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Philadelphia Triathlon in Fairmount Park - Sprint Distance - TriathlonSprint

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Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
United States
Philadelphia Triathlon, LLC
Total Time = 1h 55m 57s
Overall Rank = 625/1083
Age Group = 25-29
Age Group Rank = 41/95
Pre-race routine:

I had a short day at work so Steve and I drove up mid afternoon on Friday. We were expecting the traffic to be light, but a two hour trip up to Philly took us four hours.. yikes. I went to pick up my packet at the expo then checked into the hotel. I got a feel for where we needed to park on Saturday morning and we drove past the transition area as well. It was nice to see the layout of everything the day before so I knew what to expect.

We went back to the hotel, checked in, decided to bring our bikes in to the hotel with us since the area was interesting. Steve didn't race, but he brought his mountain bike so he could get around easier and spectate.

We went to TGIFridays for dinner and ate around 8:00. Evidently that's the place to go on Friday nights and it was crowded and loud..definitely a fun pre-race dinner. I had some fried macaroni and cheese (couldn't resist.. I love that stuff!) some pasta with salmon, and a Sam Adams. The pre-race meal of champions :)

Once we got back from dinner, I made sure I had everything packed for the next day. Laid out each transition and then packed everything into my bag.

I went to bed around 9:30 and slept fairly well. Woke up to the cell phone alarm at 4:20 (good thing I set it because the hotel was supposed to give us a wakeup call at 4:15.) We wound up getting the hotel room for free (saved $177!!) because they have a guaranteed wake up call policy.

I made some peanut butter and banana sandwiches, grabbed my stuff, and we headed out the door. The morning was smooth and uneventful since I had everything ready to go. We were out the door by 5:15.

Got a great parking spot, inflated my tires, and talked to the guy next to us for a bit. He just decided to sign up a few weeks ago and really didn't know anything about tris. He was awesome. I wish I knew how he did. He had a great attitude!

Event warmup:

I got to the transition area a few minutes before it opened at 6:00. Got marked, found my rack, and set everything up. The person at the end of our rack brought a spider man helium balloon so it was really easy to find during transitions.

After I got everything ready, I ate my sandwich, hung out with Steve, walked down to the swim start and exit, familiarized myself with the transition area and felt ready to go.

I got my wetsuit on around 7:30 and headed down to the swim start. I was in the first wave. I swam around for a bit in the water and everything felt good. I was feeling a little nervous, but not too bad at all. I was ready!
  • 24m 30s
  • 984 yards
  • 02m 29s / 100 yards

Whew.. the swim. Well I was 82nd out of 95 in my age group so that's a good indication of how the swim went :) I felt FINE in the water when I was warming up and when we were out there waiting for the race to start. Once we started though I couldn't breathe at all. It was horrible. I tried swimming the front crawl and couldn't breathe, breast stroke was not much better and it was tiring my arms out. I went into survival mode, flipped over on my back, and started backstroking. I made it to the first bouy and kept at it.

People that I have talked to say I must have had a panic attack. I'm not sure if that's what it was or not. I've never had a panic attack before. I couldn't breathe. It felt like my mind and my body were not working together. My mind was calm the whole time and I think that was a good thing because I probably would have had to be pulled from the water if I was mentally AND physically freaking out. It's just that my heart rate and breathing were crazy and I couldn't get it under control. There was NO WAY I was going to quit though so mentally I did something right and kept myself moving. My body just freaked out.

I used the backstroke for a bit, flip over to see where I was, then backstroke method until I reached each of the bouys. It took me a while, but I made it through the swim. I was still trying to catch my breath and get over the trauma of being in the water so I walked to my bike instead of running. It helped me calm the heck down.
What would you do differently?:

Not freak out! :) I'm confident that this will get better with practice so I'm not too discouraged. I need to be in the water at least three times a week and I haven't been doing that. My parents live within walking distance of a river where I can get OWS practice in. I'll work to make sure I am stronger and calmer in the water so this doesn't happen again.
Transition 1
  • 03m 52s

This wasn't so bad for my first effort. I would have saved a good bit of time if I actually ran to my bike, but I needed to calm down. I got my wetsuit off OK and unfortunately had to put socks on because of my blistered feet. Got my helmet and my sunglasses on OK. Once I put my bike shoes on, I felt something weird near my toe, thought it was my sock bunched up but it wound up being chapstick....grrr. Had to take my shoe off, dump the chapstick out, and put the shoe back on.
What would you do differently?:

Run to the bike, not put socks on, not have chapstick in my shoe, and just practice T1 more. I don't think I did too bad, even though the time was pretty slow. It was my first one and I made some rookie mistakes.
  • 58m 21s
  • 14.91 miles
  • 15.33 mile/hr

This was my 2nd longest ride to date on my road bike and the first time I was clipped in for that long. My confidence on the downhills is getting a lot better, but I am still having problems with cornering. That'll come with practice. Like the swimiming, I haven't been putting a dedicated effort into biking and I need to make sure I get out on the bike at least 3 times each week. On the results, my average pace is 16.2 so I'm not sure if the course mileage was longer than advertised?? I really enjoyed myself out on the bike course... loved it.

