The New York City Triathlon
July 20, 2008
The anxiety and emotions were pretty high as this year's NYC Tri got closer. In preparation for my temporary relocation for work, I found myself running around the city like mad!!! Just trying to take it all in, and to spend time with friends as much as I could.
The summer heat was in full force, high humidity and temps in the 80s and 90s. Plus, I also decided to run a 4 mile race on Saturday (a day before the triathlon)—I'm not crazy—it was just that this race would probably be the last one I'd do in NYC with my team for a while. Thankfully that race went well despite the heat—my friend Gregg and I ran it together, and finished in 26:41, about a 6:40/mile pace!
The next day, Sunday, seem to come so quickly! I was up at 3:30AM to get all of my stuff together for the NYC Tri! I had to pack cycling shoes, my helmet, my camel back for the bike portion of the race, gells (I like Clif shots) for the run portion, Energy Green bars, Gatorade and water, my wristband (needed to enter transition zone) and swim cap, my tether, a throw-away towel and clothing, money, ID, and I'm probably already forgetting something. It was such a hot day already at 4:30AM when I left my apartment to head over to the race transition area! Then for some odd reason, there were no cabs, which is rare for New York City. Anxiety and nervousness set in a bit more!
Thankfully I met three other triathletes who were also trying to catch a cab to the start! On the spur of the moment, one of them saw a limo and said, "Shall we just take that?" So for $20 for the 4 of us, we piled into this white stretch limo for all of 8 minutes! Talk about riding in style, and only in New York City can you do something like that!
I met Julia and George right at the entrance to the transition area. We all rushed to find our spots, and to set up our gear. Then, in what seemed like a whirlwind, we were out of transition and heading up the West Side highway to swim start! Along the way we were momentarily thrown into panic as my race chip could not be found. We thought it had mistakenly been given to another athlete! Turns out that unlike last year, this year all of the PC (physically challenged) athletes had a designated chip "picking-up" spot! Relief!
After a stop at the portapotties, some sips of water, and adjusting our wetsuits, we were stepping on the starting swim deck! Then our category was announced, the horn went off, and the race was in progress!
The swim was interesting as the current wasn't as strong as last year, and we had company in the water this year. Unfortunately, the company wasn't welcome company as it was jelly fish. I had no idea the Hudson River had jelly fish, but this year it apparently does. Julia and I got stung all over our arms and legs by jellyfish that were as big as pillows, I'm not kidding! But after 34 long minutes, we were out of the water, and we were golden!
We hit transition, sprung out of our wetsuits (we get our arms out as we're running after exiting the water), put on our cycling gear, deracked our tandem, and were on our way headed up the Henry Hudson Parkway! Our chain popped off our bike once, but we put it back on, and rode and rode! It was warmer now, but the cycling and all the other cyclists can create a bit of a cooling breeze! That's a fun leg of the race-- if you ever want some male attention, that's where you can get it! Then we hit the run with a ton of excitement, but were greeted by lots of sun and no shade! ;( Thankfully the crowd support was awesome along the corse, and our friend Gregg joined us on the run to help us out with water and clearing the way...Up and down the rolling hills of Central Park we ran, keeping a steady pace! Once we climbed the toughest hill in the park (Harlem hill), I knew we could finish strong! My friend Jimmy met us around mile 5 with some Gatorade and Fiji water, which was great! Only problem was that he got us a big bottle of Fiji water, which was too hard to hold onto! We dropped it, picked it up, had a few sips, through some over my head, and then tossed it! The water over my head felt good though, and cooled me down for a couple of seconds!
Suddenly we were turning onto the 72nd street transverse, and nearing the finish line. I remembered from last year that the corse zigzags quite a bit at that point, and Julia seemed to remember the same. Instinctively, she and I went from holding onto the tether to linking our arms and holding hands. This would allow me to stay close to her, and to feel the turns she made a lot sooner than if we were using the tether! We could now hear the announcer, the crowd was cheering loudly, our stride lengthened, and we sprinted across the finish line! "Another exciting race for Tom and Jerry!", as we finished Second in the Visually Impaired Female category in a time of 3 hours and 8 minutes!
A great experience, but really hot! I ended the day by celebrating with one of Ray's famous pina coladas and a Bay Breeze which happily sent me into a 5 hour nap till 10PM, woke up to munch a bit, and was back in bed and slept till 7AM Monday morning!