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Philadelphia Insurance Triathlon - Olympic Race - Duathlon

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Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
United States
Philadelphia Triathlon, LLC
90F / 32C
Total Time = 3h 07m 38s
Overall Rank = 1262/1820
Age Group = Clydesdale
Age Group Rank = 49/78
Pre-race routine:

Found out the night before that one triathlete from Saturday's sprint race never made it out of the water. A search operation was underway and I could only hope that there was some kind of mistake. The tragic news was confirmed on Sunday that a 40-year-old father of 2 perished in the Schuylkill River. Because the search operation was still underway on Sunday morning, the swim leg of the Olympic race was cancelled and we would be doing a duathlon. It was a very surreal experience. My thoughts and prayers go out to Derek Valentino's family.

OK... now on to the race report...
Had the alarm set for 4:30am, but woke up about 20 minutes before then. Got up, had a bowl of oatmeal with PB and bananas. Stopped on the way there to get a cup of coffee. Got to the race site at around 5:30, parked and grabbed all my gear for the 1/2 mile walk to the transition area. It was as I was approaching transition that I heard the race had been switched to a duathlon because of the search operation taking place in the Schuylkill.

Met up with my friend Joe from work and we chatted for a bit while I set up transition. Drank lots of water because it was hot already. I'd say it was at least 80 degrees at the time the race started and over 90 by the finish.
Event warmup:

Did some light stretching, drank water and gatorade.
  • 26m 43s
  • 3.1 miles
  • 08m 37s  min/mile

I've never run a duathlon, so I wasn't sure how to pace myself on the first run. Decided to go pretty hard and then I could recover on the first part of the bike. Lo and behold, I set a PR for a 5k. While I was very psyched about that, I was also very hot and pretty spent. When I got into transition, I guzzled a bottle of gatorade.
What would you do differently?:

Take it easy for the first 5k of a duathlon.
Transition 1
  • 02m 39s

I knew I was going to struggle the rest of the race based on my effort on the first run, so I drank a bottle of gatorade. I'm happy with the T1 time though and this is actually one of my best T1 times I've ever had. One problem though was that I forgot to take the Enduralyte pills that I brought. That would come back to haunt me later.
What would you do differently?:

Take Enduralytes...
  • 1h 24m 38s
  • 24.85 miles
  • 17.62 mile/hr

Once I got on the bike, I planned to go slow to let my legs recover from the run. There's a nice stretch of flat road at the beginning so I was able to do that. Pretty soon, I was feeling good and started to push my effort. When I hit the first big hill, I realized my legs weren't as recovered as I thought they were.

First you head up to an overpass which is a moderate incline, then go over the overpass, which is flat, and then hit a very steep hill. Some bikers were walking their bikes up that hill. I went into the highest gear and was out of the saddle. That was a struggle.

Once at the top of that hill, there is a bottle exchange followed by a good, long stretch of downhill. Coming down the hill and over the overpass, you can really fly. I was at 40mph at that spot, but there were a lot of bikers out there, so you had to keep your hands on the breaks most of the time.

Toward the end of the loop, there is a big downhill with a sharp right turn at the bottom. There were a couple crashes there. They really need to put some bales of hay there. I heard some of the crashes were pretty bad.

Second loop was uneventful. I pushed myself a little harder and hammered the hills a little more. My conditioning felt good, but it was just freeeeeaking HOT out there. By the end of the bike, it was easily 90. My calves were starting to cramp up whenever I was cranking up a hill, so I continued to drink loads of gatorade and water.

