On Saturday we met up at the pre-race meeting and then picked up our packets. Once again, they included a good water bottle in the bag. What can I say, I am easy to please ;-)
After the meeting we dropped the Wingman's bike off in transition and headed out for dinner. Then, we went back to the apartment to relax for the rest of the night. Oddly enough it was very quiet out on the street. I guess the upper west side does not get as much traffic so I did not hear horn honking or trucks driving though. I had no trouble falling asleep but the usual trouble staying asleep. The best thing you can do for sleep is to get a good night's sleep two nights before the race. And I did.
When the alarm went off at 4:30a Sunday, Wingman looked out the window and said it was raining. Oh boy. What will run off into the Hudson is all I was thinking. I've always said when it comes to rain and NYC, you gotta love a city that can make it's own gravy when it rains. We packed our stuff and walked over to the race site around 5a. It stopped raining by the time we got there. Len met us around 5:30a at our transition spot. Team BAMF was present and accounted for. At this point I had to make the 1 mile trek uptown to the swim start. I bid farewell to my teammates and started my journey. As I got closer to the swim start I started thinking about the actual swim. It had been raining on and off all week so the bacteria count must have been somewhat high, but not high enough to cancel the swim. Then I started feeling a little bit of pressure about my role on the team. If for some reason I bail on the swim at any time, as a team we are done and all the training Wingman and Len did was for nothing. Holy cow, the weight of the world is on my shoulders!!! I calmed myself down and put on my wetsuit. Backwards. Crap. I got it off and now I am a little sweaty so getting it back on was a little harder. Finally got it on right. Oh, gotta go to the bathroom (and not what you can do in a wetsuit). Damn. I'll wait until the swim is over and then go.
When my wave finally makes it to the floating dock, I am one of the first ones down the ramp. The best spot is the one furthest from the sea wall. The current is faster the further out you go. I grabbed the rope and slid into what was going to be my personal hell for the next 21 minutes. I swear I was hanging on for dear life as I was being pulled downstream with the current. When the horn went off, I let go and started to float and correct my position so I was not feet first! Got myself righted quickly and noticed that I could not see my hands in the water. It was so murky and gross. I did this race last year and really the Hudson River was not this bad. Had it been, I would have skipped this race. Now I am really focused on making sure no water enters my mouth, nose, eyes, etc. I can't get the nasty thoughts out of my head. At this point I picked up my swim stroke a little bit to try to get out of the water a little faster. I sighted pretty well and did not go off track. But at some point I could almost taste the water. And let me say it was not good. I focused on what Dory would say:
I will never know if it was doodie or not. I'd like to think it was not. But of course this inspired me to swim much, much faster. As I got closer to the swim finish, I remembered my exit strategy from last year. Don't step down until you know for sure you are on the ramp. Let the lifeguards pull you up. But before I got there, my hand touched the bottom of the water. And it felt like mashed potatoes. At this point it was all could do not to cry. The water was even murkier from the swimmers kicking up more sediment from the bottom. I reached out for the lifeguards and they pulled me up the ramp. Phew. I am out. I ran up the ramp and crossed the timing mat. Now I had to run 1/4 mile barefoot down the waterfront to transition. I only slowed down when I came upon the showers. At this point I wish I had some brillo with me so I could scrub my skin. Instead, I just rinsed my face off well and kept running. By the time I got to transition the balls of my feet felt so raw. Even today, they are still a little tender. I passed off the chip and was done for the day.
Wingman biked like hell up and down the West Side Highway and Len tore up Central Park. My cousin Jen and her fiance Chris came down to meet up with us to watch Len run. We made our way over to the park and caught up with Len afterwards. From there we went out to a celebratory breakfast. The waiter brought over a bunch of pickles and said "these are sour and these are not sour". Wow, thanks for the detailed description buddy. I grabbed what I thought was a non sour pickle. Jen asked me if it tasted "not sour" and all I could say was "It tastes like the Hudson.........." My taste buds were a little off the rest of the day.
Overall, it was a good outing for Team BAMF. I hope we will reunite for future races (other than NYC perhaps). Next up for me is the East Hampton Volunteer Ocean Rescue Open Water Swim Challenge in Amagansett. My friend Sinead did the Montauk race earlier this month and enjoyed it. And it won't hurt me to get some more swimming in.