2012 SheROX Triathlon Philly Recap
Indeed this is a year of firsts.
On Sunday, August 5th, I successfully completed my first Triathlon; the Toyota SheROX Sprint Triathlon. The event was held in Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park, Martin Luther King Blvd at Black Road. The triathlon raises funds and awareness for the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund via Team Hope.
This day was the culmination of months of training and I could not have asked for a better event. When I registered for the Triathlon, running was the only sport in which I had any competency. As for cycling and swimming, I put both of these sports into the ‘Needs Improvement” category. Indeed, in order to safely complete this triathlon, I had to relearn the basics of swimming and cycling.
Not only did I have to build competency in swimming and cycling, I had to learn the vocabulary of triathlon – laps vs length, transition time, floating start, wetsuit legal, drafting, and so on. It has been an amazing learning curve these past few months.
Two reasons why I signed up for this triathlon. 1. To add additional cross training to my running plan. I am scheduled to complete a full marathon in November and wanted add a solid cross training platform to my training. 2. I like a physical challenge and this event pushed that button. Little did I know what a world of work I stepped into with this challenge; yet at the same time I’m quite proud of myself for sticking with the training and completing the Triathlon safely.
Would I do this again? Absolutely and plan to PR as well. If you are a woman looking to jump into triathlons, SheROX triathlons are a great place to start. Their mentor program gives guidance and crucial training to help make this event a positive experience. I signed up for the Mentor program and found it gave me quality information and skills to improve my swimming and cycling. Also, I was able to meet representatives from local Tri groups and now have a larger resource of training options. A win/win situation all around.
Combined time: 02:15:17 —-> Much room for improvement.
As I write this post, I have not received any breakdown of the combined time.
Some quick thoughts and experiences from each part of the Triathlon:
- This was the event that had me hiding my tears in a port a potty prior to the start. I had no idea how I was going to manage this swim in open water – honestly, it scared the heck out of me.
- I chose not to tread water while waiting for the start of the wave instead I waited on the beach. Once we started I found the water as warm as the therapy pool where I trained for this event.
- First 150 meters were difficult and I adapted my swimming accordingly – basically flipping over into a backstroke until the crowd moved on.
- Once the crowd thinned out and I calmed down, I was able to alternate free style strokes and breast strokes.
- I stayed so close to the buoys that I actually swam headfirst into one of them. Thank goodness it was an inflatable buoy or my triathlon would have had a radically different ending.
- Unfortunately, I did ingest some Schuylkill ’juice’.
- I did not drown and completed the entire swim without stopping or asking for help. I am confident that with more open water practice I can improve my swim skills and shorten my swim time.
- Miscounted the rows and found myself lost in transition – briefly.
- Schuylkill ’juice’ was coughed up and expelled during this transition – then all was right with my stomach.
- The time spent practicing my transition paid off and very soon I was running towards the Bike Out.
- Belle did not break down or suffer a flat during the bike course. My worst fears with regards to this part of the race were not realized. THANK YOU, BELLE.
- The course itself is mostly flat with two hills that everyone seems to grumble about but I found them quite manageable.
- I tried injecting my brand of humor when I passed bikers on the course – ‘To Your Left’ seemed so impersonal.
- I wrote bike course rules and directions back to my transition spot on a strip of paper tape which I stuck to my handlebar. Yes, I am that much of a rule nerd.
- Stepped on my half empty bottle of chocolate almond milk and the contents splattered all over my running bib and towel. Awesome newbie move.
- Practice made for another quick transition and off I went.
- I ran out of transition and did not stop running till I crossed the finish line 3.1 miles later and became a TRIATHLETE.
Overall, I had a great experience and look forward to my next triathlon. Will update the post soon with the Philadelphia course description and more pictures from friends who took the time to cheer me during this event.
Thinking about attempting a triathlon? Any questions regarding the course? Leave them in the comment section.