Wednesday, July 23, 2008

New York City Triathlon

I don't even know where to begin. With the heat, or the jellyfish, or the lack of current in the Hudson. Okay, let's start at the beginning. The night before the race my team got hotel rooms at the Beacon Hotel on Broadway a couple of blocks from the transition zone. First off, I'm still trying to figure out who's brilliant idea it was to put hotel rooms along Broadway. Great location maybe, but not exactly quiet nor dark at any hour of the night. I know this because I laid awake staring at the ceiling (yes, I could see the ceiling with the lights off it was so bright in the room) and listening to the shouts and catcalls of club-goers and partiers. It may have quieted down around 2:00 am so by 4:00 am I'd at least snuck in a couple of hours of sleep.

We started our walk over to the transition zone at 4:30 am in a heat that was not much cooler than it'd been before the sun went down. I didn't really feel ready for this race like I'd been for Worlds, but I also was less anxious than I'd been during previous years. I was just going to have to go out there and run my race. I was looking forward to the fast course, but to my surprise I had to work harder on the swim that I anticipated.

While we sat on the floating dock on the Hudson River waiting to be told to hop into the water for the official race start, a jellyfish popped out from under the dock, got stuck on the start rope, and floated off ahead of us. Wait, what? Yes, I know. I looked at Kati and she confirmed that I wasn't seeing things. It was indeed a jellyfish and it turned out that there was definitely more than one in the water. Not long after that the race horn went off and after a few seconds of confusion about whether or not the race had actually started (normally we do an in water start, but we were still sitting on the dock when the horn sounded) I started the swim.

This was not one of my better swims. The usual Hudson current was practically non-existent and the water was surprisingly choppy for so early in the morning. My goggles filled up with water twice forcing me to stop and rearrange them. My swim cap even started to slide up over my ears, pulling my goggles off with it. I had to stop for a third time. All in all, I should be thrilled that I was fifth overall and the second female out of the water.

The race was supposed to get easier after that, but the heat and humidity failed to cooperate causing performance levels to suffer. All I can say is that I left everything I had on the course. I was tanked as I crossed the finish line and couldn't down enough water and Gatorade fast enough to replenish the stores I'd sweated out. Not my best race, but I am content with the title 2008 National Champion for my category of disability. Oh, and I got a large pewter plate. And the largest Tiffany and Co. box I'm sure I'll ever get in my entire life (see pic above).

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