What a great weekend to be out doing something you enjoy. The bride and I drove up to Philly on Saturday afternoon. I-95 was actually pleasant without much traffic. The only traffic issue we had was at the Harbor Tunnel in Baltimore. However, that did not add much time to the trip. We arrived at our friend’s (The Organizer and her boyfriend the Drug Pusher) house a little after 3.
We all went to packet pickup, which was very well organized. The Organizer saw some of her friends and they chatted for while. The Drug Pusher took us on a trip around the racecourse for about an hour. It is always good to do a recon of the course. However, most of the west side of the course was not assessable by car.
After the abbreviated recon, it was back to the Casa while the girls and the Pusher had some drinks. I organized my stuff and finally had a beer. The Organizer made a great pasta meal and I finally turned in about 9pm.
I was up at 0430 on race day. The Pusher was nice enough to drive me to the race site, even though it was less than two miles away. Setting up transition was easy—plenty of room for the bike and my gear. I hopped on a bus about 0545 for the trip to St. Joe’s Boat House. After arrival, I did a few minutes of warm up swimming in the river and then it was back on land to wait. The announced water temperature was 75 degree, but I opted swim with a wetsuit.
My wave went off at 0725. The first 250-300 meters were fairly physical, but nothing out of the ordinary. The swim was point to point from St Joe’s Boathouse to a small beach at the transition area. After finding open water, I settled into a nice rhythm and was very comfortable. After I swam under the bridge, I started looking for the swim exit. I could see the balloon arch off to my right and what I thought was the final buoy. I started swimming at an angle to hit the buoy and make a hard right to the exit. Guess what—it wasn’t the last buoy. I started hearing some yelling and slapping, so I looked up. A kind volunteer was telling me that I was going the wrong way. I swam back out and finally made the turn at the correct buoy. I exited the water, looked at my watch and saw 31:09. Damn!!! I would have broken 30 minutes if I had stayed on course.
I took my time in T1 to get my HR down. Then I was out on the bike. The first mile or so was nice and flat. I looked down and realized I was doing around 19.5mph. Heart rate was good and I did not feel like I was pushing to hard. It was up a ramp on the road, up a small hill, down a small hill and then started up a longer harder hill. I have done harder hills and longer hills but this hill sucked. Must have something to do with having ridden only about 100miles in the last month. I think I average about 3.5 mph going up the hill. Then back on flat ground, around an old mansion, which looked like it is now a hostel. Then came the fun part, a nice fast down hill. Zooooooooooom!!! I am smoking now. Back on flat ground and I am averaging around 20 mph. Feeling good, not breathing hard, and enjoying the overcast morning. Across a bridge and through a construction site on the road, up a longer hill, but it did not hurt me as much as the previous hill. Again the down hill was a lot of fun. I had been dreading Lemon Hill, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as I had been anticipating. Another down hill and around the Museum of Art where I waved at the bride. The second lap was very similar to the first, with the exception of throwing my chain on the big hill. I put the chain back on and then just walked my bike to the top. There was no way, that I was going to start peddling again on that hill.
I came off the bike, into transition, and was off again on the run. I don’t remember much about the first 4 miles of the run. I cramped a couple of times, but around mile 4 I just ran out of juice. I do remember the Drug Pusher running out on the course and asking me if I needed anything. I thought he was a volunteer and started to ask myself if I really looked that bad. Another mile and I was across the finish line.
The coup de grace was going to Pats for a cheesesteak following the race—Provolone, Whiz, Wit. If you have to ask, then you don’t know. LOL
Photo Courtesy of DC Rainmaker