Sunday, July 14, 2013

Third Time's Almost the Charm

The NYC Triathlon is one of my favorite races.  It was my first tri back in 2009, and despite all the logistics involved from registration on still feels like a great local race.  It brings out most of the team, either to race or to spectate.  I've done it every other year since then and was the reason I discovered triathlon and AG.  Hitting 72 St on the run is one of my favorite moments.  For this year I set an ambitious goal of breaking 3 hours.  Given the training I had done and my numbers leading up to my half Ironman, I figured it could be done.  

Since early June I've gained at least 5 pounds and have felt significant periods of fatigue and/or lack of interest in doing much.  I have swum and run maybe four times after the debacle that was Cuse.  The lack of support I get on the home front really disappointed me.  I almost bagged the race and had to jump through a bunch of hoops to race back from my cousin's wedding in Binghamton to make packet pickup.  In the end I decided to go for it, sitting at home watching TV and eating bonbons doesn't appeal much.  Neither does quitting nor doing what someone else tells me to.  I figured I'd go out and have some fun, and hopefully finish the race and feel like I can do this.

The heat and humidity in transition were the most I've experienced in all three tries.  Too bad the overnight rain did not cool things down.  This time around I have been taking in as much salt pre-race as I can, and even got Hammer Electrolyte tabs at Expo.  I waited as long as possible to get my wetsuit on so I wouldn't dehydrate.  Got on the barge with AT, and off we go.  First my frigging new goggles leaked - my favorite pair snapped at Cuse.  It was disorienting for me while right breathing, so I periodically emptied them out.  Lesson learned - TYR special ops goggles are not for me.  As a result, I didn't sight that well, at first swimming too far to the right, then zigzagging a bit.  Other than that, I felt smooth in the water, dropping several people in previous waves.  Close to the stairs, I felt resistance, almost like a current pushing me back.  Maybe I was hallucinating.  

T1 usually takes me a while.  it's a long way back and I usually sit on a bench to pull my wetsuit off.  Off we go on the bike.  I kept coach's voice in my head - "Easy gear to start" Made it out of the park and onto the west side highway.  Felt reasonably well on the way out.  My lower back tightened up a couple of times, and my wheels felt like they might have gone flat.  I stopped a couple times to stretch, check the tires, and drink.  Felt great towards the end of the bike.  Once I got to the run, that's when the heat really got to me.  Lesson learned: need to eat and drink more on the bike.  Had to walk quite a bit, but saw my folks and JT along the way which lifted me up a lot.  I especially got pumped seeing my teammates at the homestretch.

In the end, it was not my best time, but it was not my worst.  In a way it was redemption for my horrible day a few weeks earlier.  Will I do it again?  Part of me thinks, never again in the Hudson.  However, there's a little voice inside of me that still wants to break three hours.  We shall see what the future holds.  Don't call it a comeback!