New York City Aquaphor Triathlon
Date: Jul 8,2012
I’ll start off by saying this, I love the New York City Triathlon! Its one of my favorite events because of the crowds and the quick pace of the race. This year was my second time competing in the event and my goal was simple. Set a PR in every event. This goal was totally doable given my time two years ago of 3:13:58 with a very slow and painful run. The day before the race Peter and I went to the expo. I think an expo says a lot about a race. This expo didn’t let me down. Lots of energy, lots of fit people and lots of new products to sample! NYC TRI is one of the last races where athletes must attend a briefing to compete. I found it very useful and informative, especially with the new swim start system.
After the expo it was time to go set up our bikes in transition. The transitions zone were very well organized and seperated into two zones based off your swim start times. So i set up my bike and not much else. I feel more comfortable bringing everything back in the morning, even with all the security. After dropping off our bikes we headed home to grab dinner and start to wind down. I had my usual Peanut Butter and Co. sandwich of turkey, white chocolate peanut butter and fluffernutter. Yes its amazing! Setting the alarm for early in the morning, the stomach jitters start…
My transition zone closed at 5:45 am so we got there around 5:20 and then headed to the start of the race which is shocker, one mile upstream from the transition zones. The 1500 meter swim downstream is great because its so fast and its over before you know it. I didn’t have much time before the start of my swim wave so we dropped of our gear and wet-suited up. Don’t forget the body glide! Chaffing is no fun! for some reason i wasn’t nervous at this point maybe because I knew i had trained really hard and i knew the swim would fly by. Honestly anyone with trouble on the swim should do this event. Even if it means swimming in the Hudson! before i knew it was my turn to jump into the water. Deep breath and jump, the strong current pulls your forward as soon as your in. This year the water was particularly dirty with the heavy rain the night before. You can only imagine what was in the water after the rain cleaned the streets of New York and drained into the river. My swim was great, my big fear was that i would have to do the backstroke to catch my breath. But the time flew and i just kept counting to 4 and taking a breath. Before I knew it I was getting helped out of the water by the lifeguards. A quick look at my watch caused a huge smile. I finished in 19:36 PR, sweet, and check out that dirtstache!
Unfortunately half of the athletes have a half mile run barefoot on the pavement. Some put shoes around the swim exit but I don’t think its worth the time. Adrenaline kicks in and you can barely feel it, or so I kept telling myself. a quick stop in transition to strip off my wet suit and grab my bike gear and t-shirt, then I was on my way. The bike is the event i was most anxious for. Two weeks before the race i lifted my bike seat about 2 inches and it completely changed my life. No really, all of the sudden biking wasn’t the most painful thing on earth. So i really wanted to hit the bike hard to see what I could do. The first 12 miles out are relatively challenging with very few flats. Also since its out and back your mentally preparing yourself to do the opposite going back.
My bike was going pretty well with my average hanging around 15 MPH, which I was pretty happy with. The best part about all the climbing is speeding down the hills. I hit 33.8 MPH zooming down a hill around mile 10. About half way down i started thinking about how to tackle that sucker on the way back up it! The bike takes you up well into the Bronx where you turn around and head back the same route. The hill I zoomed down at mile 10 I now faced at mile 13.5. I was ready, I had tackled Harlem Hill in central park enough to know I could make it, most importantly was that i wasn’t beating myself up mentally. Sometimes I’m my own worst enemy. Once you make it up that hill the way back is much faster. My average pace for miles 15-20 was 18.5, definitely not a number I’m used to seeing! This got me really pumped, and I was only a little nervous about my legs on the run. As you head towards the last couple miles of the bike the crowd support starts to really show up. Heading back into transition you make a couple of tricky turns down some steep slops so I recommend going slow. My Average bike pace 15.5 MPH, PR!
Transitioning from the run to the bike is always fun on wobbily legs. Thankfully transition wasn’t too crowed since the swim waves were spaced out well. I quicktly changed shoes and headed out. Water and Citomax (YUCK!) are available on your way out. Foe those in yellow trasition there is a steep climb to get up onto 72nd street. Man does it hurt! But push through that and your faced with the streets lines with fans. Mile 1 is pretty flat, its nice to use to get the feeling back in your legs. When my garmin beeped with a 8:32 pace I was shocked. I felt so slow but infact I was killing it. At mile 2 you hit the park running clockwise up and over Harlem hill. By this time my mind was numb and i was able to zone out. This is a run i’ve done a thousand times. Sometimes it hurts sometimes it doesn’t. Luckily this time I was cruising. As I made it to mile 3 right before the biggest hill of the run I knew I was going to PR in the run as well, but by how much?
Around mile 5 I saw two of my old trainers who are doing the Iron man in a couple of weeks. I’m glad i saw them, it made me think about pushing your body to the limit. I knew what I needed to do to come in under 3 hours for the race, and I knew I could do it. As your head up to the finish one little hill seems so steep but after that its smooth sailing around to the finish. Although i would say that the finish is sort of false advertising. It looks closer than it is.
My finish time was 2:56:50 a PR by a long shot. Overall I felt much more prepared this year for the race. Its a great event for those who are weak swimmers and who like larger crowds. The competition is tough though, so dont expect to place high even with a good time! To train make sure to practice on hills and possible add in some trail runs to work on steep climbs you will face in and out of transition.
Loved being at the finish to see my man finish. And so proud of him! Peter finished in 2:28:22 PR. We were tired puppies afterwards but still rallied to go celebrate our PR’s with friends. Thank you to all my friends who supported me along this journey.