the distance, so I'm looking at at least 3 hours on the bike - this is the longest stretch and most distance I have to cover so its worth investing some more training time in this.  I'm going to keep Crossfitting as part of my training but think that the level I'm practicing right now, about 2x per week is the right amount to mix in with the biking, running, and occasional swimming that I do.

Overall the race was great, it was a good experience, I swam in the Schyukill River and lived to tell about it (next time I'm going to try to remember ear plugs!) and overall had a great race and was impressed at how well run it was. 


  1. Way to go Laura! U r always an inspiration!

  2. Nice job Laura! You are an inspiration to me too!