Monday, July 21, 2008


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....................

Friday, July 18, 2008

My rides and NYC prep

Cervelo P2C Tri bike, 51cm
FSA compact cranks (50/34 - 172.5 mm cranks) with 12-27 cassette
Vision basebar with s-bend
Flashpoint 60 wheels (700 clincher)
Fizik Arione Tri2 seat

Specialized Tarmac (carbon frame)
SRAM Red groupset w/compact cranks ( 50/34 - 170mm crank arms) 11-26 cassette
Mavic Ksyrium ES wheels (700 clincher)

I'll take some better pictures later on, but for now, you can see what I am spending my time riding on. I got the SRAM installed on the road bike earlier this year and what a sweet ride this bike has now. I prefer to spend more time on it (like my 2 hour ride today). Well, I am just about packed for the NYC Tri (Cervelo will be tearing up the West Side Highway). Now I just have to go over the logistics with the Wingman!!! 

I'll report when I return (as long as I don't swallow any Hudson River water). I told a friend of mine that if I was to swallow some water, I will be carrying a flare gun with me to speed the rescue people to get me. I want my stomach pumped ASAP. No way do I want that stuff making it's way out of my stomach and into the intestines. 

And to Joanie who told me to say hi to the fishes in the Hudson, um, I don't want to see what can survive in that water. If I remember my Godfather history, Luka Brasi sleeps with the fishes. They claim that it is the cleanest body of water in NYC. Wow, they might want to keep that information quiet. I mean, I'm not impressed by the competition the Hudson has. And if anyone has any influence with mother nature, can you hook me up with a strong southern current in the Hudson?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

NYC Triathlon and other thoughts

I sit here, avoiding my studies, worrying about the tides in the Hudson River for Sunday. Usually this race is advertised as a super fast swim due to the currents in the Hudson. I've been getting some not so good feedback that the current may actually be AGAINST the swimmers this year. Oh man, the last thing I want to do is stay in the Hudson River longer than I have to. I can only hope that the current is so strong they change it to a 5k run. That I can deal with more than swimming upstream. For pete's sake, I'm not salmon!!!

Race details:
1.5k swim in the Hudson from 99th-79th st
40k ride up the West Side Highway to the bronx and back
10k run through Central Park

So, I have my first anatomy test on Monday (the day after). I'm mostly up to speed on the information, it is just tying it all together. For the last two days I have been almost elbow deep in male and female genitalia. Ugh. I will say though, some of these cadavers were pretty sick people (cancer, aneurysms, etc). Our little lady was relatively heathly. She died from renal failure and cardiac arrest. You can actually see where they broke her ribs when they tried to revive her. She was 88. When we first unzipped the bag to see our body, it looked like a man from behind (the head was shaved). We named "him" Ned because we were table N. After two days we had to flip Ned over to get into the thoracic region. When Ned was flipped, I blurted out "Oh my god, Ned has breasts!!"  So now, Ned is Nancy. We are fortunate that everything is good with our cadaver. After looking at the inside coloring of other people's dissections, it makes me think twice about what I eat. I'm talking discolored internal organs. It just does not look healthy to me.

So come Monday, I will have to answer 50 multiple choice questions and then head into the lab and identify ~60 structures. Can you guess what I will be doing this weekend besides racing? If I thought I could carry some index cards on the run, I would!!!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Montauk Sprint Tri

Well, this past Sunday was the Montauk Sprint Tri (1/2m Swim/14m Bike/3.1m Run). I have done this race twice before and always enjoyed it, so why not again this year. Well, my training has not been up to par. And to add insult to my injury, I had some bizarro cold or allergy thing kick in on Monday. I got a great run in on Monday morning, and then as I sat down to prepare for school, I suddenly felt really bad. I felt run down and beat and it was only 10a. Oh no, please don't let me be getting sick.

Bingo!! I was sick alright. I could not train all week. I had hoped to get to the pool or some good running in since my leg was better, but that was not to be. Oh well, life sucks. But I was feeling much better on race morning.

Now, usually I have some sort or pre-race nightmare two nights before a race. Usually it has me going off the bike course, getting lost, or missing the race start by 30 minutes or more. Oddly enough, no nightmare this time. That made me nervous. I am superstitious and for me to miss a bad dream scared the crap out of me.

So the morning of the race comes along. I wake up 1 minute before the alarm goes off. I peek out of one eye and check the clock. Close my eyes, then open them and almost scream. I forgot to turn on the alarm. I set the time, but never turned on the alarm. Bad omen #1.

So we get up, get dressed and pack the bike in the car and head out to Montauk. We get there, park and setup my gear in T1. Now this race has two separate transitions so we drive up to T2 to drop my run gear off and take the shuttle bus back down to T1. Of course now I look at my watch and realize it is getting closer to the start time and we are going slow. Bus driver stops TWICE to pick up spectators. I stand up and pleaded with the busdriver (OK, snapped at her) to not stop anymore and get me to the start. Of course I apologized when I got off the bus. Looked at my watch, I have 15 mintues to put on my wetsuit and get to the start. So I get the wetsuit on and start walking down the beach. Oh crap, left my goggles in T1. Bad omen #2. Run back, get goggles, head out to swim start. I give my Wingman my sandals, etc to hold. He asks if I need anymore bodyglide and I said "nah, I'm good" - totally forgetting about my neck. Bad omen #3.

