This week in New York is full of stories worth telling, but I feel obligated to write first about the actual race. The 2008 Nautica New York City Triathlon Presented by Toyota was a lot of fun. Itâ€™s the first race Iâ€™ve done where getting to the start line is my warmup. I rode over to transition from the upper east side, which is a little more than four miles, then I set up transition, and jogged over to the swim start, a little more than a mile from transition. Aside from a shortage of bathrooms, the event seemed to be running very smoothly.
Diving into the Hudson River was no fun. As soon as my head pierced the surface I could see nothing but black. three feet below the surface there is no light showing through. I did a long underwater breakout and when I came up I must have shocked whoever was swimming above me because Iâ€™m sure he didnâ€™t see me coming. With the strong current the entire field stayed together on the swim, and the entire field was stung repeatedly by jelly fish! There must have been hundreds. It felt like being stuck in a sand storm, or water skiing in heavy rain â€“ every part of my exposed skin was stung, especially my arms neck and face. As this was happening I forgot about the peculiar salty taste of the Hudson, and the lack of visibility, and the fact that I was probably being exposed to all kinds of nasty chemicals.
Out of the water there was a long run to transition, which was reminiscent of the Escape From Alcatraz Triathlon last month. I donâ€™t understand why race directors allow this. The triathlon swim is already insignificantly short, so why negate a swimmerâ€™s advantage with a long run? If we want to give runners a chance to get ahead before the bike, letâ€™s just call it a duathlon and skip the nasty swim in a jelly fish infested urban waterway. Of course I understand that logistics of a race this size, and Iâ€™m quite impressed with John Korffâ€™s ability to pull off the event, but it would sure be nice to improve the transition layout.
On the bike I felt good, but had a hard time maintaining my pace. On the second half I didnâ€™t feel particularly tired, but it was hard for me to keep pushing hard. The bike course was really neat. We rode up the west side highway and into the Bronx before turning around and coming back. I couldnâ€™t believe how much traffic was rerouted for this event! Unfortunately my poor pacing was evident when I went from 60 seconds behind the leaders at the bike turn around to four minutes back heading into T2.
Onto the run I charged up onto 72nd street where I was met with a preview of the apocalypse â€“ The entire street was shut down to traffic. It was empty! I was running down a major street in Manhattan with six lanes open for me, and no cars. We were on 72nd for nearly a mile, and I would recommend this race to my friends simply for this part of the race. Actually, if youâ€™re in New York City when the triathlon is going on, head down to 72nd and run it. Go back and forth â€“ experience how cool it feels to be alone with the touring buildings on either side. All I can say is: wow.
The rest of the run was familiar to me â€“ a loop of Central Park Drive where Iâ€™ve been riding my bike all week. The route is rolling, but not really all that hilly. Itâ€™s just not flat. It was extremely humid, so I never really felt able to push 100%, but I did run comfortably and maintained even splits for the full 10k.
I finished in 11th, but was the fastest athlete competing in the Ivy League Championships! Columbia University also won the team title, which happens every year.
The race was a lot of fun, and I’m happy that I was able to improve on last week’s performance. I’ve been feeling really flat lately, so I’m hoping that four weeks at the Olympics Training Center in Colorado Springs will help me get to the next level of fitness.