Steve was there to take pictures and I passed him a few times. This was a very spectator friendly course. Also, he made some friends with other spectators and I heard someone yell.. "go Traci!!" while I was at one of the turn arounds. That was awesome. Another woman out there on the course told me I was looking good...very encouraging.
What would you do differently?:

Get my butt out on the bike so I'm not a biking weenie :)
Transition 2
  • 02m 22s

I unclipped and ran my bike to the rack. I was looking forward to the run. I had some difficulty getting my bike back on the rack and had to spend some time tying my shoes.
What would you do differently?:

Get some of those laces that I don't have to tie, learn to rack my bike quickly, run faster!! Overall though I felt this transition went pretty well.
  • 26m 50s
  • 3.11 miles
  • 08m 38s  min/mile

I was happy to be running, but I was tired. I thought the run course was kind of boring, but it was flat so who cares? :) My legs were very tired, but I was able to pick off 4 or 5 people in my age group on the run. Steve biked the path following the run course and gave me some encouragement and took pictures while I was out there.
What would you do differently?:

ohhhh.. do some bricks. That would help.
Post race
Warm down:

Crossed the finish line (they announced my name as I was coming across and that was AWESOME!!) got my medal, and went to find Steve. I was feeling a little dizzy at this point and had to sit down under a tree for a bit. Rested there for a while then got up to find the food. Ate a veggie sub & a banana and I started to feel a lot better.

I think I need to reconsider whether I should take in nutrition during races that are around 2ish hours. The half marathon I felt the same way at the finish and felt a little dizzy until I got some food. I'm not sure if it's normal to feel that way after a race or whether I'm doing something wrong. I figure I should feel tired after a race, but it kind of freaks me out that I am dizzy to the point of needing to sit down... who knows.. I haven't passed out yet :)

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Not enough effort put into swim and bike training. I love to run and have been focusing my efforts on that. If I want to be a better triathlete, I am going to have to put effort into all three sports.

My little freak out in the water also limited my ability :)

This was my first triathlon so I learned what I need to work on.

Event comments:

I loved this race and really enjoyed my experience. For my first race, it was a big one, and that was kind of overwhelming and also exciting. They had 10 waves and over 1000 people. I think at my first 5k there were 150 people there.

I can't wait to start working on the swim and bike with renewed focus and effort. I really want to improve in this sport. I just started running a little more than a year ago, my first few times on a road bike (in December!!) were a disaster and I couldn't even bring myself to put both feet on the pedals (I'd just push myself a long with one foot.. yup it was that bad and I have a lovely video of it.)

I am officially hooked and can't wait to race again.. whoo! I've come a long way from the comfort of team sports and consistent coaching to trying something new and on my own. I loved it.

Last updated: 2008-04-30 12:00 AM
00:24:30 | 984 yards | 02m 29s / 100yards
Age Group: 82/95
Overall: 95/1083
Performance: Bad
Suit: Blue Seventy Energie - full
Course: Up stream, under a bridge, two right turns, back under the bridge, down stream, then across the river to the swim finish.
Start type: Deep Water Plus:
Water temp: 73F / 23C Current: Low
200M Perf. Bad Remainder: Below average
Breathing: Below average Drafting: Bad
Waves: Navigation: Average
Rounding: Average
Time: 03:52
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Average Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Yes Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Average
00:58:21 | 14.91 miles | 15.33 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/95
Overall: 0/1083
Performance: Average
Wind: None
Course: Two loops through Fairmont Park. There were two places where we had to slow down considerably and make a sharp turn so we had to slow down and turn a total of 4 times. The course had one hill I considered tough, but other than that it was a great course with a mix of flats, downhill, and some slight uphills.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence:
Turns: Below average Cornering: Below average
Gear changes: Below average Hills: Average
Race pace: Hard Drinks:
Time: 02:22
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike Good
Racking bike Below average
Shoe and helmet removal Good
00:26:50 | 03.11 miles | 08m 38s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/95
Overall: 0/1083
Performance: Average
Course: Out and back along the river. The course was nice and flat.
Keeping cool Average Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 4

2008-06-22 8:34 AM

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Olney, MD
Subject: Philadelphia Triathlon in Fairmount Park - Sprint Distance

2008-06-22 8:48 AM
in reply to: #1480813

Subject: RE: Philadelphia Triathlon in Fairmount Park - Sprint Distance
Congrats - way to finish! Seems like this weekend was an unlucky racing weekend Chapstick in shoes, lost timing chips, etc. I would have killed for your flat run course. But the only goal for your first race should be to finish and you did! Great bike time AND great run time and your ranking is nothing to sniff at either! The swimming will come - I will totally drive to MD to get in some OWS practice with you (and smack you around to simlulate race conditions  - j/k)! And you should def. join me on weekend bike rides, if you can - that will get us some serious mileage; I need it desperately, too!
2008-06-22 1:28 PM
in reply to: #1480813

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Subject: RE: Philadelphia Triathlon in Fairmount Park - Sprint Distance
Hey, great job getting through that swim! Last year I did the sprint and although in the pool I'm a strong enough swimmer, I freaked in the water and resorted to alot of backstroke. Just know that it gets alot better with some OW practice.

