Tri, Baby, Tri
Hold on to Your Silverware . . .

Who Knew There Were Jellyfish in the Hudson?!

I certainly didn't.  But there are.  Or at least there were yesterday at about 6:35 a.m. when I started the NYC Triathlon.  I had gone to bed the night before at 9:30 after some carbo-loading at Lupa, and woke up at 3:30 a.m.  Had my pre-race breakfast of a pb&j on whole wheat, a banana, and a little iced coffee, then headed out the door at 4:30.  On the ride over, I passed through the Meatpacking District, which was bustling with activity and people still enjoying their nights out.  I arrived at transition yellow, my home base for the race, and the full moon gleamed above as the lights shone down on a sea of bikes.  I placed my gear, and joined my friend (and fellow triathlete) Amy for the walk up to swim start.  Along the way we got body marked (number on the left arm, age on the left calf), and picked up our timing chips, made some last minute pit stops, and wriggled into our wetsuits.  We waited in our designated staging areas until it was time to head down to the swim start barge.  The first racers hit the Hudson at about 5:50 a.m., and while I waited, I watched the other swimmers take off.  I felt pretty calm at that point.  I did see something that looked like a jellyfish in the water below, but I remember thinking -- nah, that's not possible.

I felt pretty good jumping into the water (not cold) and gave myself a little swimming space after the horn sounded.  I hadn't ever worn a wetsuit before, but I was glad that I chose the sleeveless version -- it felt a bit restricting.  Glad, that is, until I felt stinging on my right wrist, then a few minutes later, stinging on my left ankle.  Yep, jellyfish.  I kept swimming without incident until I bumped into a drinking straw (no injuries, but I expected garbage to be in the river), which I passed by to complete the swim.  FYI -- the Hudson tastes nasty.  You can't help getting the water in your mouth.  All along the run from swim finish to transition -- a 400 or so yard run during which you strip off the top half of your wetsuit, I kept spitting to try to get the taste out of my mouth.  The jellyfish stings were fading, but I felt kind of itchy.  I tried not to think about it. I did see my family when I got out, which was great -- they stayed put to wait for me to ride past on the bike start.

Back at transition, I peeled off my wetsuit, rinsed off my feet and donned socks and bike shoes.  I ate a gel, washed it down, then on with the gloves, helmet, and glasses, a little extra bodyglide in key places, then off I went.  Somehow this whole process, including the run from swim finish, took me 10 minutes and 55 seconds.  It's like I went off and had a picnic or something!  I left transition and headed off for the bike leg, passing my family again on the hill out to the course.

The bike was relatively uneventful -- a great 40k ride over rolling hills up to the Bronx and back.  I pushed hard on the downhills and flats and accepted the uphills, giving myself a time of 1:36:47. 

Back to transition, where all I did was take off the helmet, gloves, and sunglasses, and switch to bike shoes and a visor, but my transition was still 4 minutes (I'm hoping the bathroom break I took at this point was part of that rather than my run time).  Despite starting on an uphill, the first part of the run felt great.  I took it at a modest pace, knowing that it was hot and that running is not my strong suit.  Saw the family again on 72nd Street and headed off to Central Park. 

The run wasn't bad, overall.  Sure, there were hills, but nothing like the steep ones on last year's tri.  The water stations were spread out in between the mile markers, so I always had something to look forward to -- a mile marker or some water.  Given the heat, I slowed to a walk and had water at every hydration station, picking up my run again when I tossed my cup in the garbage.  Still, by about mile 4.5, I had about had it.  Luckily, I ran into Marla at about that point, which boosted my spirits, and then ran into April, who was out training for her half-marathon next week (good luck!!).  She ran along with me for about 1/2 mile or so, which helped so much. By the time she left I was in the home stretch, although I got frustrated by the crowds telling me I was almost there.  Sure, they were right, but it didn't feel like it!  For me, the "almost there" moment came at the last turn, when I heard my family call my name again, and then finally spotted the finish line and the race clock up ahead.  I dug in and sprinted the last 50 yards or so across the finish.  I was euphoric.  My run took 1:08:40, which was about what I expected.

They handed me my finisher's medal (which I wore the rest of the day -- hell, I earned it!) and an icy cold wet towel and off I headed to athlete recovery for water.  I spotted Rodez and Rebecca as I wandered over, and John, a high school classmate who I had run into the day before (hadn't seen him in 20 years before then; he does Ironman triathlons all over the world).  My family joined them, and they took a bunch of photos in my post-race high.  After a bit I was about ready to keel over, so I sat with my family for a bit before heading back to transition to collect my bike.

I finally made it home, took the best shower ever, and rested/stretched a bit before my post-race lunch and celebration at Otto.  Thanks to everyone who made it out, sent good wishes and provided support along the way, and joined me to celebrate.  I couldn't have done it without you.  My final time was 3:24:50.23 and pictures are here (no, I didn't post any of the swimcap/wetsuit ones.  blech.).  Congrats to Amy too -- it was great to have some company along the way.

Off to the beach for the week to recover, so likely offline till next week.

comments powered by Disqus