Going back to Philly this year was a little more special this year than it has ever been for me. After moving all the way across the country to Boulder, this was the first time I would be coming home. I got to spend a couple days at home eating some home-cooked meals before the race. About a week before the race, I was feeling better than ever, but in the few days before the race I seemed to be coming down with a nasty cold and I was having some injury issues in my foot, but I think being at home was enough of a boost to get past all of that.
We got a lot of rain coming in the few days before the race, so the swim was cancelled for the entire weekend. In the past, my swim has been a bit of a weakness for me, but I have been feeling pretty confident in it lately, so I felt that it didn’t help or hurt me too much either way. I was also very confident in my bike and run, so I knew I would race well either way. With the removal of the swim, the race organizers decided to do a time trial start on the bike. We were going to be sent off in 20-25 second increments. This made the race interesting since you could never really tell for sure what position you were really in unless you knew exact time gaps off the line which would be impossible. It was a little different, but it made a true, honest non-draft race.
My plan going in was to go full gas on the bike and see what I could limit the time gap to back from Cam. From the time I crossed the mat to start I really went for it. The Philly bike course is a very challenging one, with some steep climbs and then technical descents. The rain made a few of those spots a little hairy and it was very important to stay under control. Staying on the bike is always faster than taking a tumble. I felt like I rode the hardest I ever had for a 40k. The time wouldn’t reflect it because of the weather, but I know it was a big improvement over my ride from last year. I came in and heard I had lost a little over 2 minutes on the bike. This was about the time gap I had figured, so I knew if I had a great run I could make up the ground.
Heading out on the run, my legs felt a little heavy. I was still moving very fast, but I knew I would probably need to hold about 3:06-3:08/k to make up the ground. I tried as hard as I could, but I soon started to feel some cramping coming on. I knew if I tried to pick up the pace that I would be walking it in. I still ran about 31:40, but not quite what I needed. The very hard bike took a little too much out of me, but had I biked easier then I would have just been further behind, so it is a little bit of give and take. I think I executed my race plan well and couldn’t have asked for too much more. Coming home 2nd was great, but losing by 26 seconds is never easy. It makes you really look at every point in the race and find where you may have been able to make up that time. There were certainly some things I could have done better, but at the end of the day, I need to be happy with my performance. A 2nd place finish at my home race is a pretty great thing. It is more continued success that makes me hungry for more and proud of the work that I have been putting in. It has been a great season thus far, and I hope to continue to improve and get even faster as the year goes on.
Coming home was a really great break from everything for me. I have to thank my Mom and Dad for always supporting me out there. I couldn’t do it without them, so to get to race in front of them is more and more special every chance I get. Those are the moments that you remember for a long time.