So I make it with 3 minutes to start. When my wave finally goes off I have to swim into crashing waves to get out into the ocean. The swim is parallel to the shore (out and back course). So I head out into the sun, can't see a thing. Thank goodness the lifeguards in the water rocked. They were directing swimmers where to go and how many buoys before the turns. If it wasn't for them, I think I'd be halfway to Europe by now. The swim sucked for me because I could not get a good rhythm. I kept bumping into people that were backstroking or stopping midswim. I swear, I have never seen so many people doing the backstroke in one race. Did I not get a memo that it was the new way to swim? Anyway, the swim was uneventful, yet slow for me. Got out of the water and headed up to T1 to get ready for the bike.

Once out on the bike course, I just wanted to stay comfortable. I had not been on my Cervelo (tri bike) much this season so I was not used to being in the aero position. Most of my riding was on my road bike.

So, this year was a major accomplishment. I managed to not lose my water bottle taking the bike off the rack. Whooo hooo. I was riding really well and then around mile 9 or 10, somehow I fell apart. No clue what happened. I don't believe it was a nutrition issue and the wind was not a factor, but somehow I lost my ability to ride fast. Hmmm. Oh, and there was a big hill coming up. Made it up and over with no issue. Phew. The funny thing was as soon as I got comfortable again and riding with some zip, I was near the dismount line. Unreal. I finally pull it together and people are shouting to slow down and prepare to dismount. Arghhhhh. Well, I make it to T2 and change into my running shoes.

I make my way into Camp Hero to begin the run. I just had so much trouble keeping it together for the run. I know my running has been inconsistent, but I just wanted a steady effort here. at each water stop I get some water, drink some and pour the rest over my head. Cold water feels so good. Now, I am a little squeamish when it comes to getting cups of water from the volunteers. I really don't want to see their fingers in the cups/water. Now, my philosophy is if I don't see it, it didn't happen. Needless to say I was careful with what cups I grabbed. At this point I am hanging on for life (or so it feels like it) and see that I am almost out of the park and heading towards the finish line. Last water stop coming up. I decline it and then out of the corner of my eye I see one of the male volunteers from the water station head into the woods to RELIEVE HIMSELF!!!! Oh man, I did not need to see that. Now all I can see is him coming out later and putting his fingers in the cups of water. Nasty.

Anyway, I see the Mile 3 marker coming up and know I am almost there. All that is left is the hill up to the lighthouse. When I made the turn, I was convinced the hill was higher than last year. Did someone raise it? I really wanted nothing to do with running up the hill, but there were spectators everywhere cheering so "I would have much shame" if I walked it. But as soon as I crossed the finish line, I found the Wingman and we walked a little so I could cool down. Once again, he has proved himself to be a world class Sherpa!! He knew where to be to see me at each transition, had my gear from the beach stowed away in the car, and helped me get my stuff at the end of the race. But more importantly, he woke up early on his day off just to Sherpa for me - at least that's what he tells me ;-) and he drove us home using his super secret routes through the Hamptons.

And to show for my efforts, I have some kick ass wetsuit kickies on my neck. They burned for days.........

Next week, the NYC Triathlon and my swim in the Hudson. Please, let there be a good current so I am not in the water too long.

Sunday, July 6, 2008


Had a nice 3 day weekend to rest (and study).  It feels like it's been a while since I could sit and relax for a weekend. Almost the entire month of June I was traveling each weekend. Now I am home. Yipee!

Well, I got in some good riding in the last week. I have a great road bike that I got last year (Specialized Tarmac) and recently swapped out the groupset on it (shifters, derailleurs, brakes, shorter crank length, etc). I got a sweetheart of a deal from my local bike shop (Carl Hart) on SRAM Red components. What an upgrade! Of course my Wingman made out the best because he got my "hand-me-down" components (Dura-Ace/Ultegra mix) at no charge. Hmmm, where did I go wrong. Anyway, the benefit to me is I now have a great riding partner. In the past it was kind of lonely to ride by myself. Now he comes out with me and we can ride together. Definitely makes it easier to get out the door when someone is there with you.

My bike rides soooo much smoother now. Of course now I am in trouble because I will want to upgrade my tri bike, but that will have to wait until next year. Tuition comes first.

Finished my first week of school. I am only taking Anatomy at this time, and it is quite the class. Much more involved than when I took it two years ago. I am dreading the first test we have in two weeks. At least the teachers are great and give you quizzes that don't count so you can see where you are with your studying.

The first week we dissected the Thoracic region (front and back). I believe tomorrow we dive into the pleural cavity (lungs). Our cadaver is an 88 year old female that died of cardiac arrest and renal failure. From the looks of it, she had a few ribs broken where they attempted CPR. Overall though, she looks like she took care of herself. She does not have much body fat at all. Though she doesn't have much in terms of muscle bulk either. Reminds me, I gotta go lift some weights now...............