Monday, June 27, 2011

Crossing the Finish Line of Philly Tri

I survived my first Philadelphia Insurance Triathlon (PHLY Tri) on Saturday! I participated in the sprint distance which included the following; half mile swim, 15.5 mile bike ride, 5K run.  Crossing the finish line was such a big accomplishment for me because this was only my second triathlon ever! The feeling of crossing the finish line and hearing the announcer say my name was so amazing.  What made it even more exciting for me is that I had a group of loved ones at the finish line waiting for me and cheering me on!
Thanks to my parents and my boyfriend, I have some great photos of myself throughout the entire race.  Below are some action shots of me swimming, biking and running.

Saturday's challenge began well before I heard the blow horn at the swim start.  It all started at 5:10 am when I heard my alarm go off! It was time to get ready for the race.  I already had my bag packed the night before with all of my equipment needed.  I put on my one-piece Zoot tri suite, body glide and of course some SPF and I was almost ready to go.

My friend Casey, who is also my boyfriend's cousin, also was participating in the race. She arrived at 5:30 so that we could put our bikes on my car's bike rack and head to the start. 
Loading up the bikes for the race!
The transition area of the race was located in Fairmount Park near Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.  We had to park near the Please Touch Museum and then go down the steep hill of Black Road. Casey and I rode our bikes most of the way and then walked to the entrance of the transition area.  We got body marked with our race numbers and our age was written on our right calf.  This is so that the officials of the race can easily identify what wave you belong in.  Casey and I were both in the Female 25-29 heat along with 68 other women. 

Before the start at the transition area
The first portion of the race was the half mile swim in the Schylkill River.  It was an in-water-start whith means you had to tread water for about 5 minutes before the swim began.  Below is the heat that I was in with red caps. 

I'm one of the swimmers in the water with a red swim cap

Completed the swim! I'm the one in the blue top.

Crossing over the timing mats into the transition area
 In the transition area I was getting ready for the bike ride.  I dried off my feet and put socks, cycle shoes, helmet and sunglasses on and I was ready to ride 15.5 miles in the second leg of the event.  We had to complete two loops of the bike course.  That also meant that I had to face each hill twice.  The course had two major hills in it that made it challanging.

Coming around the tour to do my second loop on the bike
Leaving transition #2 off to run
Running was the most challanging pat of the tri and I thought I was going to really kick asphault for the 5K. Well it was the slowest run I have ever had. 

Still smiling crossing the finish line
Moments after crossing the finish line

Casey and I both made it to the finish line

Finisher's medal features Cit Hall, Liberty Bell and Rocky

Now just because I finished doesn't mean that I didn't face many challenges along the course.  I can honestly say that the run portion was my worst 5K run ever! As soon as I started running I felt the worst cramps in the muscles inside of both my knees.  Both legs were cramping up because transitioning from bike to running is no easy task. Even athletes that are in tip top shape commonly will cramp up at this time during at triathlon.   I even had to walk a little bit because my legs just weren't moving the way I would have liked.  Luckily at the rest stop there were ice cold towels being given out so I wrapped one around each of my knees hoping to just shock the muscle and trick them into moving faster for me.  Well, that kind of helped but what really was so helpful was this angle of a volunteer that I met at the water stop.  A women who was volunteering at the water station saw I was in pain and approached me telling me she was a nurse and she can help massage the muscles to help relive the cramps.  That 30 second massage was exactly what I needed. It did help the pain and relieved my muscles  just enough so that I could pick up the pace to a light jog and then ran through the finish line.  I refused to walk to the finish line after having such a great swim and bike ride. 

My splits for the race were the following:
Swim - 20:46
Bike - 1:10:00
Run - 48:42
Final: 2:25:44

Since this was my first time doing the PHLY Tri I didn't have a time to beat but I knew that I wanted to complete it in no longer than two and a half hours.  Well I did just that, I came in at 2:25:44.  If it wasn't for my legs cramping up during the run I would have finished at least 15 minutes earlier but those are things that can just happen no matter how much you train.  I was just glad that I didn't have any serious injuries and I still had a smile on my face when I crossed the finish line!

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations! That's an amazing physical feat.