Overall, I'm very pleased with my bike ride. I averaged 17.6 mph, which is about 1 mph better than my average speed last year... and after a run rather than a swim. And throughout the bike ride, I just kept thinking that I was going to take what the day gave me. I knew I was probably going to blow up on the 10k run, but I would just push it until my body said, "NO MAS!"
What would you do differently?:

Nothing really.
Transition 2
  • 03m 28s

Not a bad T2 time for me. My calves were pretty cramped up, so that made getting my running shoes on a chore. I had forgotten to take my Enduralyte pills at T1 and that was the reason for my cramping. So I took them in T2... but I had them in a little baggie that was taped shut and I felt like it took me a minute just to get them out of there. I ended up getting 3 of them down and then got out on the run. Walked out of T2.
What would you do differently?:

Not forget to take Enduralytes in T1. HTFU.
  • 1h 10m 8s
  • 6.21 miles
  • 11m 17s  min/mile

HOT! HOT! HOT! With the leg cramps, I was taking it pretty slow. I walked out of transition and a few hundred yards after that. I then jogged for about a mile. I kept making little deals with myself... "If you can make it to that bridge up there, then you can walk for a minute"

I was probably jogging for about 1/2 mile and then walking for a couple hundred yards. Continued this for the first 3-4 miles. Chatted with some people on the course. I wasn't upset because it was just so d@mn hot out, there was nothing I could do about it.

There were people on the sides of the road being tended to by paramedics with IV's. I came to the conclusion that I would "live to fight another day". At about mile 4.5, I met up with a fraternity brother of mine from college that I hadn't seen in 15+ years. We chatted for a bit and motivated eachother to keep running.

Finally at about mile 5, they started handing out ice. WHAT A CONCEPT!!! I put some in my hat, rubbed some on the back of my neck and chewed on some. I immediately felt better. Jogged the rest of the way, only slowing to a walk at the last aid station to get a drink and an ice cold towel on my neck.

Jogged across the finish line with a smile on my face knowing I gave it everything I had. Got my medal and headed to the food. I know I hydrated perfectly because I had to head over to the port-a-potty for a wee-wee right after the finish.
What would you do differently?:

Not much. If I pushed it any harder, I probably would have done some damage to myself. I'm very sore today and it's a long season... as I said... "WE LIVE TO FIGHT ANOTHER DAY!"
Post race
Warm down:

Chugged some chocolate recovery drink that was fantastic. Had a turkey hoagie and a couple bottles of water. My family wasn't able to make it to this race, so I sat down in the transition area and had a little picnic. I thought about the triathlete that lost his life the day before and that has really affected me.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

HEAT AND HUMIDITY - I know the humidity was about 90%... when I got in my car to drive home, the external temperature was registering 93 degrees and I was parked in the shade. About 20 minutes after I crossed the finish line, they closed the course. There was some speculation that they closed it early due to the heat and humidity.

Event comments:

This is an outstanding race and I only hope the tragedy from the sprint race will not tarnish its image. There are so many volunteers it almost seems like they outnumber the number of athletes. Even though the race was switched from a Tri to a Du, everything ran like clockwork. There were plenty of aid stations. My only comment would be that all the aid stations should have had ice. I think I may have been able to finish stronger if I would have been able to cool my body temp. There's only so much you can do pouring warm water on your head. I will sign up for this race again next year... it is a world-class event on a great & challenging course.

Last updated: 2009-10-05 12:00 AM
00:26:43 | 03.1 miles | 08m 37s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/78
Overall: 1238/1820
Course: Flat out and back along the Schuylkill River. Mostly unshaded. Very hot
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Time: 02:39
Overall: Average
Run with bike? Average
Jump on bike? Below average
Getting up to speed and into shoes: Good
01:24:38 | 24.85 miles | 17.62 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/78
Overall: 1224/1820
Performance: Good
Wind: Some
Course: Two loops with a couple very tough hills. The road was in pretty good condition except for a few spots. When you enter the road in between the Schuylkill River and the Schuylkill Expressway, there are a few HUGE bumps that can almost knock you off your bike.
Road: Rough  Cadence:
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Average
Race pace: Hard Drinks: Just right
Time: 03:28
Overall: Average
Riding w/ feet on shoes Bad
Jumping off bike Average
Running with bike Average
Racking bike Average
Shoe and helmet removal Good
01:10:08 | 06.21 miles | 11m 17s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/78
Overall: 1401/1820
Performance: Below average
Course: Flat course. First couple of miles are somewhat shaded. Last 4 miles are no shade whatsoever. Plenty of aid stations, but no ice at the aid stations until mile 5, which was kinda dumb on such a hot day.
Keeping cool Below average Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 3
Good race? Ok
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] 5

