Heavy rain and winds on Saturday caused high flow rates and abundant debris in the Schuykill River in Philadelphia, making it unsafe to hold the swim portion of the Philadelphia Escape Triathlon. While I was disappointed at first, since I wanted to show my progress in the swim and gain more experience in pack swimming, the change suited me, as swimming is my weakest discipline. The format was 2.1mi run- 40k bike- 4.2mi run. The key in my mind was keeping contact with the front of the race and keeping the leaders in sight, but I knew the run pace would be fast on that first run, which meant that a good warm up was key!! Typically, I barely warm up for triathlon, except a light 5min jog and a swim if possible. But starting with a fast run changes everything. I jogged for 10min, did drills and lunges, then a 3min tempo, then 4 striders and jumps on the line. I decided it wasn’t worth staying with the leaders if it required red-lining that early in the race. I thought of it as “5k pace.” I always find myself so disoriented in the swim, so I appreciated the fact that the run-bike-run allows you to know where you are at.
The pace was fast indeed, but I was able to keep the 2 leaders in site about 25 seconds ahead at T1, running with fellow New York triathlete, Laurel Wassner. We hopped on to our bikes and headed out along MLK drive with 2 other riders close behind. Before long we were a pack of 4, trying to avoid drafting each other but riding about the same speed. The 2 loop bike course features 4 technical climbs and descents interspersed with flat sections on the drives.
It was USAT rules, so I tried hard to maintain the “stagger” between athletes and multiple times in the race, I put out huge efforts to surge in front of the group in order to avoid a drafting penalty. I kept thinking one of the 4 of us was going to get a penalty, and I really didn’t want it to be me! With 8 miles to go, I put in a big effort, standing out of the saddle up a hill to get away from the other female pros as well as some age groupers who we were riding amongst. I looked back a mile or so later and didn’t see the others any longer. It turns out luck was on my side this time, and while I avoided a drafting penalties, the other three girls did receive a minute penalty each. I entered the run with over about a minute advantage on 3rd place and about 1min 30sec behind first place.
I focused on form and turnover, hoping I could hold my lead and secure the podium. As a Philly native, I had many hometown supporters, so I felt the love on course and also had my boyfriend shouting splits at me, so I was well informed. I entered the finishing chute with a good margin and smiled big.
Was very pleased to share the podium with these ladies and enjoyed a delicious post race food buffet catered by Philly local Winnie’s. Also was able to catch up with old friends like this one!