Philadelphia Triathlon

Posted by on June 27, 2016 in Training

I competed in and finished my 10th Philadelphia Triathlon this past weekend, and while it was probably the most fun I had, it was also my slowest.  Naturally, that correlation troubles me, but the real correlation needs to be understood to figure out why yesterday was what it was.

First, I’ve not been putting in crazy training hours.  In reality, I’ve been in the pool less than a half-dozen times in the last two months, and I’ve been really unmotivated with running.  After the Brooklyn Half-Marathon, I realized that a blister the size of Rhode Island had developed under my left foot, so I let it heal for as long as it would take to not put further pressure on it.  After I while, I got complacent and used to not running.  I did compete in the Queens 10k race in Flushing Meadow Park last weekend, but as would be expected, my performance numbers weren’t great.  My average pace wound up around 8:19 per mile where I had started off with sub 8s.

On the bike however, I’ve been feeling great.  My numbers have been improving steadily, and I feel so strong whenever climbing up hills.  I seem to be stronger than most of my riding partners, so that’s also good for the ego.  But, I sense that the progress on the bike has hurt the run especially given the lack of brick sessions.  My weight has been pretty good and I’m hovering in the high 170s; that’s great for me!  I suspect that I’ll shed just a few more pounds be a solid 175 within a month.

Second, the Philly course is not a fast one.  The swim typically has some element of tide within the Schuykil River, but on Sunday, they changed the course due to low water levels.  And there was virtually zero current.  That’s fine, and I swam well considering my under-training, but a little tide would have helped.  The bike course is technical and challenging as it offers plenty of flats, short and gradual hills, tight turns, and fun downhills.  The run course is pancake flat; half in one direction away from transition in shade, and the other half in the other direction from transition and no protection from the sun.  It’s the latter half of the run that often wears down runners.  Whereas other Olympic distance events offer different terrain challenges that are better or worse, most of the ones that I have done are typically faster courses at least with respect to my measurement of performance over multiple years.

Third, I’ve been inundated with a new work life and some other life challenges.  I tend to prefer to sleep more and train less so that I can be energetically refreshed for the toils of each day.  I know, however, that I could put in proper run and swim training, so there’s some measure of guilt for not having done so.

In any event, I enjoyed this race a lot.  I know the course well, the bike course suited me very well and I seemed to easily pass most other athletes in my area, and I overcame some dark times while on the run as I finished with a negative split and my last mile being my fastest.  I got to see and hang with good friends Anthony (who shared a car ride and hotel room with me), and Jessica and her husband Eric.  I felt no pressure and smiled a lot at how lucky I was to be able to do this, how great the weather was treating us, and how this would be a great wake-up call for the next set of training that I will have to do.

Next up is a series of four triathlons in four weekends starting with the Montauk Lighthouse Triathlon on July 17th.  I’ve done well in this event in the past as the bike course favors my skills, so it’ll be up to me to replicate past performances and hopefully run well off the bike.  Then there’s the NYC Triathlon, the Central Park Triathlon, and the Staten Island Triathlon.  I will have also begun NYC Marathon training, so I suspect the run portion will become an asset instead of being my liability.  The swim… well who knows.  Fortunately, that’s the shortest leg and the one least likely to ruin my day.




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