2010-06-28 8:34 AM

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West Grove, PA
Subject: Philadelphia Insurance Triathlon - Olympic Race

2010-06-28 8:44 AM
in reply to: #2947687

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Subject: RE: Philadelphia Insurance Triathlon - Olympic Race
Way to get through all that heat and adversity.  What a tragedy.  Stay safe out there.
2010-06-28 9:04 AM
in reply to: #2947687

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Midcoast Maine
Subject: RE: Philadelphia Insurance Triathlon - Olympic Race
You did a wonderful job on the race! Staying cool is such a challenge. I don't know if I could function in that high of heat!

So sorry about the lost swimmer. It sounds like it is a really well run race series - hope it continues on. It makes me want to insist that the family spectates at all my events...but I know that is asking a lot.

2010-06-28 9:05 AM
in reply to: #2947687

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Extreme Veteran
Pauls Valley, OK
Subject: RE: Philadelphia Insurance Triathlon - Olympic Race
Congrats on the 5K PR!  That's sounds like a heavy race to put everything in perspective.
2010-06-28 9:54 AM
in reply to: #2947687

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Frisco, TX
Subject: RE: Philadelphia Insurance Triathlon - Olympic Race

Guess all the angst over the OWS was for naught.  It is terrible news to hear of an athlete dying during triathlon...  On to your race though - nice PR on the 5k and way to hammer the bike!  Way to keep moving in the heat and humidity on the last run!  We have all been to the "deal-maker" stage before...  Great job!

2010-06-28 12:52 PM
in reply to: #2947687

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Subject: RE: Philadelphia Insurance Triathlon - Olympic Race

That is so sad about the lost swimmer, hard to believe really. 

I thought your race results were extremely good considering the heat and humidity levels.  Great job managing what the day gave you both emotionally and physically.

2010-06-28 2:41 PM
in reply to: #2947687


Subject: RE: Philadelphia Insurance Triathlon - Olympic Race
Your splits mirror mine almost exactly!  This was to be my first olympic distance tri (and second tri overall), but alas that was not to be.  I agree 100% that ice or ice water would have helped tremendously.  I just couldn't keep cool on the second run and every time I stopped walking and started running again my heart rate would spike to some ungodly number (about 192-197!).  I only realized that after the fact when I uploaded my Garmin info.  I loved the bike course though (even though in normal circumstances biking is my slowed discipline.  

Thanks for the report! 
2010-06-28 6:10 PM
in reply to: #2947687

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Subject: RE: Philadelphia Insurance Triathlon - Olympic Race
Great race Report, Bill.

5k PB...Gotta like it!! 
2010-06-29 11:50 AM
in reply to: #2947687

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Subject: RE: Philadelphia Insurance Triathlon - Olympic Race
RIP Derek Valentino, sad to hear that.

Great job on your race!  Congrats on the 5K PR.    Nice job being able to manage the change of venue.
2010-06-29 5:07 PM
in reply to: #2947687

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Extreme Veteran
Sea Isle City, NJ
Subject: RE: Philadelphia Insurance Triathlon - Olympic Race
Congrats Bill on finishing strong on a tough tough day out there! Go PTC!
2010-06-29 5:43 PM
in reply to: #2947687

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Collegeville, PA
Subject: RE: Philadelphia Insurance Triathlon - Olympic Race
Great work!  Nice job PRing on the 5k - that's impressive given the conditions.

2010-07-05 8:29 PM
in reply to: #2947687

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East Side of the Bay
Subject: RE: Philadelphia Insurance Triathlon - Olympic Race
Congrats on your first DU and being able to PR when you thought you would be swimming. Strong work handling the heat!!
2010-07-05 11:11 PM
in reply to: #2947687

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Subject: RE: Philadelphia Insurance Triathlon - Olympic Race
fack du's but well done
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