Where’s Chris been? Why, I’ve been working, swimming, biking, and running.
The latter three were all brought together two weeks ago in the Philadelphia Triathlon (my second triathlon ever — my first was the New York Triathlon which I finished last summer), for which I have been cramming in a lot of training in recent months (to the obvious expense of blogging). On July 28th, it all paid off. It’s like working for a year on a major web site and finally launching it, only better.
I grew up in Philadelphia, but I don’t think I remember it ever being as beautiful as it was during my race. It had been raining all week, but by the time Sunday rolled around the sky was clear and sunny.
The swim was in the Schuylkill River, which for my entire childhood was synonymous with pollution and filth. But to my great delight the river was clear and clean, an absolute joy to swim in. It was, in fact, my first open-water swim in fresh water since I began serious swim training. The 1-mile swim began at the St. Joseph’s Boathouse (my father’s alma mater) and passed under a bridge, finally finishing on the other side of the river.
The bike and run were all though Fairmount Park, including two loops on the bike passing right in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art (known in Philly as “The Art Museum”). It was hard not to have the Rocky Theme in my head every time I passed by those step. I’ll confess that I actually downloaded the song a few weeks before in a fit of Philadelphia nostalgia.
Most of the bike course was through shady woods or country roads or grassy hills. The run was along the bank of the river. You’d hardly know you were in a city park. Again, I don’t remember Fairmount Park being so tranquil and lovely in the 1970s.
The Philly Triathlon is about half the size of the New York version (2000 vs. 5000 people), which makes it sooo much more intimate and manageable. After doing both, I am reluctant to want to ever do New York again when I can always do Philly instead. I am, of course, now trying to find one even smaller to do, maybe even before this season is through.
In the New York Triathlon last year I didn’t do as well as I’d hoped, but this time around I managed to reduce my overall time by almost 20%. My final, official time: Swim (1 mile): 30:02; Bike (25 mile): 1:17; Run (10k): 58:06. Total, with transitions: 2:53:26! I worked my way through the swim, kicked ass on the bike, but I petered out a little on the run, I guess, running what I think is my slowest 10k ever.
In the end I came in 844th of 1306 men. Next time I know I’ll crack the top 50%!