Nation's Tri blog

Adrianne TriRock Philly small

Prior to the race, I was having mixed emotions about the Philly triathlon: excited to be racing (and running more than three miles) and excited for my team (YTri) and the newbies who spent 19 weeks training for it! I was also a little anxious because on one hand, this was my big race after a long break due to an injury so I wanted to do well (achieve my long time desired goal of a sub 2:40 finish) but I also knew deep down my running wasn’t up to par so achieving that goal would be a challenge and probably unrealistic. To compromise and quiet the anxiety, I kept reminding myself to just enjoy Philly and plan to race Nations in the Fall as my “A” race when I’m in better conditioning (hopefully)!

Prior to the race, teammates who completed Philly before remarked on the strong current in the river so swim times should be pretty fast. I was looking forward to this as I wanted to achieve a goal of swimming an Olympic distance race faster than what I completed my first triathlon in 2010 which was only 750 meters. That swim took me 27 minutes…needless to say I was a weak swimmer! Back to Philly. The swim start went smoothly so I am a big fan of the time trial start!!! However, shortly after jumping in, I realized my goggles were leaking so every time I turned to breath or sight, water sloshed around irritating my eyes. It was quite disorienting so every 100 meters I stopped to tread water and clear my goggles. Annoyed with that approach, halfway down, I took the time to actually readjust and tighten the goggles which helped a little. or so, I stopped every 100m to clear the water from the goggles. At this point, I figured I had to book it to get sub 27 so I gunned it….maybe a little too much because I nearly missed the turn buoy to the finish line, had a kayker yell to me to turn right, turn right! I ended up meeting my swim goal but without the goggle situation, I would have swam faster. Oh well, I put the goggle situation behind me and turned my attention to transition and the bike.

I gave a presentation to my team on transitions and made sure to drive home the point that there are no half times in triathlon-every second counts because a source of pride for me in triathlon is being able to get in and out of transition quickly. I like to get through T1 in ~3 minutes so imagine my surprise to find out after that my time was 2:17, that’s a personal best!! Of course, in the grand scheme of triathlon (and of an age grouper/middle of the pack participant) knocking 40 seconds off transition isn’t that big of a deal but hey a PR is a PR!

“Um…yeah the bike course will be a little slower than other bike courses” said a teammate prior to the race. That was good to know so I could manage my expectations if I found myself not meeting my time goal (spoiler alert, I didn’t) but what I really had no idea about was how hilly the course was!! That doesn’t mean I didn’t like it though, I actually had a lot of fun riding the course. The twists, turns and hills kept me engaged. It was also great motivation to see so many teammates out there. Due to the swim time trial start, I found the bike course easy to navigate and not too crowded which was excellent while riding up hills and taking sharp turns. Bike was technical but enjoyable–I would prefer this type of route over a flat out and back any day. So even though I didn’t finish between 1:15-1:17 but instead at 1:22 I realized that was okay due to the technically challenging course. I also had to be honest with myself and admit skipping out of spin classes and biking just once a week probably contributed to the slower time (and tired legs), as well. Next year I will be back and better prepared!!

T2 went as expected, time within goal, under 2 minutes. Nothing too exciting except that I appreciated a fellow competitor, who was also running his bike in, said “Good job Adrianne.” after my teammate who was volunteering said “great job Adrianne!” Made me smile.

Now I was just left with running a 10k. Prior to an injury, I loved running and saw it as an opportunity to make up time and catch those speedy cyclists. But alas my legs never received that memo for this race! To be fair, I had resumed running just six weeks prior so I had to be happy with the fact that I was running and not worry about time (easier said than done!!). Run was a struggle–never felt like I could get into my groove which meant I didn’t enjoy it like I normally would so I shifted gears and treated the run as mental discipline. This kept my mind focused and prevented me from getting overly frustrated. With an out and back course, I was able to see many of my fellow teammates which was encouraging. In particular, one passed me around mile two but then I caught up with him later so we ran the last two miles together. He mentioned his only goal was to stop at every water stop which I embraced as I had readjusted my expectations. I welcomed the idea, and running with a teammate kept my spirits up!

After readjusting expectations, I just wanted to finish the race under 3 hrs which I did so looking back I have no complaints. I really enjoyed the race overall and had a great time over the course of the weekend, especially cheering teammates on in the Sprint and having the team dinner the night before the race. Some large races have less appeal to me because the course can get too crowded but to TriRock’s credit, the organizers did an excellent job in managing crowds and held a great event(s). I definitely look forward to coming back next year for some revenge!!

Adrianne Brakefield

Adrianne’s interest in triathlons started in 2010 when she was looking for something to mix up her regular gym routine of weight lifting and running. Not knowing how to swim, she figured triathlon would be a good match: learn to swim and a varied exercise routine! She joined YMCA’s National Capital Triathlon Team (YTri) that year and raced in the inaugural DC Triathlon. Afterwards, she was hooked (and determined to improve her swim). Over the past four years, she’s raced in numerous triathlons of all distances from sprint to Ironman. Currently Adrianne is an active member of YTri and helps the coaches and director with the new triathlete program.