Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Pittsburgh 2014 Race Report

The first time I did the Pittsburgh Triathlon was way back in 2008.  At the time, it was like playing in the Super Bowl.  It was my first Olympic distance tri, and my first experience swimming in open water during a race.  I remember driving across the Veterans Bridge on my way to work everyday and looking down at the Allegheny River where we would be swimming thinking about staying relaxed in the water.  I also recall talking trash to the river as if it could hear me. :) I did a lot of mental preparation.  Ever since, I've always enjoyed racing the Pittsburgh Triathlon.

This year was the first time I've raced Pittsburgh since 2011, and this year's race had very different goals than the one back in 2008.  As you know, I've been training to qualify for Kona this year.  My 2nd and final attempt will come later this month at Ironman Louisville.  So, the Pittsburgh Triathlon was a training race for me.  A few weeks ago, Coach Chad and I decided that racing Pittsburgh was a good idea.  Having missed Columbia earlier this spring due to possible pneumonia meant that I've only raced once at Eagleman in June.  Getting another race under my belt this year was definitely the right move.  Most summers I do 4-5 races, but this year with a focus on training for Louisville there's been a little less racing.

The best part about this year's Pittsburgh Tri was that our friends and neighbors, Randy and Marissa Vulakovich, did their first ever triathlons on Saturday at the Sprint Distance.  It has been so much fun having them get into the sport!  The questions they ask me remind me of the questions I asked when I first started. :)  Randy got his first taste of open water swimming before having very solid bike and run splits, while Marissa turned out to be a ringer as she took 4th in her age group.

Randy & Marissa pre-race

The ringer walking on air.  Some say her feet didn't touch the ground the entire race.

In fact, it seems that quite a few residents of Heritage Drive are catching the triathlon bug!  Talking triathlon has become very common as we gather with our kids in the evenings.  It's very exciting!  All our neighbors have also been very encouraging of my preparation for Louisville and the goal to qualify for Kona.  Thank you!!!

As for my race, it was a good day.  All my goals of getting in a solid training race were met.  I was able to have a "good" swim despite having some very tired shoulders from the get-go.  My bike split was just under an hour and my run was 40:02.  Solid.  I ended up 3rd in my age group and 10th overall.  Not bad for a training day!  Next up, IM Louisville where all the cards will be on the table.  I can't wait!

Headed to T1

Luke & Tyler Vulakovich hanging out

Thumbs Up!

Down the home-stretch



  1. Great job, Ben! Didn't even realize you were racing - sorry! HA! Can't believe LOU is so close now. Woohoooo!!

  2. Way to go, Ben! I enjoyed your article and the photos! Good luck at