Home > Tri Posts > Race Recap: Cincinnati Triathlon

Race Recap: Cincinnati Triathlon


I had an amazing time at the Cincinnati Triathlon this past weekend!  The decision to incorporate a destination race into my schedule this summer was certainly worth it.  I will definitely be doing so again next summer!  A few early thoughts: ChicagoBostonPEI?

I’ll try to do another post later this week about our vacation surrounding the race… for now, let’s focus on the race itself:

The alarm went off at 5:00am.  My poor wife, having worked late several nights in a row before our trip just can’t catch a break to sleep in, even on vacation.  What a trooper!  At least she had a coffee.


The best decision I made on this whole trip was to pack a kettle, a packet of instant oatmeal, a Tupperware container and a spoon.  It was a perfect pre-race breakfast, and I found it gave me the perfect amount of energy for the race.  So much better than hotel continental breakfast of day old cinnamon buns, or trying to find a coffee shop in a strange city at 5:00am.

We made it to the transition site by 6:00.  While Cincinnati is in the same time zone as Toronto, it’s sufficiently further west that it’s a lot darker at 6:00 here than back home.  I haven’t yet had to set up my transition area in the dark – not that it was too dark to see – it just made it feel really early.

The gun went off at 7:00… except it wasn’t really a gun, more just a guy at the top of the wall along the river’s edge shouting “GO” into a megaphone.  Whatever, it worked.  The swim was really neat – I’m used to swims in lakes where the swim heads out into the deep water, around some markers, and back to shore.  This swim was in the Ohio river, in a single direction, and all along the river’s edge.  Many of the swimmers were a mere few feet from the concrete river wall the whole length of the swim.  Adding to the experience – spectators were right down at the river’s edge with us, and walking along with their swimmers.  It was really neat each time I took a breath to the shore side seeing my wife walking along beside me.


I swam the 400m stretch in 6:47 (1:42/100m pace).  Not as fast as I know I’m capable of, especially for such a short distance, but at the same time distinctly faster than the 2:00/100m pace I swam in my past two open water swim races.  I’m still not happy with where my swimming is at this summer, but it was good to see improvement.

T1 was a real gem for me.  In the first triathlon I ever did (September 2011) my T1 time was an ugly 3:19.  I’ve been working on getting that down, and managed to do T1 this race in 1:54.  Win!!


The bike caught me off guard.  I heard from a friend of mine, who’s previously run the Cincinnati Marathon, that Cincinnati is a rather hilly city.  Shit he wasn’t kidding!  The bike route took all of 5 city blocks to get from transition onto an expressway, riding up the steepest expressway exit ramp I’ve ever seen.  There’s nothing like jumping on the bike, working to get your legs under you, and within the first minute having to drop to your easiest gear to get up a damn hill.  And once at the top, I don’t think there was a flat stretch on the whole expressway.  I managed to ride the 20km distance in 43:30 (27.59kph pace).  Again, not as fast as I know I’m capable of – I was hoping for sub 40:00 – but given that the amount of hills exceeded my expectations, even with warning, I’m not terribly unhappy with it.


T2 was another gem.  I think my transitions saved my race time.  I was able to get through T2 in 1:18.

My run was crap!  I just couldn’t get anything going.  The run itself was a little hilly, though not as bad as the bike was.  I felt good in the run – I had strength, I had energy, I had confidence.  Unfortunately, I also had lead legs.  I could not convince them to work any faster.  I didn’t realize how poor my run was until I turned the last corner and saw the finish line clock.  It was pretty ugly.  5km in 36:19 (7:15 min/km pace).  GROSS!!!


I thought I should be able to do this race in under 1:30:00.  My final time was 1:29:52.  18/19 in my age group.

I’m happy with the overall time.  I met my goal… but I feel like there were lots of lost opportunities to really knock this one out of the park.  My run was really disappointing.  I know I can do better than that.

Tonight I went out for my first post race run – a 10km tempo run I did at a 7:01/km pace.  A bit better, but still pretty slow (and no bike or hills to blame this one on).  I feel like I’ve lost my run a little bit.  My wife reminds me how much I’ve improved in the past 2 years, and I agree – and it is good to focus on that – but at the same time, I want to keep getting better.

With this race behind me it’s time to turn my attention to my ‘A’ race of the year – the Lakeside Olympic Triathlon on September 15th.  In addition to simply finishing my first Olympic distance race (which itself will be a huge accomplishment), I think I’m going to make my run a priority for this race.  I want to run a personal best split before the off season begins.  I want to wrestle this pig back into the mud! (see what I did there, I tied it back to the pig picture at the top!  Now that’s writing!)

Have you ever gone through a period where you’re run has struggled?  What did you do?

  1. July 25, 2013 at 10:24 pm

    Wow, nice job! I know it’s not exactly what you had hoped for, but you beat your goal and you should feel so good about that! And the hills? Good heavens, good for you for tackling the hills! You’re a better person than I am.
    I’m trying to find the flattest 1/2 marathon–and worry about the hills on the next triathlon that I can only train 4 weeks for! :-/ (due to an injury)
    Pat yourself on the back and kick this one’s a** next year!

  2. July 25, 2013 at 11:27 pm

    Great job, you set a reasonable goal and you acheived it. I know from the ones I’ve done this year, that’s not an easy thing to always do!

    The Chicago sprint is a great race as well. I did it as my first Tri last year and am looking forward to doing it for a 2nd time this year to see how I’ve improved. So far its still been the best triathlon event I’ve attended.

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