Well, where do I begin.
I went into the city on Saturday to do all the prerace garbage (meeting, bike drop off, expo, etc). What a nightmare. The hotel was on 6th Ave between 52nd and 53rd. This is where the expo and prerace meeting was. Of course when I got there my room was not ready so I had to check my bags and then check my bike. I could not bring the bike to transition until I went to the meeting. So, I head to the meeting with took 20 minutes longer than it had to. The guy went on and on talking about how fast the swim would be and how much of a PR you could set. In my world, the more you talk about something, the more it will not happen. It's called a jinx. So anyway, I get my race numbers and get my room key. Now I head up to Riverside Park (Riverside Dr and 72nd St) to drop the bike off. Wow, is it hot out. I am sweating just walking. Got back to the hotel and Wingman and I head out to eat. We found this little Italian restaurant a block from the hotel.
Oddly enough, I went to bed around 8p, which is really early for me. The alarm was set for 3:35a. I slept one hour at a time. Typical. Sleep, look at the clock, sleep, look at the clock, etc. Finally, 3:35a rolls around and the usual thoughts go through my head - do I really have to race today, why did I sign up, when was this a good idea, I'm never doing this again - you catch my drift.
Sooooo, we head up to the transition area so I can setup my stuff and walk up to the swim start. It's still dark out so I can't see the Hudson yet. It looks clean in the dark. I get my wetsuit and walk up to the swim start at 99th St (yes, more walking). I drop my sneakers and hat off in the clothing bag to wait for me at the finish. Why burden the Wingman with it.
I go into the coral with the rest of the sheep wondering who had the brilliant idea of handing out black swim caps. We're swimming in murky waters in black wetsuits and then add the black caps and there is no hope of finding anyone. Sheesh.
Once the wave before me goes off, we are moved down onto the pontoon to get ready for the start. I decide not to get into the water and hang onto the rope. I sat on the edge and waited to slide into the water. I hear the countdown, do a quick scan for garbage along the way, and then I am off. My focus was to just keep my mouth shut. I did not want to swallow any Hudson water. So I start swimming and am having difficulty getting a rhythm. About 100 meters in I flip onto my back, take a few deep breaths and then roll over and start swimming. That does the trick. Now I am ready to roll. I just keep swimming and I notice that the water does not seem as murky as I thought it would. I could see my hands the whole time. Interesting, but I still will not swallow water. I was cruising along when I noticed I was slowing moving toward the seawall. The lifeguard on the kayak was telling me to go more right as the current was stronger over there. Simple adjustment. I guess I was now getting a little overconfident in how fast I was swimming, a little cocky maybe, when I was quickly brought back to reality. Ouch, why is my face burning. Shit, my hand too. No, not the ankle. JELLYFISH!!! Damn those jellyfish. What the heck are they doing in the Hudson? Now I must swim faster and get the heck out of the water. I see the ramp and remember some advice a guy on the registration line told me - don't put your feet down until you know you are on the ramp. Keep your feet off he bottom of the river. Let the lifeguards pull you up. And that is what I did. Who knows what is down there.
So now I am out of the water and on my 400 yard run to T1. I take advantage of the showers to rinse off my face. I make it to T1 and prep for the bike.
The bike course was nice, but looking back, I wish I brought my rode bike. I can climb much better on that bike than the tri bike. So, anyway, I get up the first short steep hill to get out of the park and up towards the highway. First half of the bike course is usually harder since it is "more uphill" for lack of a better term. I hit a nice stretch on the West Side Highway that is paved smooth and I feel like I am flying. Then I notice the wind is at my back, which is not what I want. This means the ride back will be into the wind. Oh well, at least it is slightly down hill on the return (hahahaha). So I passed a few people on the way up and got passed as well. I make it up to the Henry Hudson bridge toll plaza and realize, hey, I forgot my EZ pass. So I joke with the police as I pass through if it's OK that I don't pay, they said they'd let me by today, but next time I should have my pass ;-) Nice to see they have a sense of humor as well, though I am sure they heard the same joke 100 times already that day. At this point I'm thinking the turn around must be near. Nope. Keep pedaling. Finally when I get to Mosholu St, I turn around. Now I am ready for the "easier" return trip. Not quite. I happen to see my shadow on the way back and notice, hmm, something is missing. Why can I see the outline of my bottle cage? Oh, that must be because the bottle got launched from the cage somewhere along the way. I use bottle cages mounted behind my seat so can't see what happens back there. So I have to make do with the one bottle I have instead of two. The return trip sucked and I wanted to get off the bike so badly. My legs were getting tired and I still had 6.2 miles to run. Yikes. So I conserve myself and finally make it back, very thirsty I might add.
I hit the transition area and swap out bike shoes for running shoes. In my head, I am trying to think positive thoughts as the heat is climbing. Did I forget to mention it was 80 degrees at 6am that morning? All I am thinking now is "All I have to do is run 6.2 miles. I can do that. Piece of cake. Mmmmm, cake. I like cake. I could use a piece right now. Focus Susan, focus."
And with that I am out on the run. I have to run across 72nd St to Central Park. It's almost 1 mile to the park and the street is lined with spectators. What a way to get me going. I had to run or feel like a fool walking in front of al these people cheering me on. So I run figuring once I hit the park I can walk if I need to. At the entrance to the park is the first water station. I grab some of the sport drink they are serving (yuck) and 2 cups of water. I am sweating profusely and behind on hydration. My strategy for survival is walk uphill and run the flats and downhill. Oh, I love those downhills today. I felt like I was cruising along. Central Park is a far cry from flat. The downhill seemed to last forever and then it was over. Here is the first hill. I'm walking. Still walking. The entire run is like this. At each water station I take 2-3 cups of water and one sport drink. I was upset with myself that I did not bring any money with me. There were ice cream vendors all over the place. I could have had an ice cream to cool me off. Now that would have made for an awesome finish line photo. Me crossing the line with ice cream in my hand.
I had poured so much water over my head that my feet were squishing around in my shoes. Felt weird when I ran. When I passed the 5 mile sign, I knew I was in the home stretch. All I had to do was one more mile. So I kept my feet moving. At this point there are so many turns to go through I was getting disoriented as to where the actual finish line was. Right turn, left turn, over the bridge, left turn and final right turn towards the finish line. My god, can they make this any more difficult. I can barely think at this point I am so thirsty and hungry.
Well, I did finish and it was one heck of a hot morning and it was only 10a. I had a good time and was able to find the Wingman with no problems after the race. I must have been talking a mile a minute when we caught up. First thing I did though was change my shoes. What a huge relief. We start walking out of the park and I am telling him how I want to do it again next year. But as a relay. I would swim, he could bike, and we could recruit my cousin to do the run. He seems up for it. Now I just have to convince my cousin to run....................