Allen Iverson and I are kindred spirits apparently.
Triathlon is a very honest sport. In order to succeed, you must train your weaknesses more than your strengths in order to have a good overall race. Unfortunately…….I find this very difficult, and last weekend's Philadelphia Triathlon was a great example of this fact (and a great kick in the pants for the rest of the season).
I've done Philly the previous four years, and it is by far my favorite race of any distance or discipline. I guess helps that I know every turn, hill, and pothole on the course since I've ran or ridden parts of it hundreds of times. Even without my homecourt advantage, the organization is phenomenal and it's a great venue, so I wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone looking for a well-run and fast Olympic distance race in the future.
The swim is point to point in the Schuylkill River (bonus points if you can pronounce it correctly!). While it's not the cleanest river out there, it's still a huge improvement over the Hudson. I was fortunate enough to be seeded in the Elite wave, which started right
after the Pros and meant I'd have an open first lap of the bike. I knew within a few minutes of starting the swim that it was going to be a tough race (I'm currently in the middle of moving and had a few late nights the week before the race living the musician life). So it
wasn't the most rested I've been before a race, but as they say in Japan, "c'est la vie".
I exited the water in 22:45, which was a bit faster than I expected considering how un-fast I was feeling. The swim was not wetsuit legal, so T1 was quick, and I was on my bike (fancy mount included) in about a minute and a half.
The bike begins with about a mile of flat and then turns uphill for the longest climb on the two loop bike course. Ugh. I knew I was in for a pummeling after that first hill. The course for the most part is pretty fair though, and there's always a downhill for every uphill, so
there's really no reason to complain. I slogged through the bike with
that dead-leg-it's-freaking-impossible-to-turn-the-crank feeling. I managed a faster second lap by over a minute, but overall it was a slower-than-expected 1:09 for the bike leg (a demoralizing 4 minutes slower than last year).
I breezed through T2 and was out on the run feeling surprisingly fresh, questioning whether these were the same legs that had just trudged through the bike. The run in Philly is very flat and very fast. I had a fair amount of athletes in front of me, so I focused on relaxing and picking off as many people as I could. The best part about the Philly Tri is that my mom comes out to watch me race, so it was nice seeing her twice on the run (especially the second time promised there'd be pancakes waiting for me at home). Considering how poorly the bike went, I was shocked to finish with a 36:03 run, which is the fastest I've run a 10k in any situation.
So while there were bright spots (the run, pancakes), the lack of preparation on the bike (hello, four minutes slower than last year) is a more glaring weakness. If this coming weekend (moving and a three day recording session) doesn't kill me, I'm ready to get back to work and put in some serious time on the bike. Next up is the NYRR Sprint Tri, and there's juuuuuust a bit of pressure there to do well, so it's time to go to work! It's time to…….PRACTICE!