2008-06-22 2:31 PM
in reply to: #1480813

Subject: RE: Philadelphia Triathlon in Fairmount Park - Sprint Distance
Great first race...glad my speidy balloon helped you in transition! haha

Don't worry about your swim, everyone freaks out a little during their first race. Also, consider taking gels on the bike during the short races. Those extra calories go a long way to help your energy levels during the run.
2008-06-22 6:25 PM
in reply to: #1480813

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Glen Mills, PA
Subject: RE: Philadelphia Triathlon in Fairmount Park - Sprint Distance
Nice job! I experienced the same in the swim portion and this wasn't my first tri. (first one was 4 weeks ago in the 55 degree VERY COLD ocean...that was bad enough) I thought the warm water and calm conditions were going to be a win for me. I started out strong, felt good but got into some traffic with other swimmers and had to side stroke for 300m+ just to get my heart rate under control. It also felt as if my wetsuit was strangling me...I literally wanted to unzip it to get some pressure off my neck/chest. Very strange. Friend said it might have been the warm water. If what I had was a panic attack I don't want another one.

Keep working hard!

2008-06-22 8:00 PM
in reply to: #1480813

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Robbinsville NJ
Subject: RE: Philadelphia Triathlon in Fairmount Park - Sprint Distance
Great job. Had the same thing happen to me on my 1st swim The good news is I just finished my 2nd and the swim felt a lot better even if the results weren't.

2008-06-22 8:01 PM
in reply to: #1480813

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far northern CA
Subject: RE: Philadelphia Triathlon in Fairmount Park - Sprint Distance
Nice job!!!  Swimming in a group of people is hard.  I know how you feel.  Just keep practicing!  You did great for your first tri!  Congrats!  Oh, and good job getting a free room!
2008-06-22 9:05 PM
in reply to: #1480813

Iron Donkey
, Wisconsin
Subject: RE: Philadelphia Triathlon in Fairmount Park - Sprint Distance

Hey, Weenie - get your biking in gear!

You're hooked now!  Great job!

2008-06-23 9:41 AM
in reply to: #1480813

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Extreme Veteran
Toledo, Ohio
Subject: RE: Philadelphia Triathlon in Fairmount Park - Sprint Distance
Great job with your first tri! Way to stay focused and pull through the tough parts. Your ideas for future practice/training sound great... keep up the good work!
2008-06-23 12:48 PM
in reply to: #1482953

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Sin City
Subject: RE: Philadelphia Triathlon in Fairmount Park - Sprint Distance

Great job on the race!  I think you noticed a LOT of things that all of us do, and had a lot of the same questions AND had a lot of the correct solutions!

Good for you!  Make sure you ask any questions about this on the mentor page!

2008-06-23 1:29 PM
in reply to: #1480813

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Quebec city
Subject: RE: Philadelphia Triathlon in Fairmount Park - Sprint Distance

Chapstick isn't supposed to go on your toes!


Seriously, great race! You didn't give up and that's what I liked in your RR.  You have a positive attitude, and with a little more training and experience you'll do amazingly good!

PS: Was I right about your finishing % ?

2008-06-23 2:03 PM
in reply to: #1480813

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Hingham, Ma
Subject: RE: Philadelphia Triathlon in Fairmount Park - Sprint Distance
Nice job.  OWS will get better.   Take it from someone who did breaststroke for 2/3s of his first tri.  You should be very proud of yourself.  Keep it up.
2008-06-23 2:59 PM
in reply to: #1483760

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Olney, MD
Subject: RE: Philadelphia Triathlon in Fairmount Park - Sprint Distance
steve8 - 2008-06-23 2:29 PM

PS: Was I right about your finishing % ?

Very close... the chapstick ruined it though


2008-06-23 8:40 PM
in reply to: #1480813

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Subject: RE: Philadelphia Triathlon in Fairmount Park - Sprint Distance
Congrats to you as well....
2008-06-23 9:01 PM
in reply to: #1480813

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Subject: RE: Philadelphia Triathlon in Fairmount Park - Sprint Distance
traci, great job with this tri!!!  the first swim is ALWAYS disconcerting, with practice you will get it under control, especially now that you know what it's like!!!  glad you are newly motivated to kick some butt, great job and keep it up!
2008-06-29 11:32 AM
in reply to: #1485046

South Jersey
Subject: RE: Philadelphia Triathlon in Fairmount Park - Sprint Distance
Yay! Congratulations on your first tri! You did great out there. And good job surviving the swim. I think you have a very successful tri career ahead of you! And, Steve was an awesome spectator !

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